‘There is no space for women in Pakistan’s Twitter space’

In this illustrated picture taken on September 27, 2013, the silhouette of a person holding a mobile phone against a background projected with the Twitter logo. —Reuters/Kacper Pempel

According to Twitterati, a Pakistani female, in the 12-hour Twitter space that started late Thursday night, Pakistani Twitter users tried to discuss the meaning of feminism, but eventually came to “no useful conclusions” because the space was ultimately dominated by men.

Discussions are conducted on “Twitter Spaces”-this feature allows users to have real-time audio conversations on Twitter.

On Thursday night, more than 1,500 people joined the space of Twitter user Hanzala Tayyab, titled, “Talk hard with Hanzala. Let’s talk about feminism”.

In this space, some Twitter users tried to discuss the influence of feminism in the country. The host also invited several popular feminists and feminist activists on Twitter to join the discussion and share their views.

The conversation started with the Minar-e-Pakistan incident, where a female TikToker was attacked by 400 men in broad daylight. Although multiple participants in the space condemned the incident, others appealed to the victims and referred to the incident as a “propaganda stunt.” They tried to prove how the victim, Ayesha Akram, was a TikToker who “made a request.”

The user talked about how Akram invited people to the meetup and greeted herself personally, so she had to “host an event” to get more fans.

This criticism was reserved by other users in the field.

In addition, users continue to discuss the concept of feminism and the degree of freedom of Pakistani women. In response, a man who claimed to be Javaid Sheikh on Twitter started talking about the “victim card” he said women used.Some participants told the host that despite his “constantly acrimonious feminism”, the host continued to provide space for that particular user Geographic TV.

According to reports, the user also sent an offensive tweet, which aroused strong opposition from women. Participants said that Sheikh was angry at the response and left the space, but was invited by the host again to continue to oppose feminism.

After being accused of using the “victim card”, a female participant tried to introduce to the audience the hardships women often face in the space, outlining “men cannot understand everything that women go through.” Another woman added that men “have no right to deny women’s trauma by belittling women’s suffering”.

However, according to the participants, the conversation was quickly replaced by men, who allegedly began to cut off the women speaking in the space and “control” them.

Participants reported that the space host Hanzala told them “Calm down all of you” and deleted and muted women who were responding to a man’s “defamatory questions and comments” about women in the country.

No women's space on Twitter Spaces in Pakistan

Participants said that the moderator was also named by some for leading a discussion led mainly by “problematic” men.

Towards the end of the discussion, a spokesperson reportedly proposed a “solution” requiring women to “obey their limits” or “leave the country if they are unwilling to follow Islam”.

The user said that he added, “Women are welcome to leave the country and go to “greener pastures, because Pakistan is an Islamic country and will continue to be so”.

The discussion was ultimately deemed “futility,” and Twitter users continued to hold other spaces to discuss what happened in the original space.

According to participants, while many people continue to discuss the correct course of action, women in other Twitter spaces discuss how they can be suppressed and abused again.

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