Personally I do not like Veena Malik. I think she is a bad actress and does not espouse any sophistication. Moreover, she likes to gain attention and stands ready to resort to loud means in order to get it. Having said so, the current hue and cry over her role in the “Big Boss” is typical nonsensical moralist garbage; an outcome of our society’s twisted fascination with female virtue. Somehow or the other we equate female lack of sexual expression with “honour” and assume that the “good” women display chastity. Of course we consider that men will always be men and therefore no one would expect Atif Aslam or Ali Zafar to display same sexually chaste behavior.
Moreover, we also assume that all females, particularly in the international forum represent Pakistan and therefore they should adhere to society’s definition of “honour”. In case if a particular female does not, then all of us are aghast. This problem by no stretch of imagination is restricted to men alone since an overwhelming majority of females also think the same and hence right now it is also women who feel “ashamed” as to what Veena Malik is doing. Some of them are quick to “disown” her and proclaim that Veena Malik is a vulgar woman and is not representing them.
This psyche, which glorifies men’s philandering behavior by equating it with being “stud like” and demeans any bold expression of female sexuality as “sluttish’, is the root cause of all this hue and cry over Veena Malik. Moreover, when this psyche stretches to expect women to behave in a certain way because they “represent” Pakistan, you have a perfect recipe of needless controversy.
And what a controversy it is! Veena Malik, who by no stretch of imagination is the epitome of liberalism or women liberation, finds herself at the centre stage with a few liberals rallying around her and the rest of the society vilifying her. She is also quick to realize it and is trying to lure support through drawing attention to the fact that clergy are after her because she is a woman. Of course she is right but this issue would not be resolved unless and until our basic psyche is not changed. Our basic social psyche expects women to behave in a particular way and moreover assumes that women represent “honour” of their households. Despite the recent strides in women liberation, this expectation is still there. Yes compared to the past, more and more women are now working and have greater degree of economic independence but there are still some social expectations (with respect to their behaviour) which continue to linger on and so called “chaste” behavior is one of these.
In a reality show like Big Boss, the more outrageous you are, the higher are the chances of your continuity in the future episodes. These programs thrive on controversy and therefore Veena Malik’s bold behavior has to be seen in this light rather than through this hypocritical honor paradigm. Yes you can criticize her on her acting talents or argue that she is trying to be too outrageous but to declare that she is dishonoring Pakistan is outright crap.
The episode also once again underlines the need for rethinking over concepts like female virtue. In my childhood I once witnessed a debating contest at Aitchison College. The subject was “Woman’s Virtue is Man’s greatest invention”. The central point of debate was that men in order to ensure control over females had invented the current definition of female virtue which equated loyal and chaste behavior with virtue and respect. Of course this brand of virtue gave men control over female sexuality and made the household man the centre of the universe for the women. Years later, I am once again reminded of that debate…and I could not agree more.
Source: Pak Tea House