Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh has taken the internet by storm with his candid views on the much talked about feminist slogan ‘Mera Jis Meri Marzi’. The veteran actor sat for one open conversation on the FHM Pakistan podcast hosted by Adnan Faisal.
“I am against ‘Mera Jiism Meri Marzi’,” Sheikh expressed his firm stand. “If you ask me, it’s not even fair for girls to say that as my choice to do whatever I want. Bin Roye the actor continued, commenting on the slogan’s popularity among young women.
The slogan has been criticized since it first appeared on the protest scene in 2018 at the first Aurat march in Karachi. Over the years, feminist organizers, activists, and workers have repeatedly highlighted the slogan’s utility in raising awareness of reproductive rights, gender-based violence, and consent education. Despite countless denials, ‘Mera Jiism Meri Marzi’ continues to be misconstrued as Western propaganda aimed at destroying traditional values.
“It is an Islamic country, you are born in a Muslim household, you come from a family,” Sheikh added, explaining his view of the inappropriateness of the slogan in Pakistan’s religio-cultural context. In response, podcast host Faisal pointed out that the feminist call is aimed at raising awareness about bodily consent, a right that applies regardless of gender.
The Teefa in Trouble The actor said, “I disagree with that. It’s just my opinion. Sure, we live in very “modern” times now, but I believe a woman has her own special essence. There’s a sense of modesty about it.” The celeb went on to say, “In my opinion, the more covered a woman is, the more beautiful she is,” reiterating that she’s entitled to believe even if mainstream culture is growing more accepting of alternative lifestyles.
Responding to the host’s argument that the “jeans and t-shirt” culture is now commonplace and maintaining old ideas of modesty is almost impossible at such times, Sheikh stated that the culture may be “like that”, but it isn’t.
The veteran Pakistani star whose extensive portfolio boasts successful supporting roles in Bollywood blockbusters such as Om Shandi Om and Namaste London, is among several entertainment figures with strong opinions about the slogan. Just recently, an interview clip went viral online where Pakistani actor Faysal Qureshi put in his two cents about “Mera Jis Meri Marzi”, also on Faisal’s podcast.
“People have twisted ‘Mera Jis Meri Marzi’ into a joke!” The Fitoor actor noted the controversial reception of the slogan. “It’s about consent. I’m a man, but I still expect them to respect my consent,” he added in agreement with the podcast host.
The actor discussed his views on consent and marital rape within cultural and religious expectations. He said, “Yes, our religion tells us that when men call their wives, they are bound to go, but there is a specific reason. There are many things that precede such a requirement that men are bound to fulfill first. This includes the five prayers, charity, earning by right means.’
The Bashar Momin The star cited the prophetic model (Sunnah) in Islam as a comprehensive guide to approaching marital relationships without isolating them from other religious compulsions. “You didn’t learn that, but you are fixated on a certain thing,” Qureshi said, disapproving of the choice of religion.
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