MeToo raged across the internet, shattering any and all delusions about the existence of a comprehensive list of characteristics that one could use to determine a victim.
And through the resounding echoes of voices which had been silenced for longer than they ought,
finally reverberating and destroying the feigned sense of safety that denial provided, we realized that the strongest, boldest, fiercest, most “liberated” women were victims of one common enemy:
Because patriarchy does not care about whether your head is covered by a hijab or your legs left uncovered in a miniskirt,
and patriarchy does not care about the PhD degree on your wall.
Patriarchy does not ask before snatching away your freedom, stomping over your achievements and destroying all your ambitions.
Patriarchy is not a man or a woman, but the disease flowing through each of our veins, turning men into “ladla betas” and women into “becharis”
It spares none, for bechari is no longer just the hijab wearing woman who has to laugh louder, smile wider and speak with more passion just to prove that she is indeed living on her own terms and that the scarf wrapped around her head is not symbolic of chains wrapped around her limbs.
Bechari is no longer the young lady on the train with a child in her lap and one on each arm, who was her unable to pursue her education due to lack of opportunity.
Bechari is no longer just a face with sunken eyes that cry themselves to sleep every night, sad lips which have forgotten how to smile and fragile limbs which do not know how to fight, or a mouth that has had its voice long since silenced.
Bechari is you, me, and she.
And perhaps I inherited the status of being a victim, along with the privilege of being oppressed.
Perhaps I was actually born a “bechari”.
However, for you to assume that I am a victim of oppression by the mere virtue of being a woman is sexist in itself,
for you are overlooking the fact that I am not bound to make decisions based on your definition of what is empowering,
and you are assuming that I am not educated enough to live without adhering to your standards of “liberty”,
and I implore you to not demean me thus.
Do not treat me disdainfully,
do not victimize me,
do not stereotype me,
do not assume your moral superiority,
do not attempt to speak on my behalf without first giving me a voice,
do not oppress me with your ill-founded misrepresentation,
do not silence my own opinions with the din of your propaganda,
do not dictate my choices.
Do not oppress me in your quest for liberation.
Do not allow your sexism to assume despotism.
Do not attempt to steal my freedom and rights, merely to provide yourself with a slogan to showcase your emancipation.
Do not condescend me with your unsolicited support.
Do not allow 409 individuals to speak for a community of over sixty two thousand nine hundred and thirty nine.
I applaud your efforts at trying to be my ally
but what kind of an alliance requires you to degrade the very people you are trying to befriend and supposedly uplift?
I do not need supportive sahiyos to try to attempt to “give me a voice”
for I am neither mute nor mutilated.
i am capable of speaking for myself.