New Delhi: Feminism and aurat march are, once again, under siege in Pakistan. It’s not Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan this time. Its actress and model Sadaf Kanwal who has said that ‘husbands are our culture’, as is ‘picking up their shoes and ironing clothes’.
This came even as activists launched an online campaign against the cancellation of the Sunday Aurat March. Sadaf, a model-turned-actress, known for her roles in films such as Balu Mahi (2017), Na Maloom Afraad 2 (2017) and Alif (2019), said taking care of her husband is feminism too.
Her comments have caused quite a bit of anger among Pakistanis online.
“A strong woman is the one who knows how to babysit her husband… Ajeeb Logics. Bibi pehle ye to decide krlo Sherry ko pta hona chahye ya nahi pta hona chahye. Person facepalming #SadafKanwal”, wrote a user.
A strong women is the one who knows how to babysit her husband… Ajeeb Logics. Bibi pehle ye to decide krlo Sherry ko pta hona chahye ya nahi pta hona chahye. 🤦 #SadafKanwal pic.twitter.com/tTRUXlgdLE
— SMA 🇵🇰 (@My_tooo_Cents) July 30, 2021
Another user wrote, “all the men agreeing with #SadafKanwal are mamas babies who think marriage is having a nokar/massi”.
Kanwal, who had come to the show with her husband Shehroz Sabzwari, said, “Our husbands are our culture. I have married him, I have to pick up his shoes, I will iron his clothes, which I actually do very little, but I know where Sherry’s clothes are. I know where each of Sherry’s stuff is. And I should know when Sherry has to eat, and what he is eating. I should rightly know all of these because I am his wife,” she said in an interview to ARY News on Friday, adding, “because I am a woman, Sherry doesn’t have to know [this] about me. He should know, but I should know more. I believe this, because I’ve grown up seeing this”.
She further said, “There are many liberals who think like you (the interviewer) but for me, feminism is about taking care of my husband and respecting him –– something I have been taught to do”.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly denounced crimes against women in the country and often been shamed for his sexiest remarks. In his latest controversial statement, Khan had blamed the rise in sexual assault cases on how women dress and urged women to cover up to prevent “temptation”.
Reema Omer, Legal Advisor, South Asia, International Commission of Jurists, was the first to throw light on Sadaf’s misogynistic remarks as she shared a short clip of the actor’s interview, criticising her for saying, “Aaj kal bohat liberals aa gaye haiN…”
Aaj kal bohat liberals aa gaye haiN… pic.twitter.com/0De5pPivxQ
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) July 30, 2021
While one user slammed Kanwal for “using feminism and the patriarchy intermittently to benefit herself financially and personally”, another said the actor’s thinking highlights how systematically embedded misogyny in their culture.
Siri, show me a woman who uses feminism and the patriarchy intermittently to benefit herself financially and personally: https://t.co/2TqBlp3T5j
— Mavra Ghaznavi (@MavraGhaznavi) July 30, 2021
And they say misogyny is not systematically embedded in our culture. https://t.co/d6Vj0bmdcV
— Maha Ahmad (@MahaAhmd_7) July 30, 2021
While pushing to cancel the march, the assistant commissioner of Faisalabad threatened to arrest the organisers and intimidated young female students. Pointing out the same, Pakistani activist and historian, and Member of the Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement (HKM) Ammar Ali Jan wrote, “Its a blatant example of how the state suppresses women’s movements”.
Today's Aurat March in Faisalabad has been cancelled. Assistant Commissioner Faisalabad threatened to arrest organizers and called young female students to intimidate them. Its a blatant example of how the state suppresses women's movements.#ShameonACFaisalabad #JusticeForNoor
— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) August 1, 2021