This story is about a woman named Sana.
A woman who was unfortunately born in a culture where men dominate all walks of life, even today. Be it relationships, careers, out on the streets or anywhere else in the world, that is the fate of Pakistani women.
Said to be a male-dominated society, I fail to realize how it actually is. Except for the fact that men are physically stronger than women (most) and they can roam around at any time of the night they want, without feeling the fear of rape or kidnapping, I don’t quite understand how they are dominating society in a positive manner.
Women raise their kids, run daily house chores, step out for work, sweep floors, cook food for entire households, handle their in-laws and are expected to always be chirpy and positive, yet no one realizes that they too have needs and feelings. So who really is the stronger gender?
Standing up for your rights is considered to be a rebellion? Well then, I consider myself a rebel in the face of an unfair society.
Faced with the most insane trials throughout my life, I now realize at the age of 30 that I have been through so much more than the average middle-class woman my age in Pakistan, because most of them don’t have the liberty to even act upon their wishes after a certain age.
Most of my cousins and friends are already married, with kids, and take care of entire ‘khandaans’ and are happily doing so, fitting into the role of a perfect housewife because, well, that’s her duty and job right now.
I failed to understand the concept, and wanted much more from life.
Although I still work, come home and cook, clean, and even do all the necessary chores to keep my husband happy, I have a life of my own in which I become Sana once more: the child who always had high hopes and big dreams. The little girl who always wanted to spread a smile on the faces of people around, I continued to write throughout my life because writing was a passion that never ended, even if it didn’t make me any money.
I practiced my music and got a guitar and piano with my own money, but it’s lying inside the house only to be put to use once the daily ‘married woman’ chores are finished.
It is difficult to go out alone in a city where the crime rate is high (Karachi), and I’ve shifted here only a year back. I suffer because I don’t have any friends and family around, it only gets depressing when you can’t share your true feelings about how you’re coping with everything.
The men sitting outside my place, doing their construction work, have caged me in the confines of my house, noticing my every move when I step outside and looking at everything I wear, or carry with me in my arms. Sometimes, it’s a book. Sometimes, it’s grocery. Either way, they always know why I went out.
Stuck in a dilemma of what to do and how to continue, I yearn to have a life in which I am free to wear whatever I want, do whatever I want, and hang out late with my friends (just like men do), but it’s not possible. A woman has to think twice before going to a certain area about the way she is dressed, and has to be dressed ‘place appropriate’. I have heard this from even the most modern and rebellious and courageous women out there, who fear for their lives if they attract any attention from the men in market places where they want to go to buy the very basic of things.
In a country where laws are only implemented for the weak, providing justice to women is not something that would come naturally.
You have to take care of your own self in this society, because no one is responsible at the end of the day if something happens to you.
Sometimes, I even fear my fate if my car isn’t running properly or if I have a flat tire. It’s because we have been conditioned to think this way, and now, it’s become mandatory to take care of ourselves, if we step out of our houses.
How should women work? How should they go out to the gym and back home if there’s so much weight they carry on their shoulders all day long? How do they survive in a society alone? God knows.
For now, all I know is that it is extremely hard to breathe in this place at the age of 30, not knowing what, why, where and when something could happen, should you be without any male company.
I used to be a strong woman, but I don’t feel like one anymore. 30 makes you realize that there are so many things in life left undone, so many things I still yearn for, so many things I want to achieve and so much that I still long to become, yet I haven’t gotten the chance to because there’s an added burden: the burden of taking care of yourself in Pakistan.
Not sure how many women would agree with me here but it is hard to survive in a culture that has been designed to treat you as just a rack of glorious physical attributes and nothing else. I see the starvation in the eyes of men as they ogle a woman they could never have, someone who wears the tightest jeans and hangs out with her girls, just trying to have a good time and nothing more.
Nevertheless, I will continue chasing my passions, and fighting with the society in hopes of achieving what I want, because there is no other way to bring a positive change. People need to learn their place and know that women too, have rights.
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