by Zoya Ather (class of 2018)
'Feminism' to some is a taboo maybe even a pariah, but to most it is 'just a cliche', (something said so incessantly that it been suck dry of its meaning), but is it...really?
Agreed, that it is one of the most discussed topics you may ever come across but has it really lost its meaning? No! It may have digressed, erred and U turned, but the essence of craved liberation is an innate birth 'defect' that we women are born with in this 'man's world.' But liberation -- from who, how, why?
To me, to be liberated is not to move around in a tramp's wardrobe so that a lusty leper may feast his gaze on me, it is not the objectifying of my anatomy for your 'better advertisement', and is most definitely not my cry to be free of all social barriers and logistics. Then what is it? For me liberation is to be answerable to not just any man, for me empowerment is the decision to choose who I hold myself accountable to.
To my father, yes, not because he is the first man in my life, but because he is my parent, someone who has been there for me all through this journey. Yes, he gets to question me and I am to answer him. Not because I am a female but because I am his daughter, and this authority he holds over me is not any different than the one my mother has over me.
The second man in my list may get all the hotheads out there to come and get me with hammer and tongs but wait ladies, read through, now this one may be just an idea as of now but he is there, and that shall be -- irrespective of how imaginatively whimsical he may sound now -- the husband (there, i said it). I don't choose to answer him because i am inferior, i don't answer him because he is THE BOSS, he isn't, I am not subservient to him. This foray that he may have is not of a master to his slave but rather is synonymous to a one that a friend may have over the other. This right is born out of a sense of camaraderie and partnership, of vested interests and a shared life. It is not construed with hews of dominance and an imperishable sense of imprisonment.
But most of all liberation to me is to be enslaved, to be bound, to be questioned and to be held accountable to none but Allah SWT, because this isn't the man's world contrary to popular belief, it is HIS! When I see man so free, I usually ponder over his cause to be so; one of the most prominent ones that i come across is his attitude of accountability towards none but himself and if he is Muslim then to Allah SWT, alone.
He doesn't shackle himself with the double standards and hypocrisy of this diabolical society even if he is the perpetrator of it in the first place. With this sense of freedom so deeply etched in his brain comes an inveterate sense of adventure, superiority and dominance. But we women ourselves, bend to his command, as if we were his subordinate, we live our lives trying to live up to this stereotypical notion of the perfect woman that he has set, forgetting all in the attainment of this futile and degrading act.
So all those ladies who read this, just know that a man will not judge and reward your actions, Allah SWT will. Don't fear man, fear Him. You are as much His as your fellow man, neither less nor more. Acknowledge that.
Don't rant and rave about how men did this to you, he did it because he saw that he could. Don't let him, don't let him dictate your life, your ambitions, your likes and dislikes, don't live up to his standards.
Free yourself in thought and action from this inferiority complex, just because a man does something does not mean it is the better of the lot. You are different not less, understand that, comprehend that and most of all live that!