Patriarchal elitism – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

There seems to be an unjustified moral panic triggered by Pakistan’s top leadership, whether it be over harassment or rape, women’s clothing, and even social media regulation. The main problem is how the discourse on morality and decency has been limited to superficial factors rather than discussing attitudes and ways of thinking that threaten and hurt others.

Take, for example, the third ban on the TikTok video sharing platform, which is most popular with young people and used most often in areas on the fringes of the elite centers of power. The ongoing ban on the platform, first by the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA), then by the Peshawar High Court and lastly by the Sindh High Court, all under the guise of “obscene and immoral content” indicates the discomfort that both are in control of the Society and society at large, when young people express their creative talents on social media through acting, singing, lip-syncing, dancing, or commenting on various topics.

Why is the expression of creativity censored instead of used?

It is important to deconstruct such moral surveillance of youth in this country and consider factors that motivate whole platforms to be banned, something that itself must be banned by law.

First, the blatant elitism against TikTok in Pakistan, because it is used by a cross-section of society, in particular by parts that were in some cases not prominent or present on the traditionally elitist-dominated social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter and Facebook. Once people from small towns, villages, and lower socioeconomic backgrounds – groups that make up the majority but are severely underrepresented in mainstream and other social media – have gained voice and creative control, the elite-dominated media and social Media discourse about “twitching”. “And look at the entire application. I’ve heard several comments in the creative industry about how marketing on TikTok can damage their “brand image” because of the “types of people who use it.”

The truth is that TikTok is an extremely easy-to-use platform and its video-based interface doesn’t require any knowledge to set up an account and create content that has the potential to go viral. For the first time, people from small towns and villages can build a large following by simply showcasing their lifestyle in some cases, sharing the wisdom of their elders and traditional culture like dance, music and songs that are underrepresented in the mainstream. TikTok also provides a platform for languages ​​and cultures missing from the Urdu-dominated media – and so far social media – in Pakistan.

Second, the patriarchal desire to objectify, silence, and control women. Because TikTok allows women to show their talent when applying, the Patriarchate believes that outside of the Chaadar Chaardiwari’s remit, it would be happiest to see women imprisoned. Hence, a lot of gasps are caused by women just smiling, singing, acting, or performing on TikTok, and the intersectional curse of being a woman with a non-elitist background from a rural area or small town makes this all the more unacceptable to elite patriarchy .

Third, the assumption is that TikTok is full of obscene content. TikTok has strict global standards against nudity and sexually explicit content, and its automated filters often remove more than 90 percent of that content before anyone even sees it. Community standards governing its use. The company reportedly adheres to the PTA on content removal and user data. In fact, we should be concerned about this, because governments shouldn’t be able to influence the moderation of content on the Internet so much, especially with the risk of silencing voices critical of the state – a legitimate concern given the censorship that the PTI government has carried out since 2018.

Read: TikTok removed 6 million videos in Pakistan in the first quarter of 2021

Several content creators have seen their content removed despite falling within the scope of the TikTok rules, which clearly suggests the company is going very far to please the patriarchal powers in Pakistan to avoid a ban . Such arm twists and a fear-induced, threatening environment violate the rights of citizens and paint a bleak picture for the content creator industry in Pakistan. Often times, content is restored after a roll call, symbolizing the curious looks of the big brother who monitors innocent movements in the app and stifles creativity.

In addition, Pakistan’s Electronic Crime Prevention Act (Peca), 2016, prohibits hate speech, cyberterrorism, child pornography, content maliciously uploaded to harm a person’s reputation, and explicit content anyway, leaving citizens with multiple levels of protection. to protect yourself from harm on the Internet instead of in the state-corporate nexus that unilaterally monitors creativity and expression.

Such moral surveillance is inseparable from the prime minister’s problematic remarks, the frequency of which is beyond TikTok’s censorship in Pakistan. Talking about women’s clothing as a factor leading to violent sexual crimes by men in society encourages molesters and rapists to further blame survivors and victims, and completely overlooks the tragic reality that countless women and men are fully veiled Children are routinely exposed to violent sex crimes by men.

Why is the overwhelming research suggesting that rape is a crime motivated by the will to exercise power as a factor in toxic masculinity, repeatedly ignored? Why aren’t young boys taught the concept of consent and how to respect boundaries? Why is the expression of creativity censored instead of used? Why are women shamed and held responsible for seducing men instead of punishing men for not being “robots”?

These questions need to be addressed at the highest levels and answered at the family and school levels in order to raise boys who respect women rather than girls who are taught to be invisible. This is the right way for our society to be coherent, respectful and moral; no outfits and “This app is forbidden” notices.

The author is the director of Bolo Bhi, a digital rights lawyers forum.

Twitter: **** @ UsamaKhilji

Posted in Dawn, July 17, 2021

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