The Pakistani Twitter space on feminism that lasted for 12 hours
Many went on to narrate the highlights of the debate amid strong victim-blaming and slut-shaming
In Pakistan, Feminism is popularly regarded as unnecessary, a construct of the West which deserves no importance in an ‘Islamic Republic’. While we continue to scratch our heads thinking what is Western about asking for equality of freedom and participation, a recent Twitter space flew this very door wide open.
On late Thursday night, more than 1500 users joined a Twitter space titled Let's Talk About Feminism to pitch in their thoughts on the movement and the recent Minar-e-Pakistan incident. The space hosted by Hanzala Tayyab went on for about a total of twelve hours where several men and women discussed the future and in some cases ‘implications’ of feminism in the country. The discussion was co-hosted for a while by Tuba Aamir, wife of popular TV personality Aamir Liaquat Hussain.
Where the fault lies...
The conversation started off with the recent Minar-e-Pakistan incident. While many rightfully condemned the traumatising occurrence, others shockingly justified it by lamenting how Ayesha Akram was a TikToker, who had invited her fans for a meet and greet.
The criticism was met with serious reservations about victim-blaming and slut-shaming. The Twitterati further divided over the ‘idea’ of feminism in the country and how 'free' Pakistani women really were.
While a Twitter user by the name of Javaid Sheikh spoke about the 'victim card' women have played on several occasions, another user, Nazrana Yousafzai educated him on the ordeals women face frequently under the premise of a misogynistic society and how men really cannot fathom the issues the former face on a daily basis. Soha commented on how men had no right to invalidate a woman's trauma.
Tuba managed to moderate the session articulately while holding her own at the same time. However, things took a turn for worse once Tuba left the space and the discussion was largely led by men.
The Pakistani Twitter hit the gold as many went on to narrate the highlights of the debate amid strong victim-blaming and slut-shaming. Feminists, on the other hand, shared their arguments on the rising cases of violence against women in the country. The hosts of the conversation were called out several times by the social media users for leading a session spearheaded by men with problematic takes.
Many alleged the responses by feminists were either shortened or cancelled when they replicated their answers in a similarly, aggressive tone. After a few heated exchanges, a couple of boycotts, one defamation notice and some more victim-shaming, listeners were a little less hopeful for the discussion to be fruitful.
The hosts tried to look for solutions in the final two hours with one of the suggestions being women move to a new country if they feel Pakistan isn't safe for them anymore.
The solution, much like the space in the end deemed pointless. What the critics failed to understand was how men should come and stand by women as allies to ensure a better and safer space for women, and the need for speedy enforcement of law and order. Another point the anti-feminism speakers failed to comprehend was how society needed to believe victims; the fact that the fault always lies with the perpetrator.
However, there was, as always, a bright side. We saw some of the best Twitter content Pakistanis have shared in months. Here are few best ones:
The very few sane voices:
Where's the lie!
Anyone waking up in the morning:
I mean, do you really blame this?
If you know, you know.
This is not a word-by-word coverage of the space. If there are any important quotes or moments we missed out please feel free to mention them in the comments section