Armeena Khan’s response to Priayanka Chopra’s tweet during heightened tensions between India and Pakistan was very well received. Armeena Khan boldly called out Priyanka Chopra, who happens to be a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF for her pro-war tweet.
Her recent tweet however, highlights a more predominant problem in our culture. And that is of victim blaming and bashing.
When it comes to social injustice and sexual harassment, the majority often tends to side with the perpetrators. And when the victim is a woman, the supporters are even less.
In recent times, our artists and celebrities have come under much criticism for their callous words. Recently, Yasir Hussain came under much scrutiny when he made transphobic remarks under a comment on his picture on Instagram. SAMAA TV’s host Muhammad Shuaeb was called out for his indecent conduct with a guest, Nasir Khan, on his show Naya Din.
And just today, many have called out the Pakistani actress Saboor Aly in which she makes fun of an assistant director for cleaning the windows. Initially, people thought Saboor was ridiculing a window cleaner on her stories, but even with the development that the person cleaning the window was in fact an assistant director, the fact that Saboor Aly thought working as a window cleaner something that needed to be ridiculed is unfortunate.
The problem with this narrative is that it makes it seem as though the women, the very same women who are not allowed by their families to practise, are the ones who are to blame for the shortage of practitioners in the country.
Many women, not just doctors, end up foregoing their careers because the families they marry into do not find it appropriate. So instead of blaming the women who are already at a disadvantage, we should try to ask why is it so easy in our society to dictate how a woman should spend her life?
The same rule applies when these women try to work and pursue their careers. The excuses are plentiful: the workspace is too male dominated, women from our households do not work or the plain old common one that women should focus on the family.
It is hurtful to the narrative if influential individuals such as Armeena Khan use their voice not to highlight the social injustice faced by women but instead portray them as the source of the problem.
Update: After much backlash on social media, Armeena Khan has changed her statement, stating that the “guardians” should be held responsible.