We as a society collectively think that women are inferior, so we often equate men who we consider cowards to them
Two days ago, famous artist and founder of rock and roll group JunoonSalman Ahmad tweeted and photographed Bilawal Bhutto where he was dressed as a woman. The Tweet caused a strong reaction from the liberals but at the same time was praised by many PTI supporters who liked and retweeted it thousands of times. In general, Ahmad’s tweet didn’t get several dozen likes and retweets, but this one got more than 2000 interactions.
Despite calls from some very well-known female journalists and anchors, such as Asma Sherazi and Nasim Zehra, and activists such as Nida Kirmani and Marvi Sirmid, Ahmad initially refused to not only delete the tweet but also refused to apologize. He multiplied it by tweeting the same picture again while trying to justify it as ‘satire’. Finally, under pressure, he deleted the two tweets but so far has not apologized and continued to do so mocking his criticism in a later tweet, saying they failed to understand innuendo.
Because the tweet was deleted due to a counterattack, I initially thought I should ignore it, especially because whatever he was doing was rampant in our society. But then I realized that Ahmad has no regrets for tweeting such images and he continues to defend his actions. In addition, unfortunately he is a celebrity who calls himself a “Sufi” and likes to present himself as a “moderate”, “enlightened” Muslim. Because of his celebrity status, his words have become more effective and pervasive.
What Ahmad needs to realize is that ridiculing Bilawal for being feminine is not a satire, and equalize the tweet with Saturday Night Live (SNL) the skit where Melissa McCarthy, a prominent female comedian, plays Sean Spicer is a totally wrong analogy because there are enormous contextual differences. Bilawal was generally constantly ridiculed by many people, and in particular PTI supporters because of their lack of masculinity. In fact, in the Bilawal case, Prime Minister Imran Khan himself called him “sahiba“ (Miss), clearly under the belt jibe about his masculinity. On the other hand, no one mocked Spicer for “lack of manliness” and in fact he often appeared as a macho and aggressive man. McCarthy’s description of himself is actually a satirical view of his “male” behavior and therefore cannot be compared to what Ahmad did.
What Ahmad must understand is that it is very wrong to tweet such images as acts of foul smelling and hatred towards women. In our society, women are treated as second-class citizens and are often considered to lack qualities that are considered “better” such as courage, courage, and intelligence, because these are considered by many to be masculine. In fact, this mindset is so prevalent that even when we want to appreciate a woman’s courage we often say she has “more balls” than many men. Such statements, while appearing to respect certain women, are somehow reinforced from the dominant mindset that equates courage with masculine physical attributes.
Because we as a society collectively think that women are inferior, we often equate men who we don’t like or consider cowards for them. Phrase “your chorian pehn“(Wearing a bracelet) encapsulates this mentality very well. This behavior becomes more violent if a man we don’t like has feminine features like a softer voice. Feminizing a man is seen as a way to insult him and, during the process, strengthen insults to women by using femininity as an insult in this context.This is a disgusting behavior that demeans women and therefore cannot be called “innuendo”.
As already stated, in the Bilawal case, many, especially PTI supporters, have called him sissy and gay for years. The internet is full of memes that mock his manhood and claim that his sexual orientation is “dubious”. These memes are often a terrible mixture of homophobia and hatred for the transgender community while being immersed in misogyny. While I have seen the abominable behavior of supporters other party also, to what extent it’s common in between PTI supporters are truly astounding. Even their female supporters regularly enjoy such behavior without being aware of the fact that by doing so they damage their own gender. But again, I should not be surprised when their leader Imran Khan personified such a mindset.
Frankly, I have never understood hatred for Bilawal. If anything, according to Bilawal’s view, about minorities, women and extremism is a refreshing liberal. and given the fact that very few politicians hold such views, they are also highly valued. Yes, I understand he was a dynastic politician but then frankly a large number of PTI politicians too. Dynasty politics are quite common in most third world countries and are generally one of the templates that can maintain a cohesive party. Even developed countries like America and Canada have witnessed dynastic politicians. Call Bilawal a woman – which, as discussed, smells of hatred towards women – quite frankly inappropriate.