This slogan started in US as “My body, my choice” in response to a law that forbid women to abort a child whatever the circumstances of pregnancy might be (Ranging for unwanted pregnancy to rape).
However, that wasn’t the only case where it was used, later the same slogan has been used against rape, harassment, moral policing, body shaming etc.
It has also been used in favour of allowing prostitution, organ sales, drug use and abolishing sin tax etc.
In Pakistan the Urdu Translation “Meri Jism meri marzi” initially begin when women started to use it against forced marriages, rapes, harassment, choice of dress and similar issues. However as time passed, in my opinion (where I might be wrong) the slogan has been hijacked by a few women who not only made the slogan and the Aurat March controversial, they essentially silenced almost every other real issues faced by women.
Men and women who are against Aurat March started picking up examples of the usage of this slogan for various purposes that had nothing to do with the issues in Pakistan and used that to mock and condemn the whole movement.
Adding fuel to the fire, some of the supporters of the movement instead of explaining the situation went for a tit-for-tat with a reply of “so what?”
The whole situation has turned ugly and there’s only one set of people who are losing.
“THE REAL VICTIMS”
For the sake of an example, the image carrying “lo baith gye sahee sy” has been shared 97,000 times more than “beti dil main, beti will main”.
Another example “khana garam kar do gi, bistar khud garam kar lo” has been shared approximately a million times more than “parh lo aur apni beti ko parhao”.
As a nation we lack patience and moderation, we either don’t want to listen to someone who has opposing views or we want to impose our views, we show no option for a dialogue.
Our conversation is hijacked by the extremists on both ends and when a controversy stirs up we roll down to pit of extreme even if we know that their way of expression or the demand are condemnable.
We can’t allow rapes, sexual harassment, forced marriages, illiteracy but we can’t either allow prostitution, organ sale or drug sale just because the person wants to.
So how to decide what must be allowed and what shouldn’t be?
Anything that harms any other human (unless by a court under a law or in equal proportionate self defence) shouldn’t be allowed.
Rest can be decided upon legality and morality with respect to either culture (which shouldn’t be against the first rule above) and/or religion (no religion enforces absurdities, it’s only the interpretation made by a few to favor themselves)
In the end, I want to plead to everyone, after today you will be seeing a lot of posters, placard etc, be positive, spread positivity.
If you see something you don’t like, don’t share it with a hate message, bury it deep, instead share the ones that show the real problems of women like property, education, respect, right to choose their partner. Share them 10 times, 100 times or even a thousand times. Ask your friends and family to share placards about the real problems. In that way you can suppress what you think is wrong.
If you are a part of the Aurat March, please don’t stir controversy for a few hours of social fame, please make the placards about the real major issues.
Why should we do that? Because we owe it, we owe it to the women who have been raped, we owe it to the women who have been burnt by acid, we owe it to the women who haven’t been given their inheritance, we owe it the women who were asked to take husband’s beating, we owe it to the women who were forced to marry by their parent’s choice, we owe it to the the ones in pain, the ones who are silenced.