As you, my lovely readers, know, there’s nothing I prefer to write about more than the challenges and triumphs of feminism around the world. This weekend has been ripe with material.
With some not-so-uplifting news from Pakistan, I was reminded that no matter where you go, there will always be small-minded men trying to control women. An article about proposed legislation from an extremist group in Pakistan has been circulating the internet. The group would like to make it legal for a man to “lightly beat” his wife for defying his commands, dressing in a way he didn’t approve, or refusing to have sex with him. They lay out what qualifies as an acceptable beating for the unholy behavior of showing off your ears or going to bed alone. Unfortunately, they didn’t settle on the only reasonable answer to that quandary, which is to just let a person be a person without feeling the obsessive and childish need to control her every action.
Some discussions about the bill have discounted its significance by noting it was proposed by an extremist group and has not been passed. I’m calling bullshit on that one, as I do when dangerous bills in the United States are proposed and never passed. While we can be thankful that much of the outlandish, harmful legislation is blocked, we can’t ignore the people who continue to propose it—people who look the other way when the percentage of reported honor killings in Pakistan rises, who work to keep the nation’s literacy rates among women offensively low, and who continue to marry Pakistani children. We have to remember these people exist because we need to work hard to bring them into the spotlight, appropriately shame them, and show everyone else just how wrong they are. We can’t forget there are still men who are angered by a pants-wearing woman who says she doesn’t feel like having sex with them. For some reason, I feel like I keep running into those guys. Literally. Because when I’m running and creepy guys yell obscenities at me, I stick my leg out to trip them.
This bill is thought to be a response to another rejected bill created to protect abused Pakistani women. It’s a disgusting act from a group of men who feel threatened, who feel the need to constantly stand on top of someone else—or a whole group of someone elses.
The kernel of hope in all this, though, is there are people fighting for growth and change. There was someone who wrote that bill to protect women in Pakistan. There was someone who boldly argued for it to be passed. And there will be someone who says no to this terrible legislation. No matter how hard these small men try to push us backward, there will always be feminists and humanists working to push us forward. It’s like a giant game of tug-a-war, but with much higher stakes. Same weird uncle cheering for the wrong team though.