Former minister for information and broadcasting, and former minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhry recently made some very sexist remarks about Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. Social media users, regardless of political allegiance, rose to the occasion and defended her against his blatant sexism and misogyny.
On April 19, Chaudhry posted an old interview from Khar’s last appointment as foreign minister which was in 2011. She was not only the youngest person but also the first woman to have held the position in Pakistan’s history. In his tweet, Chaudhry insulted her intelligence and credibility, attaching it to her “Berkens”.
“When you appoint a low IQ women whose only claim to fame is her Berkin bags and expensive eye shades such blunders ll become a norm, hope ll get rid of this lot sooner than later #ImportedGovernmentNamzanzoor [sic],” he tweeted.
The former minister faced immediate backlash from netizens regardless of their political affiliation — some social media users specifically mentioned that they were PTI supporters and did not endorse these claims, calling them “unbecoming” and “unacceptable.” On the contrary, the users called Khar “articulate” and “one of the best foreign ministers our county has had”, asking Chaudhry to apologise.
Several users found it necessary to remind Chaudhry of former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s “chewing non-responsiveness” and “unnecessary sniggering” when he was called out for anti-Semitism following a comment he made about Israel having “deep pockets” during his interview with CNN.
The former minister must not have checked his archives before posting because netizens were quick to retrieve an old tweet of his from 2012 where he said Khar could “make it to the PM house.”
Chaudhry’s “sexist mindset” was called out by Twitter users who said if the argument was really about questioning her intelligence, it could’ve been backed up by her comments instead of “a misogynistic reference to her appearance.”
Numerous people rose to simply defend Khar, saying the video accomplishes the opposite of what Chaudhry intended, displaying her “high IQ caliber” and “impressive” tackling of “provocative questions” instead.
This user simply called the tweet “embarrassing.”
It is 2022 and men still refuse to look past a woman’s appearance, ignoring their minds and capabilities. If Chaudhry wanted to insult Khar as a politician and her performance as foreign minister, he should have done just that. Judge her on her performance, not the value of her clothes and appearance.
The same judgment does not apply when it comes to male politicians, which shows how this misogynistic treatment does not deem women competent enough to take seriously. It was, however, refreshing to see a great number of netizens stand up and defend Khar — and rightfully so — not just based on her comments in the video but also her career as foreign minister.
Chaudhry needs to look at women as people before insulting their gender and making assumptions — there’s no place for the outdated misogyny here.