Last week I saw this article from a respected Pakistani newspaper pop up on my facebook newsfeed. How anyone could ever think that domestic violence was an issue that affected only women as victims and only men as perpetrators is beyond me but now that countless studies have proven (what is obvious to any common sense person) that men and women lash out at each other at equal numbers it really pains me to still see the old narrative being peddled.
My hope here was that it was just done to get people to click and that the actual article would address how both men and women suffer in cousin marriages. But the actual article turned out to be biased to the bone.
The article opens with this strange assertion:
For centuries, parents of young Muslim women have forced their daughters into arranged marriages, often with their cousins, to protect land holdings or conform to their tribal customs.
and ends with a similar statement, coming full circle and thus ensuring that the reader leaves with an image in their mind of a young, helpless women being pushed by their evil parents to a similarly evil man who can’t wait to subjugate her.
Despite the evidence showing less infrequent abuse in first cousin marriages, women should not be forced into marriages against their wishes so that they may avoid spousal abuse. In a just society, people are kind to all, and not just to their blood relatives.
It is strange, people, feminists in particular keep reiterating that women are objectified. Yet, the person in this article, who is completely stripped of any humanity is clearly the man. According to the view of this journalist, he has no desire for a partner together with whom he can go through life, who desires him as much as he does her. Apparenty all he needs is a female that he can stomp his foot on. As anyone who has ever met a male human being knows this is not true. So, how come the journalist is not at least bothered by men who are forced into marriages against their will? They say there is no respect for women, anywhere, but especially in South Asia. But when the situation of men being forced into a marriage is not even mentioned it really makes me wonder how much respect there is in the so called male dominated society. Women forced into marriage is seen as a problem. Men forced into marriage is not even worth a mention.
It comes as no surprise then that in the comments people will justify violence against the husband by the wife.
So, this is what the archetypal patriarchy looks like. Men justifying women lashing out at their husbands. It is not really anything that surprises me as blaming men for violence they endure from their wives is also common in western countries. This is once more an area where people in the East and West do not differ from each other. Needless to say that in the rest of the comments men are trying to outdo each other in their proclamation of how they are condemning any mistreatment of women as if that would make them somehow special. Then there is the usual Pakistanies accuses Indians of mistreating their women and vice versa. Basically a miniature version of the age old “Muslim men mistreat their womenfolk”, said by Western men and “Western men mistreat their women folk”, said by Muslim / Asian men. A competition between different cultures and nations about who treats their women best?
It’s almost as if treating women well was an inherent part of masculinity.
Another curious part of the article was that it revealed that the study was financed by USAID and conducted by Canadian researchers. It’s almost as if colonialism never ended. Once again theories that have proven to have done more harm than good in the native population and are nowadays being openly challenged by many are taken to foreign lands and are engrafted on people there.