Elite women: elite or just women?
Posted by Zaitoon Malik on May 16, 2015 ·
She steps out of her car, one manicured foot after the other, sunglasses, blow-dried hair, statement lipstick, her shalwar kameez – If she’s chosen to wear one instead of her usual western attire – does not give the usual impression of modesty and decency. You can tell; she’s an elite woman.
But what makes her “elite”? She’s just been objectified like any other woman, she has carefully crafted her appearance like any other woman and she knows her worth’s evaluation will stem from it, like any other woman.
Yes, she gets to go around in her own car, has a job, wears what she want without her family disowning her but we all know all this will cease the minute a single one of the males “in charge” of her finds it bothersome or interruptive to their entitled service of hers.
Is she then really different from the non-elite woman? Or does she get classed into this prestigious and privileged economic stature because of the men she’s related to? Is she a superior woman of her own?
Tehmina Durrani, probably the best example in this case, even after penning an entire novel against feudalism and the abuse she had to suffer at the hands of elite men, had to return to the feudal, elite fold. Benazir Bhutto was the first woman of her family to pursue higher education or to leave her home country in pursue of it. How many women of the upper-level families do we know have pursued higher education abroad in comparison with their brothers?
“Elite men rape with impunity at parties” I was informed by a good friend to my horror. And obviously the victim, being a woman, is shamed. Uncles and servants of the elite house are also immune to punishment when it comes to women, with some uncles looking for an opportunity to display power over the younger women on their deathbeds.
These same young women are then married strategically, to form alliances and further the influence of the elite men they share blood with. They can choose a man of their own, but it has to benefit those “in charge” of her. The choice of having a baby is a mere illusion given the constant bullying and ostracizing. And how do you silence, stand up to or report an influential and abusive, cheating husband?
Many then have to fight life-long battles at court to inherit, with their brothers (the men) being in a position to silence media and officials. These same women get scorned for being born rich; in reality, very few have substantial money to their name. Yes, they might choose to sell their jewellery but what could be more shameful?
Yes, it is unthinkable to some that an elite woman may not be very educated but many fall victims to honour violence just as much as non-elite women. She, like the rest of us, is silenced by men, is oppressed by men, is abused by men, only, the men in her life are far more powerful and untouchable than the men in ours.
The idea here isn’t to pin elite and non-elite women up and then compare how much patriarchy halts and disables them. Oppression is not a choice or taste to be compared, contrasted and then chosen; oppression is oppression, regardless of gloss and glamour. Oppression isn’t a competition; it is a battle against the oppressor. And all us women are on the same side in this one.
The idea here is to stress on the fact that when patriarchy’s tentacles ensnared us women, economic class was not a factor that went into consideration. All women were classed singularly; inferior to men. The elite woman, hence, is no exception. The elite woman, at least in our patriarchal pit of a society, does not exist. We call her so solely because of the men she is related to. Her life is only elite as long as she complies to the men in her life.
In our patriarchal system, women are in no struggle or division of social class; we’re struggling to survive. And all we have is each other.
As an “elite” friend said; “I’m glad you’re writing this. I can’t. I’d be lynched”.
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