Positivity is a universal trait and a common factor to enhance our well being all over the world. Every day we learn about positivity and try to adopt it as much as possible in our day to day life. We love to be called as positive parents, couples, children and positive members of our society. We by all means, fight with our negativity and try our best to achieve an acceptable level of resilience. It is our utmost aim to live a happy, positive and successful life.
Unfortunately, our positivity is not a real positive thing rather a cultural belief. In some of the cultures of this world, people are suffering from their positive (unnatural and false) attitudes. For example, in the traditional societies of Pakistan, there are many beliefs that are thought as positive and people love to hold them as a symbol of pride and honour whereas they are a source of grief, anxiety, and depression for the other group of people.
Consider the following examples for clarification purpose:
- It is very common to wish a baby boy for a young couple as boys are thought as superior than girls.
- Baby girls are thought as guests in their own home. It is very much acceptable belief that a girl’s own home is settled after her marriage.
- They are usually given less priority in almost all affairs compared to boys. It is very common norm to say exclusively to girls to eat after the boys and serve the others.
- Some household chores like doing dishes, cleaning pots, washing, and dusting, are reserved for girls due to their very nature (low-degree jobs).
- Many things like riding a bike, playing in a park, running a shop, riding a bike and dressing up like boys, are thought as boys things so the girls are not allowed to do that.
- Most of the families do not allow girls to select their partner and they consider it a matter of their honor.
- On the birth of a baby girl, mothers could be divorced, beaten, or verbally emotionally severely abused.
- Some professions are taken as reserved for girls only (teaching, medical, and artistic) otherwise boys can join any profession they like to be in.
- A girl has to obey her husband throughout her life (irrespective of his cruelty, tortures and abuses), as divorce is thought as a stigma on a girl’s life.
People do not accept the right of living alone for their girls as it is too a matter of honor and dignity.
The list is never ending indeed. My purpose is not to highlighting the discrimination against women in Pakistan, rather to emphasize the idea that some of the cultural things are taken as a symbol of pride, honor and respect; people adopt them and feel happy in adopting them blindly as a part of their culture. They have no idea that their acceptance of cruelty would make the counter parts sick, dumb and vulnerable, susceptible, and unfortunate.
In the light of the above examples, girls feel extremely low self-esteem, decreased level of self-worth, lowest level of self-respect, and lose their self confidence in studies, social life, and after that in professional life. They feel homesick in the company of their own parents, they feel rejected and ignored at home and in society, they feel less powerful in the practical life ahead and in the end they compromise for the sake of their own family – usually children.
What is so positive in the eyes of the public (it is better for girls to stay at home) is not a fair decision. What is so acceptable among society members (girls are guests in their own homes) is making our half of the population feel homeless and homesick. What is taken as a symbol of honor (you are the mother of boys) is making the daughters feel miserable and less worthy. What is thought as girls’ sole responsibility (to perform exclusively household duties) is an example of severe gender discrimination. What is so common and good tradition of our culture (girls leave their parents on wedding day and live at the mercy of their husband and in laws forever) is making our daughters feel segregated and helpless in many ways. Indeed, these are all rubbish ideas, wrong theories, and false practices established in the dark ages when people lived in caves and had no education at all.
My stance is that one must not accept all the positivity blindly until or unless it is proved that the idea is worth accepting as a positive idea. One culture might involve something negative in the name of positivity. It is not always enough to say that hundreds of thousands of people are following one thing so the thing is worth following. NO. Sometimes, a wrong thing is followed by a large group of people, but the thing is wrong indeed. Thus, it is up to you whether you accept the idea as a positive one or reject it as it is. When a positive idea is positive, it spreads positivity. On the other side, when a negative idea is supported by most people and thought as a positive one- it will generate negativity, discrimination, inequality and resentment. There is no such universal formula that could define what is negativity and what is positivity – but you can save yourself from such messages through a severe negation as they stop you from being active, confident, successful, energetic, passionate, vibrant, creative, professional, empowered, assertive, decisive, happy and lively.