I am a girl, a daughter and a sister. It sucks when my parents discriminate between me and my brother. I am not supposed to have a relationship. I am not supposed to have a boyfriend. I am apparently “ghairat” (honour) of my family. But where does this ghairat go, when it comes to my brother? My parents know that he has a girlfriend. I knew that he had girlfriends in the past as well. Why is he not called a “slut”? What if I had so many boyfriends? The society would have killed me by calling me whore, slut and what not! My brother has many female friends and he texts them all the time. But when I talk to guys, I am seen with the eyes full of anger and suspicion. My brother goes on trips with his friends and I know they take their girlfriends with them too. But when I have to go on a trip, the very first question I am asked is, is the trip co? If yes, then no, you are not going, it’s not safe. When it comes to studying abroad, my brother is always encouraged and I encounter the questions like, “beta tum wahan kesy raho gi? (How would you survive there?)” Actually, I am not jealous of my brother, I feel bad for myself. I have wishes too, I’ve feelings too and I’ve some dreams too.
I am a boy, a son and a brother. I love my sister, she makes my life colorful. But there are some problems! When I do something wrong, I can get slaps/punches/kicks from my family members, when my sister does anything wrong, she only gets rebuked in words. I went to college by bus and she went on a car with my father, without any care of summer, winter, hygiene, noise etc. If she does not start earning after her graduation, no one minds but if I chill after my graduation, everyone loses his mind! My father is working hard to gift my sister dowry on her wedding but I am working hard to become stable to get a rishta (proposal). My family does not really like when my friends come to see me often, but always welcomes her friends at home. My mother always gives her more by saying, “Wo to mehman hai, shadi k baad apny ghar chali jaye gi, tum ne to hamesha sath rehna hai. (She is a like a guest who’d go to her home after getting married but you’d always be with us).” She can say whatever she wants to me but I am not supposed to use any bad word for her or beat her in any way, after all she is a girl! Oh sister, believe me that it’d kill me inside when someone would call you impure, slut or whore. Before coming to you for any explanation, I’ll break their faces for calling you that. I know sometimes I stop you from talking to some guys. It’s not that I don’t want you to have friends, It’s because I care for you and I don’t want you to get hurt. It’s because I know how boys out there wrong girls and how girls do bad with boys. You are innocent and I don’t want anyone to take advantage of your innocence. I don’t like it when parents don’t allow you to go on trips with your male friends or don’t have courage to send you abroad, but they have their own insecurities and only they can explain them!
I am a parent. I represent both, the mother and the father. I am neither too liberal nor too conservative. My dear kids, God has created you differently. You both are physically different from each other. That’s why our expectations are different from both of you. My son, you are physically stronger that’s why we don’t mind slapping you, sending you by buses or pushing you to go out and do some work! My dear daughter, by calling your brother physically stronger, I am not saying that women are physically weak, no they are not, women perform some of the most painful tasks in this world, for example: giving a birth. So, my daughter, nature has made you not physically weak but “physically protected” and I want you to go to your husband “physically protected”. You have something very delicate in you that is called “hymen”. In our society, hymen is the sign of a girl’s purity and a pure girl is always respected in our society more than a girl with notorious past. I know that one thin layer does not define your purity for me and it can burst due to many different reasons but my dear daughter, we need to take care, we live in a society which consists of good and worst kind of people. We should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Although, the world has gone liberal to some extent but for our society, that hymen still matters a lot. That’s why we get worried. We trust you my daughter, but we don’t trust this fucking world who first fucks a woman in the name of love or lust and then judges her on her virginity! Every man prefers a virgin, even if he is not a virgin himself. That’s why sometimes we restrict you to protect you. As far as your brother is concerned, we don’t encourage him to have girlfriends or go out with them and we will never like it if he does anything wrong with a girl. We want him to focus on his work or studies. We accept that we are not afraid of sending him out like we are in your case but we want you to enjoy as well with your husband. We can give him benefit of the doubt sometimes but we don’t afford to take risks in your case, our dear daughter. Dear daughter, we live in a society. We must have some points of parity to be acceptable and respectable in this society and some points of disparity in order to be progressive and different. We can’t live like aliens here. Our society is a big reality and we cannot ignore it, can we? We don’t discriminate between you both rather we care. We don’t want anyone of you to be rejected by our society and live a miserable life afterwards.
I am Hashim Masood- a silent observer. Sometimes, I feel that nature (or evolution) has done injustice to women. It has created a hymen in women to judge her purity but it has not created anything like that in men. But when I try to find out the rationale behind it, I find it a big test by God for parents. He wants parents to guide their sons so that they don’t do anything wrong with someone’s daughter. Rather than judging a daughter for her virginity, our society needs to bring up our sons right. If we guide and threaten our sons like we do it with our daughters, perhaps, very few parents would fear sending their daughters out.
Let’s talk about the biggest fear of parents “THE HYMEN SHAREEF”. I understand that it determines holiness of a girl to some extent but it’s not a good indicator all the time. Hymen can burst in many incidents other than sex too. Dear society what if a girl has done everything except sex with multiple boys but her hymen is still intact, is she still pure (physically or emotionally) just because she has a hymen? Dear society, what if a girl is a virgin but due to some odd reason she does not bleed on her wedding night, should we start questioning her? Or should we give her benefit of the doubt like we give to boys like me? What if a girl is not a virgin because she had some really bad incident in her life or someone misused her innocence or played with her emotions; then as a good society, should we further humiliate someone who has already been broken or should we give her another chance to restart her life? What should we do as a society? What would you like for you own daughter? If still you want to judge women on the basis of a thin layer, then first of all we should invent some medical technique to determine a man’s virginity and then talk about this standard.
Moreover, instead of not allowing your daughter to go on trips, you should get them trained in martial arts so that no one dares to touch her without her consent. Let her go out and see the wonders of the world, like you allow your sons. Let her talk to people, get smart and become strong. Instead of not having the courage to send your daughter abroad for her education, bring her up right, make her strong enough to meet all the challenges of life.
As far as ghairat (honour) is concerned, no one is anyone’s ghairat. You are responsible for your own deeds. If your sister or daughter does anything wrong, it does not define you, it defines her and vice versa. Furthermore, everyone should be encouraged to work and give back to society, once they are able to do so, regardless of their gender. It should not be a compulsion for boys and something optional for girls. And lastly dowry! It is the worst practice in our society. It should not be parents’ responsibility to gift dowry to their daughter. It should be responsibility of the couple to make and furnish their homes. For that purpose, nutritional, social and economic uplift of girls is required!
Author: Hashim Masood
Originally Published here