Anytime something is said, or written about the issues of sexism, misogyny, harassment, or any behavior that is vile and unacceptable toward both men and women, there is always someone who has to be the duck that says: oh but you know not all men, [or women- are like that [!] (Although that phrase is less frequent)
And of course they aren’t! (That answer however often seems to holds no meaning at all, if the person who is saying is someone who is speaking against any sort of hidden or very obvious social issues that we face in our daily lives, and thus is ignored. )
For instance in regards to my last blog post about the way certain parents behave in regards to life- before marriage, and after marriage, within a Pakistani, or really any family toward their daughters. There were a people who either said the dreaded phrase the blog is titled as or were keen to point out that, we aren’t suppose to disrespect our parents. We can’t even say uff to them- (quoting the Quran.) So thus I did something completely unacceptable- according to people who made such a comments.
Now- I don’t believe that I suggested anyone should go ahead and insult their parents if they are in some way biased. If any thing i didn’t mention any sort of solution at all. Because than I will be forced to generalize, and that is something I wish to avoid. For although the issue of biased parents can be generalized, the solution can not be. Since each family is different, and each person living through any type of family that dehumanizes them, I believe needs a personalized solution based on who they are, and their situation. If anything the post was just hope to cause awareness of others’ situation, and for those who go through it to know that they aren’t alone.
And at this moment I cannot help but remember Tolstoy’s opening line to Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So taken literally the dreaded phrase is a paradigm of “happy families,” because what the person really means to say when they say “but my family isn’t like that” is that all the families are indeed alike in their happiness, which is completely contradictory due to that fact it forces others to feel as if everyone else’s family is alright, and its just their’s that’s a mess. Which is of course false. Because not all families are happy for due to the same reasons, any more than the unhappy families are unhappy for the same reasons. …[After all parents are someone who, for the most part, we expect to love and understand us more than anyone because they are the people who raise us…(for most of us anyways). Yet we forget they are only human beings. Raised in a culture that, especially if they were born or raised in different country than us children, is frequently, different than the ones we group up in. [No, that isn’t an excuse, but a fact. Some thing that is quiet easy to forget and even more easier to over look.] And I do not mean social constrains just in regards to latest music or fashion trends, but the most basic thing: human interaction. And as much as its possible to understandable them at best of times, it does not mean the things they do that are wrong, become okay because they are our parents. So at most one can talk to them, politely, or at worst, if its clear change wouldn’t be possible for them, and to decide to not follow their foot steps. So the last post could possibly been seen as to encouragement to have a discussion within families or anyone who can possibly of help. But not it is in no a way a gesture for anyone to insult their parents. For often talking to parents it has become obvious to me that they need a reminder of the effect of their actions, especially if they are merely acting on tradition in the name of ‘keeping their traditions safe.’]…
However more to the point, the phrase “but my family isn’t like that,” “Or all men aren’t like that”, or “all women aren’t like that” and so on, these phrases attempts to erase the wrong that has been done to others. Or more importantly attempts to make others experience invalid all together. So, you aren’t that man who is misogynistic toward his sister or wife- or that vile human being who has sexually abused someone, or that raciest person who thinks he/she is superior to those other person, because of skin color or ethnic background. Or even better yet, you have not experienced as any of things just mentioned or anything else that might make you question if there is such a thing as humanity, does that actually mean those things don’t happen to others. Absolutely not.
For as often as its mentioned, in a cliché way, that women have more freedom now that ever before, and they work in so and so field. Or that I am so nice to my sisters, or wife, I support them in everything.
But, it isn’t often pointed out that these ‘rights’ does not mean that women have earned the right for paid maternal leave. Or let alone getting paid as well as men. Or even an actual implementation of “equal status”, which can mean for the sake of argument, that any woman has right to respected, at home, school, work, or any sort of space, and as the right to make her own choices in regards to her own welfare. Just as well as men- and that they should be able to receive support as well, for any abuse they go through at the hands of other men or women.
Or yea sure we are all equal, but doesn’t just that get translated as, “its okay, as along as you just blend in?” – thus you are not our equal because you are not like us-racially, socially, and any other way.
and no, harassment is not okay for anyone, man or woman, wether you are from rural part of country most people don’t know the name of or city- that never sleeps, or don’t look Chinese when you are Chinese, or even if you look ‘black’ ‘white’ or the absurd general category of ‘asian’ [as if that really sums up all the ethnic diversity of billions of people], in any way or form.
So, if you aren’t someone who abuses other people’s rights, instead of being a duck in coop of quails be someone who says: “I am a man/woman who isn’t biased against other human beings because of their gender or race, religion, or any other social construction- and therefore its not an impossible thing to be.” Because it really isn’t.