On stereotyping

I posted an article on female stereotyping at All Things Pakistan blog. There was a bit of discussion but I was also chided as being partial, class-ist and insensitive to men.

Here was this humble blogger, on the defensive:

Small wonder that the Taliban version of Islam cites its top priority as getting women into burqas – as is the case now in Swat where girls are to wear burqas or not attend colleges/schools. What is the purpose of this decree – let’s ponder a little more on this.

By limiting women’s mobility in Swat, is there a better chance of fighting a war against Pak Army that is allegedly pursuing extremists in the tribal areas?

I was also attacked for focusing too much on the middle class morality – this is what I rambled:

The way classes are formed and act are sociological realities. Let me assure you that the upper or lower classes have their own definition of morality even though the educated middle classes define the mainstream trends and attitudes. Women who work in the fields in the rural areas face another kind of exploitation (as do the men-folk) but the issues highlighted above mostly deal with the perceptions that literature, media, arts create – and who are the writers, artists and intellectuals? Surely neither the industrialists/feudals or the working classes (with exceptions of course).

I do not want readers to agree with me – this was a subjective piece but let me make a simple point: such stereotypes are imperceptibly developed in our (male) psyche and often we keep on reinfocing them.

Apologies if I came across as a classist – there was no mention of lower or higher – the article focused on the middle layer that I come from and that my wife had to deal with in her work-place all the time – simply that we are from this particular segment and interact with them in our personal and professional lives.

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