Imran Khan’s foot-in-mouth remarks over feminism draw ire

  • PTI chief says feminism movement has ‘contributed to degenerating motherhood’
  • Feminism for me is about freedom to choose, reacts ex-wife Jemima

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has drawn severe criticism on the social media after he said during a TV interview that he disagrees with the Western ‘feminist movement’.

Khan claimed that the movement has contributed to ‘degenerating’ motherhood.

The PTI chief’s remarks were deemed ‘anti-women’ and drew a social media backlash.

The Twitterati perceived such comments as highly ‘irresponsible’ and criticised Khan on his lack of knowledge of the ideology and movement.

Even Jemima Goldsmith, Imran’s ex-wife, responded to the comments. “Feminism for me is about freedom to choose,” she responded when asked on Twitter.

Reham Khan too reacted to the remarks, criticising PTI’s social media team. “Trolls associated with PTI rose to his defence, calling us dastardly feminists with a ‘Western agenda’ and insisting that feminism does indeed ruin the motherhood experience,” she said.

“Seems no one told Imran Khan ever what exactly feminism is. The man speaks out of his pre-conceived notions about just everything, without having even a shallow information about it let alone in-depth knowledge,” tweeted women rights activist Marvi Sirmed.

Senior journalist Abbas Nasir tweeted: “Imran Khan’s views on feminism show his utter lack of understanding of the issue. He should ensure he is better briefed or not speak on issues he has little knowledge and awareness of.”

Journalist and activist Bilal Farooqi wrote: “The feminism movement in the West has ‘degraded’ the role of a mother Imran Khan? Really?!”

“Feminists have never defraded motherhood, they have celebrated it. They have spoken on the rights of a mother, her need for daycares, maternity leaves, her reproductive health rights and the double burden she faces due to unpaid carework,” wrote another twitter user Aimen Bucha.

Activist Ammar Rashid said: “Feminism is literally what secured paid maternity leave for mothers in most of Europe and the world (so they could better care for their children), but I guess it’s more useful to spout ignorant anti-feminist rhetoric to pander to your conservative base.”

Khan was also accused of having lack of consideration for the gains (right to vote, run for office) of Women Suffrage Movement which also resulted in feminist movements across the globe demanding equal rights to life in a society.

“Feminism has never looked down on motherhood. Feminists have worked in every country to create paid leave and laws to protect mothers & safety nets so mothers dont leave work to care for kids. Educate yourself #ImranKhan @ImranKhanPTI,” tweeted Seraphina.

PTI chief’s political rival PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted a quotation of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in which he said, “No nation can rise to height of glory unless women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs.”

The PTI spokesperson refused to comment on Imran Khan’s controversial statement, saying that ‘he is unaware of such a statement made by the party chief’.