Following the Aurat March, which had a massive turn out and is being hailed as a success, many people took to social media to criticise a few posters and slogans from the march. They shared that the International Womens’ Day March which was supposed to promote equality was promoting hate towards the other gender.

Poster for Aurat March 2019 by Shehzil Malik

ProperGaanda spoke exclusively to Leena Ghani, a feminist and activist, who helped orchestrate the Aurat March Lahore. This is what she had to say:

It’s somewhat anti-climatic that after the march instead of celebrating, the default thought was, “Oh god not again.”

Triggered men cried tears of blood. And instead of rejoicing we had to worry about the aftermath. About how many women were going to get trolled and bullied. The outpouring of negative sentiment is a clear indication of how unprepared our society, especially some men, are for a reality check.

Leena Ghani (centre)

I’m aware of how much back lash I will face for even pointing the obvious, but then again we march to point out all that’s wrong and unjust.

Since this was our second time organising the march. We were expecting a backlash similar to the 2018 Aurat March. It’s pretty obvious what’s happening here, this is perhaps the easiest way to gaslight an event of this scale.

This year we made sure that our manifesto was widely understood and received so the narrative of what we are trying to achieve with the march is not hi-jacked. Regardless, it seems that there was a whole lot of confusion around why there is a need for women to march on the streets.

The collective focus of most of the men and women who took to social media to tear the movement apart was to divert the conversation and twist the narrative.

In the running for slogans that triggered most desi men is ‘Mujhay nahin maloom tumhara maouza kahan hai’. One would assume it’s pretty self explanatory: be self sufficient. Value a woman’s time and understand that she is not at your beck and call. That perhaps there are more important things she needs to tend to than finding a misplaced dirty sock!

Another slogan that triggered many was “Khana garam ker dun gi, apna bistar khud garam kero” by transgender activists.

The slogan is a refusal for bonded sex labour. It’s a cry for help to be treated equally and with respect. To not be excluded or abused.

‘Dick pics apnay pass rakho’.

I don’t even understand how anyone could confuse this one. Men continue to send unsolicited nude pictures, harassing women. And we are shocked that a woman would raise her voice against this?

Slogans and chants are usually controversial, short and in most cases unapologetically loud. This is how a conversation starts. No revolution or change happens by sitting at the by lines. By staying in a comfort zone.

The theme of our March this year was ‘Behanchara Aur Yakjehti’. Our aim was come out and stand united in solidarity and create sisterhood not a cisterhood. To unify and to reclaim our identities. To take back what’s stolen and be able to own our narrative. We were able to achieve that, so our win is much bigger than the fragile egos of a few.

‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.’
– Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are those of the author and don’t necessarily represent or reflect the views of ProperGaanda.


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