3RD PLACE: ESSAY CONTEST

“How dangerous can political correctness be,

and how can such an obstacle ever be overcome?”

 

The views expressed in this essay do not reflect the opinions of Honor Diaries

By: Fatima Sabri

 

 

Honor Diaries is a most influential and powerful film that opens a dialogue about the subject of “honor” and how different cultural barriers perpetuate violence against girls and women. This film brings out multiple perspectives by gathering together nine women from diverse traditional cultural backgrounds to talk about many forms of violence that happen in their societies. These are embedded into patriarchal-based belief systems. Two participants in the film, Raheel Raza and Fahima Hashim, mention how they themselves spoke out against such cultural practices as FGM, child marriage, rape, and honor killing and were condemned because of it. Speaking up against such injustices should instead become politically correct and include people from both genders standing up together against these abuses.

 

In the countries, where culture is politicized, where violence is considered as a cultural norm, and where it is prohibited to go against it, one voice can be shut down easily, but many voices cannot. Those who dare to speak up are either not heard or cannot live in their own countries such as the nine women in the film. These nine women do challenge the politics and talk about political correctness, but they do live in fear of going back to their own countries. Besides the nine women in the film,  MalalaYousafzai is one example of a very young and brave girl who spoke out even though she knew how dangerous it could be for her and it nearly cost her her life. Now she cannot go back to her country. If we were to have more than one Malala, Raheel, Zainab, Nazanin, and the other women who were in the film, there would be less fear of challenging political correctness. The perpetuators may be able to shoot one person, but when there are many women along with many supportive men calling out for their rights together, their voices would have more power and the attackers would have less power.

 

Moreover, one of the biggest strengths of this film is the way the nine women join together and discuss difficult honor-related topics from different perspectives. Their sharing shed light on those taboo subjects which had been kept in the dark by their societies but each of the women dared to bring them out into the open. This kind of togetherness is what can empower women to get united and together take a stand, because when they are alone, their voices are hardly heard.

 

We live in collective societies, where people like to follow the crowd mentality whether right or wrong. For instance, when Jasvinder’s sister was unhappy in her marriage, her fear of dishonoring the family made her choose to die rather than get a divorce, even though Jasvinder supported her. Had more people supported her, she might have not taken her own life and Jasvinder would not have been disowned by her family. The norm is not to go against the collective idea that has been created by generations of men and followed blindly until now.

 

In conclusion, political correctness is one of the main challenges  that puts up massive barriers and obstacles for women to raise their voices. Political correctness can be so dangerous as to be life threatening, leading a woman to kill herself or be killed, or be forced to leave her country and live in a safer place to be able to raise her voice from there against it. Nevertheless, if a group of people come together, then their unified voices could become as powerful as the opposing voices, and eventually more powerful, which could give hope for everybody to be safe and still raise their voices against injustice and abuse.