Zeeba T. Hashmi
The recent controversy over OMJ’s remarks on obscenity in a TV show on Neo TV has sparked debates on virtues and vice of female coming in their professional public spheres. And it is no surprise that he thinks a woman to be “bitch’ who is supposed to take care of her puppies, and it is not her job to roam the streets like dogs. (this is what he literally said on the talkshow on the same channel). And he also stressed that she has no right to making choices pertaining to her life. Well, his misogyny is beyond boundaries, the chances are that he is merely reflecting on what majority of people think about their women in a patriarchal society.
Recently, his show was aired again on Neo TV in which he talks about harassment women face in the cricket world. Below is the link of the show, and let’s talk about it.
I did not want to write on this subject, as there has been enough criticism and condemnations of his open misogyny. However, it is because of his mentioning the workplace harassment women face is what has compelled me to write about this issue. Many people found his earlier statement on the model female cricketer justified in his later show where he talked about the harassment of female cricketers. He maintained that she should not have left her house to become a cricketer because of men who exploit her. And this is why I’m writing this, and this is why I feel there is a need to remove the confusion of making a woman a sexual object by referring to her as “fahash” (vulgar/obscene) and, harassment. Yes, “fahashi” and harassment are interconnected, as labeling
a working woman as one is in itself is re-endorsing harassment. I have my reasons to express what I think about this particular clip I’ve shared here,which is wrong and dismal on so many levels.
1. In his earlier program on Q-Mobile ad, he pointed out “obscenity” by referring to a woman cricketer bowling on the field. What exactly was he pointing at that others didn’t notice? In fact, since he said it is obscene, more and more people started observing her body parts in detail. I would spell it out what he saw in the woman playing, but I have to consider that it may not be proper for a general audience. So, I’ll talk about this subliminally. OMJ saw the girl’s dash dash moving in the ad, and he feels offended. I ask, is this how one should see women working at offices, tilling the farms, taking water from wells and working as maids in their homes? It reminds me of Donald Trump stating he would date his daughter only if she wasn’t his daughter. If you see your own women as nothing but her attractiveness and composition of different body parts, then there is something really wrong and perverted with how one looks at women, whether it is his daughter, sister, mother, aunt, female colleagues, or female friends. This is harassment of women.
2. His second most severe objection to the ad is that the woman cricketer defied her father’s wishes in pursuit of her dreams, which he terms as destroying our “family values’. Well, the family values he is referring to is that a woman is not allowed to go against the wishes of her male elders because a defying woman may hurt his “honour”. In our “family values” she is solely responsible for protecting honour of her father, which is precisely why many woman is killed in the name of honour for following her wishes, be it the case of marriage or pursuit of her ambition. In our expected “family values”, a woman can never be a decision maker, and has to seek “permission” from male members for everything she wants to do. Orya Maqbool Jan, like many, fails to see a woman as an individual who has a right to decide on the matters pertaining to her person. She deserves respect, support and love from her family, but not that her life is dictated by it. Failing to see a woman as an individual is what makes her a “property” a “chattel”, who can never be able to enjoy equal status with men. This is harassment of women.
3. In his show on Q-Mobile ad, he never once mentioned about the harassment women face at work, cricket being one of that. He only brought it up on his second show after he was faced with strong criticism over the girl’s “obscenity” stint by bringing to light the wobbling of her dash dash. In the next show, he frantically tried to justify his previous statement by linking it with harassment women face at work.
“This is what she gets when she leaves home by defying her father” He said. Ok, you want to criticize a woman for leaving her house, but not once did you condemn the perversion a woman faces from her male counterparts. There is nothing wrong with the girl, but it is the sick general perception that ‘shareef’ (chaste) women don’t leave their homes, and those who do deserve to be harassed, or even raped. This is something that would have made more sense if Orya Maqbool Jan had mentioned the problem with male’s perception and their misbehavior, instead of blaming the woman for it. Telling women to remain at home does not solve the problem of harassment. There have been many reports of girls to have been sexually abused by someone very close in their families, and that too within the sanctity of their homes. Therefore, I don’t think his point is valid that only women who “leave” homes get harassed. It is happening at homes too. And yes, not mentioning or complaining about it is what protects the ‘family values’. Keep the women silent. As a Jamat e Islami leader once said on TV that a woman who is raped should keep her mouth shut. Now this is harassment.
4.You find all sorts of harassment when you are on the road. Does it mean women stop driving or travel in public vehicles because of men? I have worked in schools in Punjab, where I’ve gone through FIR reports of rape and harassment of students, particularly girls, by their own teachers or school care takers. Does it mean that we stop sending girls sending to schools as a solution to this problem? Why not talk about a system with stricter laws for protection of women? Mind you, anything that had been tabled for providing better protection of women in the parliament has been vehemently opposed by Orya Maqbool Jan and the likes who consider it as “destroying family values” and calling this pragmatic step as a “western secular agenda”. This is harassment.
5. And finally, imagine what the model in the Q-Mobile ad would be going through after Orya Maqbool Jan pointed out her body parts, something that wasn’t even noticeable before he highlighted it in the media. And I tell you, THIS IS HARASSMENT of Orya Maqbool Jan against the girl. And this is why I consider Orya Maqbool Jan an extremely sick person.
No obscenity could be greater than Orya Maqbool Jan himself. And this is my verdict.