When Kubra Khan decided to respond to the mis-allegations labelled at her and several other women, she (unknowingly, or knowingly), tapped into a misogynistic mindset that has its roots deep down in our society.
It is but every day that some woman or another is targeted for the way she dresses, dances, carries herself, speaks her mind or sometimes, doesn’t even need to say anything to be targeted. But it is not everyday that the woman targeted chooses to respond. And while that may take a whole lot of courage at her end, it also takes a whole lot of instagram and twitter accounts to try and subsequently bring her down.
You see, the only woman we are comfortable holding up as a mirror of propriety to the world is the Mother Teresa version of woman – the woman who goes about doing her work quietly, head down, dignified in silence, unresponsive, and yes, (there is dignity in that too), no doubt, so as to not take away from all the warriors who have gone it alone, or faced allegations by staying quiet, but there is great courage and dignity in this too – in what Kubra did.
She chose not to remain silent.
Instead, she went ahead to file a petition in court
Kubra took to her social media to post updates on the petition filed earlier, and news has it, she has been asked by the authorities to record her statement on the case today. It is unfortunate, yet not surprising that she was subject to trolling at a massive level after taking on the so called ‘geopolitical analyst’ and ‘rights activist’ in question. It is also unfortunate that many men and women, sided with his (Adil Raja’s) subsequent stance that he merely mentioned the initials and not the full names, so what’s the big deal?
Oh but it is a big deal. Just hear me out.
But first, Kubra’s statement and the contents within, we hope she receives justice
The past four days.. have been so difficult for me and my family that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain in words. I couldn’t wrap my head around as to why anyone would do this to me.. even after it was clarified that my name or initials were misinterpreted why was I still getting bullied so ferociously. Even before I reacted.. why were my pictures being used in such a inappropriate manner.. and then I realized.. because no one’s ever put a stop to it. Because we’re so used to being quiet. Until this story die, another arises to do the same damage just because we didn’t speak up. But enough is enough
So This is me, exercising my constitutional rights as a Pakistani and relying on our law to protect my dignity and this is me saying what I want to say for all the hard working independent woman out there who are insulted daily. I’m not gonna stand here and say I stood up for every woman out there but I will say that I stood up so that from now on if a situation like this arises, every woman and man out there knows that standing up for yourself is your RIGHT!
So now.. I leave it in your hands, Our law Implementors and God’s Hands. I rest my case.
Now onwards to the state of our nation, our mindsets and why we think it’s okay to call out women, and why we feel that their behaviour defines the moral fabric of our society, and why men are conveniently left out of the picture. It is no small coincidence that Benazir Bhutto, at the peak of her political popularity, was forced to marry before she took on the election run, perhaps a woman on her own would not a successful ruler make?
It is not surprising that many women choose to stay silent when attacked on a personal front. The reaction to them speaking out and defending themselves is so toxic, laced in misogyny and negative rhetoric that one has to have nerves of steel, a monumental social media team and a very thick skin to brave the storm after.
When the same was unleashed on Kubra, I’m sure many women thought twice about raising a voice for themselves. It required too much emotional baggage and strength, inner courage and stoicism, and so much more to deal with the backlash – from trolling social media accounts to conversations on private chats and private living rooms, it is not just the bots who have filth in their minds but some very educated, well read, men and women who seem to think that anything or everything can be said about women, especially women who hail from the showbiz industry or whose work requires them to be present on a public platform – yes, it’s 2023, but never mind that, we are stuck in a time warp or perhaps, even regressing at some level.
And that is precisely why Kubra Khan must be supported. because not only did she stand up to her perpetrators but she also went a step ahead by initiating legal battle against them, so that it wasn’t just about clapping back on twitter but something more staunch, and lasting.
She might not know it now, but for all the women who stayed silent, Kubra spoke for them too!
Kubra demanded the taking down of trolling accounts who were spreading untruths and mis-allegations about her and also demanded an out and out apology and a retracting of the public statement by Mr Adil Raja who had blatantly called out women, (it does not matter who they are, or that they were ‘mere’ initials), but just the fact that he felt entitled enough to do it. And the fact that it got some people, many people, thinking that: does it really happen, and oh yeah, of course it does, (see how our minds work), to naah, couldn’t beTHEM!
Why would we want to think like that? Because of the words uttered by one person on the internet? You tell me, I’m just asking the questions.
And you know what, it doesn’t matter whether it was a specific person named or not. The fact is that people think women can be named and shamed into silence. And so my question to you is: why does it matter to anyone what happens behind closed doors? Why do people think that women are participating voluntarily in any, or all cases of truth or allegations (this is for all the videos that went viral, because they too, were women, living, breathing, in the flesh, sensitive human beings) and why do we feel we have a right to judge them?
Why do initials even matter? It is wrong of anyone to malign, slander or call out women. Full stop.
Why is no one talking about men…why is it only the women who should feel they need to defend their honour? Because you know she won’t fight back? She’ll slip away into the quiet of the night or abstain from ever using social media again or suffer in silence? And when a woman does defend herself, she is made the target of relentless misogyny and trolling. Like I said earlier, our society only respects the image of a Mother Teresa or a battered, beaten, weak woman. The moment she is strong and stands up for herself, she opens herself up to more trolling and hate speech and judgement calls.
When did we become this ugly, judgemental misogynistic society?
So once again, thank you for standing up and speaking up Kubra Khan – you make every woman proud and you might not know it now, but you spoke for all those women who cannot speak!