Controversial Aurat March Posters Explained

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Aurat March created an uproar this year and numerous people protested against the posters and slogans that were circulating around social media regarding the march. One of our followers, Misbah Shan, decided to explain them once and for all. Scroll down to read her article on what all the ‘controversial’ slogans really meant:

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The phrase “ye aurat march ameeru ke chonchale hein..”  is something I have heard multiple times when feminism or the aurat march have been discussed. And you know what? The people that say it are right. Ameer can mean rich, but it also means abundant and in this case, I believe it means being abundant in knowledge.  I, along with countless other people, are ameer without having a ‘great deal of money or assets.’ Standing up for women during this time and in this country undoubtedly means that one possesses knowledge, awareness, understanding and the privilege to stand up for those who either can’t, or don’t. 

I can call myself ameer because:

  • I stand for 4 year old Zainab, and countless others who lost their innocence and lives by the hands of monsters and rapists. 
  • I stand for every girl who wraps her chaddar around herself because she knows that no matter how covered she is, her body and honour are at constant risk only because men haven’t been taught better. 
  • I stand for all the victims who are buried alive because they brought ‘dishonour’ to the family, without any proof of them doing so.
  • I stand for young women who have been condemned, shamed, beaten and tortured, because they gave birth to a girl and our illiterate population believes that a woman is responsible for the gender, even though biologically it’s the father who plays a role in the gender. 
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Aurat March in 2019 created a great deal of conversation for various reasons. There were people who supported the cause, but there were also those who tried to undermine it by saying that certain slogans were provocative as they were ‘controversial and threatening to our religious values.’ However people who were ‘ameer’ in knowledge, weren’t bothered at all. Even if there were some inappropriate slogans, the quantity of slogans indicating the real issues were definitely in majority. 

These are some of the controversial slogans, along with what they actually meant:

‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’

Assumption: It is promoting prostitution & abortion – anything related to sexual activity & defaming men.

What it actually meant: Mera jism (my body) meri marzi (my volition).

As Bina shah says ‘..the real meaning of Mera Jism Meri Marzi boils down to a single word: consent. Giving permission for something to happen. The women who talk about this slogan are referring to women having control over their own bodies..’ 

It’s OUR body, we should be able to decide what we do with it. In Lahore, a man allegedly burnt a teenage girl to death after failing to rape her . Stop expecting us to be okay with being treated like this. We are standing up for all the victims and ourselves. 

‘Women Are Humans, Not Honour’

Assumption: Women want to do crazy things irrespective of them being wrong morally and religiously and they don’t want anyone to stop them.

What it actually meant: We are humans first and then your sisters, daughters, mothers and wives. We don’t want our life decisions to be always under the radar because how they’ll affect others. We don’t want to choose a career that someone else has decided for us because we have our own dreams. 

Every week there is a new story of some woman being killed because of the shame they brought to family “honour.” Sometimes the act is carried out by one man, but more often, a group of male family members carry it out.

“Apna Khaana Khud Garam Karu”

Assumption: We don’t want to do anything at home.We want men to do everything themselves and do our work as well. 

What it actually meant: Don’t make us feel like we’re your servant. I’m either a sister, daughter, mother or wife. Let me do everything for you because of respect and love, not fear. You can help me, it won’t affect your respect or muscularity. In Lahore, a father killed his daughter for not making Gol Roti. How can we not protest this?

According to Bukhari:

‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), was asked, “What did the Prophet (ﷺ) use to do in his house?” She replied, 

“He used to keep himself busy serving his family (كَانَ يَكُونُ فِي مِهْنَةِ أَهْلِهِ) and when it was the time for prayer he would go for it.” 

As stated in this article, the word used in the hadith is mihnah (مِهْنَة), which is translated as ‘busy serving’ here, which also means in the Arabic language ‘work’, ‘job’, ‘profession’, etc. This implies that helping your wife in the house is a job as well. Whether it’s helping wash the dishes, cooking, cleaning, raising the kids etc. It is part of being the ‘man of the house’. The notion that it is somehow degrading for men to help and work with the wife around the house is not an islamic concept. 

“Lo Beth Gayi Sahi Se”

Assumption: I will sit however I want to. I don’t care if it’s morally or religiously wrong. I don’t care. I’m a free woman who doesn’t care about anyone and I will do everything you want me not to do, because I want to.

What it actually meant: I don’t want to be asked to sit properly just to make the man sitting in the same space as me feel comfortable. Him looking at me is also morally and religiously wrong. I will sit the right way because my religion wants me to, not because of the toxic patriarchy.

According to Chapter (24) sūrat l-nūr (The Light) (24:30) in the Quran:

“Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do” (Shakir)

Nazar Teri Gandi Aur Pardah Mein Karoun

Assumption: We want to wear small dresses that aren’t in our religion. We don’t want to cover ourselves because we don’t care. 

What we actually meant: I don’t want to cover myself and wear a dupatta because you can’t control your gaze and thoughts. I want to do it because my religion wants me to do it. I don’t want you to be the reason for me to do stuff that my religion wants me to do. I don’t want to be afraid of your gaze and hands, rather I want to be afraid of Allah. I can’t let myself be a part of something that makes you feel that you can do whatever you want and I’d do whatever I can to protect myself from you because no matter how wrong morally or religiously your doing is.

If you still think Aurat March threatens our religion, I’m afraid you’re one of those who are either the reason we march, or you’re too comfortable with the privilege you have and are not interested in being ameer.

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