We Need Change by Maha Qadri
We asked teens around the world: How do you perceive power in your community? Maha Qadri, member of the Pakistan Ed Board, responds:
As a young woman who is equally Pakistani and American, I’ve had my share oppression. As a female in this day’s society, I am being told how to empower myself while also being told that I am not capable of doing everything a man can do. As a Muslim, I’ve had my share racist comments and terrorist jokes.
The Desi community more or less is my main source of oppression. Because I’m a girl, I’m expected to know how to cook. Sure, that’s not really oppressive but it is slightly annoying that no one nags my brother when the only thing he can cook is nacho cheese. I’m expected to clean the house more often then my brother. I’m expected to sit silently while the men talk. I’m expected to be amazing with children (which I am, but that’s aside from the point). This community is still living in the past and doesn’t realize just how powerful a woman can be.
The Lake Travis community is different. Men are accepting the fact how independent a woman can be. But they still hold some wrong standards. I’ve been told countless times to lose weight. Don’t you want to thin and attractive? Of course, they don’t actually say that, but euphemisms are easy to unravel. I have naturally tan skin, but apparently, that’s not attractive either. My hair shouldn’t be short. I should constantly be aesthetically pleasing, whether I want to or not.
You can find people in every community with eighteenth century ideas in their heads. It’s up to us “anomalies” to change their views. Without us, the world would never change; and we could use some change.