Sunday, May 9

A woman with a voice is a direct threat to patriarchy and misogynists, says Saira Khan

Saira Khan by Nicky Johnston. Instagram/Saira Khan (@iamsairakhan)/via The News

KARACHI: Women who use their voice unashamedly become “a direct threat to patriarchy and misogynists”, said British television personality Saira Khan in a post on her Instagram, days after receiving threats for being an independent woman.

Saira Khan spoke of violence against women, as well as how she was a women “saying ‘I want to live my life on my terms'”. Her Instagram post carried a poem called “Anticlockwise” by feminist Pakistani poet Kishwar Naheed in light of the intimidation and threats she got for speaking about her beliefs in the United Kingdom.

The “empowering” poem she shared has verses that talk of “chains of domesticity, shame and modesty”.

“That even though I cannot walk I can still think,” goes one verse from the poem by 81-year-old Naheed. “Your fear of my being free, being alive and able to think might lead you, who knows, into what travails.”

The TV presenter’s post was accompanied by a long message wherein she thanked Baroness Sayeeda Warsi for sharing the poem and reaching out in solidarity and support. “Your wise words have given me so much strength,” she wrote.

‘Without fear, guilt or shame’

Speaking of the threats and her traumatic experience, she said it was because “I’m a WOMAN saying ‘I want to live my life on my terms'”.

“A woman with a voice, owning her body, financially independent making her own life choices and having independent thought – that is a direct threat to the patriarchy and misogynists.

“Brown girls have grown up. And we are thinking and speaking out on our platforms without fear, guilt or shame,” she wrote.

Assumptions ‘before we even open our mouths’

Khan had earlier this week spoken about her beliefs and upbringing in a column, stating that for women with Muslim names and of Asian heritage, people “make assumptions about us before we even open our mouths”. Later, in an Instagram Live, she revealed that she was receiving death threats.

A contributor to the BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” programme, Khan had also issued a statement describing her experience of receiving threats and, at the same time, being contacted by women “documenting their fears for wanting to live their life how they wish.” 

“I have a voice. I will do my bit. we cannot sweep these matters under the carpet. We cannot be made to fear for our lives for wanting to help create a fairer and equal world for all,” she wrote.

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