By Nushrah Arshad.
Living in a country where marriage is considered to be the only duty of a woman , I conducted an informal research asking women what was the most inappropriate questions they’ve been asked by the people who come to see them (emphasis on see as if they were dolls in a toy shop). What I came across was so petty that I was ashamed, for once in my life I was ashamed to be a woman.
So not making you guys wait any longer I’ll start off with some things that the women who come to ask for our hands in marriage for their sons ask us, to be clear though I don’t blame men for this because it’s women who pull other women back. This idea came to mind when I was sitting in my university lawn and reading a book. A group of ladies behind me were talking, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but that becomes quite a task when the person speaking has a loud voice. What she was saying was that “I went to a girl for my brother with my mother this weekend”, the other girls in the group were quite anxious to know whether or not they finally approved of a girl worthy to marry her brother. The girl said “she was okay but ‘yar usk dath terhy thy’ !!” and I was like IN THE NAME OF GOD WOMAN GET A REALITY CHECK that comment made me turn around and give her a good look from head to toe, she was pretty young girl but she had imperfections of her own too. This comment gave goose bumps imagine getting shamed because of something not in your own control, something God made. I mean by saying this they’re picking at God’s creation.
It seemed as though she went to the “bakra mandi” to look for a goat to slaughter. That’s when I started asking around and collecting information, being a person who lived abroad I didn’t know this is what went on in Pakistan, a land where women are respected is what my father used to tell me. A girl told me that the family that came to see her (emphasis on see as though she was an animal in the zoo) told her to walk in front of them so that they could make sure she could walk! I mean for heaven’s sake, if a girl goes about doing stuff in her house while the “rishta waley” are there they think she’s rude and doesn’t respect their elders because she ought to come and sit next to them and when they sit next to them this is what they have to face.
Another girl told me that she wears glasses and the family that came to see her (emphasis on see as though she was a fish in an aquarium) asked her to take her glasses off and then they asked her to tell them how many fingers they were holding up, they thought she might be blind because she wore glasses. A girl I know once told me the people who came to see her asked her that “theses pimples don’t run in the family do they wouldn’t want our grandchildren having pimples, now would we?” and take my word for it that she hardly had one or two little scars that could easily be hidden with makeup. And let’s not forget the most frequently asked questions “ap weight lose krny k liye kya kr rhi ho” (what are you doing to lose weight? What are you going to gain weight? What’s your height? Our son is 6’1 ap to bht choti ho”.
People come and go and never call back, our daughters and sisters sit in front of them like a piece of art in front of critics in a museum where people follow in turn. The sisters and daughters we call our ‘izzat’ sit in front of people that humiliate them, shame them and no one stands up, not even their own parents. Their parents along with their society shame them on their bodies which cause eating disorders, depression, anxiety and so many problems I can’t even write them down.
While ending what I have to say, I want to tell everyone out there if this is what you do when you go to see a girl for you brothers or your sons, then remember one thing what goes around comes around. Karma hit you back in ways you didn’t expect so be careful before going around rejecting other women as though you were a chef in café and they were dishes you didn’t approve off and threw away, remember there will be another chef waiting around the corner waiting for you too. To all those girls out there who’ve been through this comment below what are the worst questions you’ve come across or the women around you have. I would write more but then again, I would have to write a book. Remember beauty comes in all shapes and sizes to become powerful and to rise in this world we have to respect each other first.
Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.