June 10, 2019

It was like all the other morning. I woke up and checking news feed of my Facebook account, one of my nieces has shared a video with all kind of words to convince her friends that this video has to be banned and police should handcuff the director and the actor. Curiously enough I clicked.

It was so disgusting that it took me three pauses to finish it. Still I did watch it, just to know how far this misogynistic actor could go in the end. 

The video shows that a girl is smoking, sitting alone in a park. People around her of all ages are gazing at her constantly and whispering how shameless she is that being a girl how carelessly she is smoking cigarette. On the contrary, on another table, a group of boys are smoking cigarette except the ‘hero’ who is ‘preaching’ later on showing path of the ‘holy road’ to all the ‘sinful’ women of the world.

He was bursting out with wrath that this girl has the audacity (according to him) of smoking in public place. Being intolerable by the girl’s ‘bravery’ in public, he went to her to confront and teach the lesson that “smoking is not a problem but a girl’s smoking in public is a problem”. The video says, “A man can smoke in public places but a woman cannot.”

To teach her with the burdened ‘responsibility’ eternally given to him by his ‘ancestors’ from heaven perhaps, the ‘hero’ boy showed how powerless a girl can be since she cannot walk in the park “shirtless” but he can. I wonder he must be a Salman Khan fan!

Therefore, the story shows that the ‘hero’ is unable to tame the girl. Here he takes out his mighty sword — mobile phone. He made a video of the girl and spread it in the internet to share it with his fellow warriors with a ‘holy’ message that whenever and wherever they see a girl smoking, they should make a video of it to make it viral to put those girls in shame.

This ‘hero-made’ video became viral and it shows that young boys started making videos of girls smoking in public. This video is named Boishommo which means inequality.

How funny is it and equally disgusting that a woman’s certain habit is not normal where men is nurturing the same habit since decades yet left unnoticed to make it a not-a-normal act.

Patriarchy has gone that far that whatever a woman does going beyond the society’s settled rules for her is not normal and approval of patriarchy is an utmost need.  What is wrong with this video is irrespective of gender, smoking is injurious to health and environment.

Nowadays, to many youngsters, smoking is a sign of smartness, irrespective of gender. But, does that make smoking less harmful? Definitely NO!

If the society is not disturbed by the men’s smoking, if the people regardless of gender and age in the park are not disturbed by the men’s smoking, why women’s smoking is a big issue? And, why putting women in shame for smoking is a ‘social responsibility’?

From Dhaka’s street to women’s own home, no place is safe for a woman. And through this video the director seemed troubled by the patriarchal heavy brain that wanted to make a change in Bangladeshi society where women are privileged (according to him), as they have fixed seats in the local bus!

Alas! When men are harassing women in street, work place and where not and women are victimized by rape, harassment, teased for cloth, body shape, makeup or no-makeup, such video is nothing but another way of inspiring patriarchal mindset against women.

If you are really intended to change the society and make it more flexible not only for women, but also for everyone regardless of gender, cast and religion, change yourself first. Before you become a ‘hero’ and start ‘preaching’ about what is ‘normal’ and what a woman should do and don’t, be a human being.

I would prefer to prescribe this director to do his research on the dominant prejudiced point of views around and work to abolish that. That’s how you would be able to abolish patriarchy and abolish the heaviest of burdens of the world – this director and hero!

Disclaimer: Smoking is injurious to health



Nazmun Naher Shishir

Communication Executive, Films4Peace Foundation 

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