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An open letter to some ‘poor men’

Zara Maqbool

Dear poor man,

Every day you share countless jokes and memes and Tik Tok videos with your fellow men about the submissive life you lead, how you are conditioned to take orders by the woman in your life, and how you are dominated by your wife or partner. They are meant to be funny, or at least that’s the excuse you probably give to yourself for forwarding them several times on various WhatsApp groups. This humorous sharing leaves you in stitches and presents a rare softer side of you when a short while back you had probably hurled profanities at your wife or slapped her face. Your wife or partner probably tries her best to laugh at the joke made at her expense, just relieved to see you smiling and laughing, almost making her fall for your humanity once more. All these jokes depict that you are part of a clan of scared husbands or partners who adapt to their better halves’ demands and lead a submissive life.

Are you kidding me? Do you find chronic humour in this make-believe world you have created amongst the brotherhood? And if you do, then it means there is a possibility that you are perhaps unconsciously open to fairness. If you can accept humour in giving more power to the woman in this fantastical funny world, then perhaps in reality you can treat them as equal.

Who are you? Are you the controlling demanding stereotypical male who believes that a woman is meant to submit to you? Or are you the man laughing out loud who finds joy in the fantasy of being controlled by her? Or are you simply a conflicted exhausted man who is tired of this dominance that comes with the toxic burden of controlling another person that you inherited and through these jokes you aspire for someone else to call the shots and make life decisions? Maybe you are tired of being the flag bearer of misogyny and patriarchy.

Many of you extend this ill-founded theme to a topic of conversation for your social interactions and portray how you are a Bechara (poor) man who jumps when the woman says jump. Isn’t it ironic that you accept the woman to be independent and have an equal and a higher standing than you through these jokes but in reality, will recoil with the thought and call her arrogant and full of herself and so on? You will make not-so-funny jokes about how you wish that a woman could wear the pants in the house and pay your bills but when in reality she starts earning and starts standing up to you, you cannot digest this and leave no stone unturned to put her down.

Who are you? Whom should she trust? Are you the man amongst your friends, obediently seeking permission from her for staying a bit longer at a party and who loudly announces that she calls all the shots in this fabricated reality? Or are you the man who in the privacy of her safe space punches her hard on her back or tells her that her independence has made her disobedient and arrogant and it’s an ugly colour she wears?

Choose, would you? So, she can choose if she should feel safe when she sees your laughing face even if it’s at the expense of a distorted reality of her. Or should she trust your angry face and your controlling nature that leaves her choked, fighting for a few breaths all the time? All the time.

If you can’t choose then let her. Stop being an imposter. Stop finding humour in alterations and ill-founded truths. She can laugh with you once in a while but she cannot continue to participate in an illusion that makes her put her guards down before the next punch comes.

This practice makes me wonder if the good that possibly resides in you cannot bear the evil that you practice. Thus, you like to present this false self so you can tell yourself that you care for your significant others in this parody of obedience. It probably helps you to sleep better and makes you inclusive with those who are gentlemen and would neither crack misogynist jokes nor disrespect a woman. There are many out there unlike you.

So please try another way to live your lie. Because these repeated jokes and memes and videos are unbearable. Stick to your circles but don’t include us in these messed-up, not at all funny pleasantries.

Remember all this the next time you forward a TikTok video. Ask yourself who you are when you are sharing them; the man who can treat a woman with respect and care or are you an imposter who cannot tolerate his guilt if hopefully there is any?


A not so amused woman of your world.