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Why The Prejudice Against Female Drivers?

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By Yusra Hasan:

Every single friend of mine drives, Its been years for some of them. But I can’t drive before 18. Accepted, you care about my safety or lack thereof. I get it.

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But hey! Wait a minute, my 13 year old brother can! Just hold it right there? What sort of surreal ability does he exhibit which I clearly lack? Oh wait, i know, he’s a boy! Voila! There you go! Answered and justified.

We both are your children, you’re obliged to be equal. The unfairness of this little thing pinched me a bit too hard. Fine, hands down, made me cry. Hard. Well, its important to me. Bite me.

Now don’t get me wrong, My life is pretty much great, Alhamdulillah. It was just one of those times when I simply failed to comprehend a certain something. Yes, our Lord made us differently abled. We’re different. Agreed. But definitely not unequal. Its not a hierarchy. You’re not above me or below me, we’re all equal, just different. Is it that hard to figure?

This kind of male-chauvinistic mentality is drilled into us, and I’m not just talking about the boys, I’m talking about the girls too. I’ve been told that there are certain things I’ll be good at and certain things i wont be good at since before I could spell them. So much for being “supposedly” modern.

The moment I talk about driving a car, I’m laughed at by my cousins, and younger ones at that. They tell me how that’s not even possible. They find it funny that I’m passionate about something which is not made for me. We obviously don’t share mutual views on that. But can I really blame them? They’re kids, they believe what they’re told. And this ability to mould kids is misemployed to repeat a mistake in a similar fashion generation after generation, a bit of a hobby for our oh-so-sophisticated-human-society. Their judgement has nothing to do with my ability. It’s been programmed into their brains. They’re jammed with much of this rubbish. And even girls accept this! They accept this as the truth! I say what? I’m flabbergasted. Why fellow female comrades? why? How can you accept something like this? It’s so much so that, I myself, even before setting to drive ever, doubt my ability to be good at it. Why? Well, I’ve been told I’ll not be.

How sick is that? You’re playing with minds and it works because we are what we believe. Our society functions like this illegal factory producing flawed devices which in turn ruin the whole machine. The worst part is, in order to set something right, you need to recognize whats wrong. And that happy realization my friends, is far fetched at the moment. We don’t even know we’re wrong. Well most of us at least. Its depressing, really.

And it’s eating me at the moment. Now I’m not trying to act like a hardcore feminist. No! Is not judging abilities simply on the basis of gender too much to ask for? Is the little request to pass a verdict on my much-doubted driving skills after you’ve actually seen me drive too much to ask? I think otherwise.

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  1. Ismat Hena

    Nicely written, and yes there actually is this stereotype that women cant type, with which I very much disagree.

    1. Yusra Hasan

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. Raj

    Maybe it has more to do with the fact you come from a religious family (and a religion which doesn’t score well on gender equality), than being a woman. I think religions suck and that is one of the causes for our traditional , primitive society with its gender-unequal views.

    Now coming to why they stop you from driving, they claim that in the name of safety. But what about your younger brother? What about his safety? Is he disposable? Sadly yes since he is male and he is being trained to face dangers and take risks on behalf of the society. He will be sent out in the big bad world to earn a living and to contribute to the society, else he won’t be allowed to get married. Driving is just one minor aspect. Driving has its risks, such as being involved in an accident. But in the future, he may even join some dangerous profession like the military and nobody will stop him saying it’s dangerous. Or he may do something relatively benign like working in an office. But that too will take a toll on his physical and mental health, thus killing him sooner. The society wants him to sacrifice himself, but apparently it worries about the safety of women and discourages women from doing all the things I’ve mentioned above

    So before you victimize just yourself, spare a few words for your younger brother and write out what the society expects from him and how it will treat him. You both are the victims of our backward society, not just you.

    1. Yusra Hasan

      Well, firstly, I would like to make one thing very clear, it definitely does NOT have to do more with your “assumption” that I hail from a religious family. In fact, i can actually call that a prejudiced assumption considering the fact that I never mentioned anything related to religion. Secondly, I would like to beckon your attention to the fact that my elder sister drives, (pretty well, actually) and has complete access to driving. So much for being “assumed” backward?
      Also, I’ll be learning driving next year after my boards and well if not obvious, DRIVE to college. So being backward (as you harsly describe) or traditional has nothing to do with it. I wrote this purely against the general assumption that females are considered bad drivers which i find a very annoying yet extremely common stereotype.
      So when I tell you that they let my brother drive (only a bit though) and not me right now, its because I’m a girl and they don’t trust my ability to drive, which i find very as I said, annoying.
      Anyway, the way you speak, I think its safe to assume that you do not know much about Islam. I would just say one thing, in order to judge something, you have to get your facts right atleast. So i advise you to have a scientific and rational approach, read the Quran and then judge as you may. But please don’t judge Islam or any other religion/thing/person for that matter based on the general/common assumption. They could be wrong. Find out for yourself. I don’t think religion is the problem, The way we interpret it is the problem. WE are the problem. 🙂

      I sympathise with the position of the male population too. But I wouldn’t call myself or you a victim, We’re all supposed to be fighters here. Society is well, in a lot of ways highly flawed, but that’s exactly why we need to continue striving for what’s right.
      You know, that’s why i take solace in the fact that this world, if you actually look at it, is so very temporary. (but that’s just me!)
      Anyway, enough said. 🙂

    2. Raj

      – I speculated that it could be religion because you made this remark “My life is pretty much great, *Alhamdulillah*.” which means “Praise the islamic lord”. So I was lead to believe you were somewhat religious and that your religion was relevant since many islamic countries forbid women from driving. So my speculation was not unjustified. but you have clarified this point, so no issues. (PS: I am an atheist and I don’t hold religion in high regard)

      – If your elder sister has access to driving then why are you making this about gender?

      – But in the 1st para you said “Accepted, you care about my safety or lack thereof” and then contrasted that with the fact that your younger brother is allowed to drive. Wasn’t this about your safety and his safety?

      – I have read the quran (far more than most muslims) and I find it highly unscientific, irrational and vague. Thus I do have the right to judge islam and I am not prejudiced , since prejudiced means pre-judging.
      And do you feel that Saudi Arabia is wrong in interpreting islam? Why so? What if their interpretation is right and yours is wrong?
      I would love to discuss these issues with you; maybe you’d want to write an article on why you feel islam is a valid religion which is in line with modern progressive values.

      – Except for the 1st couple of lines, my comment had nothing to do with religion. It was about how women’s safety is over-hyped and men’s safety is disregarded. It really didn’t have much to do with islam or any religion. And you haven’t addressed that point at all

  3. Nidhi

    It is something that shouldn’t be accepted by females in any country and recent news reports are showing how various women in Saudi Arabia are coming out of there shells and learning how to drive and this going against the so called ‘rules’.
    Oppressing women in this male dominated world is nothing new but letting the water flow over the head is just pointless.
    Well done Yusra!:)

    1. Yusra Hasan

      Thanks! 🙂

  4. Sameeksha Jaits

    Hello Miss Hasan.
    Was just going through your article, apart from the stuff you’ve related to in the disquisition (Im pretty certain you must have been eulogized enough by people around you on that 🙂 ). I appreciated the content, your choice of words. Which adds total accuracy to it. Good going lady!

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