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Deprived or Depraved? Digging into the Root Cause of Eve Teasing

Submitted by on June 19, 2016 – 4:19 AM

images (1)I recently came across a podcast which stated that while the social stigmas surrounding women in our society are well acknowledged, the story may not be all that simple.


While it may be generally well accepted among the intellectuals and the feminists that women are prejudiced against and ours is, in fact, a misogynist culture, the problem becomes a little deeper once you begin to unfold all of its aspects. For example, it is a known phenomenon that once a woman steps out on the streets, men on motorbikes and rickshaws will stare at her. Hence, the ruling is passed that men are brutes.


But as with any case, there are always two sides to the story. And, as in my case, a certain thinking is endowed upon anyone who is a student of the medical sciences; think about the underlying cause. If a diagnosis is made, for example, that men are misogynists, then we may be able to treat the condition but unless we address the root cause of this problem, the disease may persist.


Consider the life of an average male citizen in our society: he is born, goes to an all-boys school, plays cricket with only boys, goes to evening tuition in segregated classes, goes to weddings where all the women are separated by a foreboding wall, and is not allowed to interact with his female relatives once he reaches the age of 12. All the women he ever sees or meets in real life are either covered by black cloth or his relatives. On most occasions, it is both.


On the flip side (and herein lies the hypocrisy of our society) he grows up watching Sana sharing a Coke with Ahmed on TV and laughing under bright lights. He sees male celebrities putting on hair gel and waving his guitar, magically making beautiful models appear out of thin air. He sees boys and girls in old Lahore sitting in a jeep singing and eating  milk chocolates. And all of the music that he listens to is from Bollywood movies about girls hooking up with guys and vice versa.


Let me take this opportunity to point out how taboo sex education is in Pakistan. I doubt more than 5% of the people reading this were ever properly given the ‘birds and the bees’ talk from their parents or teachers in school, formally or informally. The average male citizen we were discussing earlier probably found out from his driver. For parents, the ‘talk’ is still an awkward situation.


On the other hand, girls in our society get to see men all the time. The abundance of the male gender in streets, malls, shops, family gatherings is almost overwhelming when you think about it. While every other person on the street may not be a handsome hulk, there is still less depravity on this side of the gender spectrum. Think about this next time you’re out on a drive and I bet you could count the number of women you see on your fingertips.


So what is the solution for the deprived young Pakistani male adult? Yes. He stares at whatever girl he finds at the park and he throws his phone number written in a paper ball hoping that she might – just might – spare him a thought. Because, friends, that is probably the only way he might ever meet any girl his age who is not his sister or his cousin.


This article is in no way meant to advocate misogyny, and while there has been considerable improvement in gender equality in the past few decades there is still ample room for improvement. Granted, there is a problem—but what is the root cause? Does setting up sexual barriers in social settings lead to an unhealthy environment or does it help curb obscenities in society as it is so widely believed? Unfortunately, this question may remain unanswered for a very long time.






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