Dear Mangobaaz,

I’ll be honest, I like you guys a lot better than, well…some of your competitors. But I recently read something on your website which made me uncomfortable and was, to put it bluntly, quite problematic. Let me be clear – I don’t doubt your intentions. I’m sure you meant well. However, the reason I am writing this is because, while I understand that you are an entertainment website just trying to move up in the world of click-bait and short attention spans, you also have quite a large following and, in my view, that puts you in a position to exercise some level of responsibility because you have the power to shape opinions. This is the post in question:

Mangobaaz post
Source: mangobaaz.com

For the sake of argument, let’s for now not even take into account the factual validity of the events under discussion and jump directly to the phrasing of the title. In a society that already harbours warped notions of “manliness”, I feel like this title is further distorting the idea of a “real man” by attributing, what are being perceived as, his positive actions to his gender rather than to him as a human being. How do his actions make him more of a “man”? Because he is the knight in shining armour swooping in to rescue a damsel in distress? If his intention was to support this woman in living a happier life after what she had been through, then why doesn’t that just make him a good human being? Perhaps the title could’ve been something like “This Pakistani Guy Proved Good Human Beings Exist By…” I just don’t see what we achieve by perpetuating these antiquated notions of “real” men and women or how his actions qualify him for the title of “true manliness”.

What is true manliness, anyway? For many men, the definition of being “a real man” means demonstrating their superiority to women in various ways, including violence. So, I can see that maybe the title of your post is providing an alternate definition for “real men” in an attempt to reframe masculinity in terms of protecting women. However, to make your case in this definition of masculinity you are relying on the inherently chauvinistic idea of men being the self-appointed knights in shining armour who use the institution of marriage to save “damaged” women. This also perpetuates the concept of marriage being the solution to all of a girl’s problems, no matter how complex the nature of these problems – an idea which is so prevalent in our society and one so many girls are brought up to believe. Let’s be real – marriage is not the solution and we should stop treating it as such. However, that’s a discussion for another time. To wrap this up, I’d like to quote Dana Bolger, co-founder of a campaign against sexual violence on campus from an article I recently read, “The whole idea that there’s a ‘real man’ out there is ludicrous. I mean, what’s an ‘unreal man’? There’s no value in gender conformity and we shouldn’t elevate it as an ideal.”

That is all.

Sincerely,

A concerned reader

14 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mangobaaz on “True Manliness””

  1. This story makes me both sad and mad at the same time poor girl, what she needs is counseling and time to heal not being forced to marry

    1. I completely agree Aicha. Though, it doesn’t seem like she was forced into it from the story. Just hope she’s found some sort of happiness..

  2. Standing ovation for your little article here sis! I’m quite worried too that the girl actually have to be in the premises of her abuser, which doesn’t make her life less miserable. The term manliness is another thing… which you pointed out. What about the justice to serve for the abuse that happened, does marrying a girl make it square??? Gosh, the world and patriarchy!

    1. Thank you so much! That’s exactly what I wanted to point out. I’m so glad you see eye-to-eye with me on this but, of course, not surprised at all 🙂

  3. I always thought why we bloggers can’t raise voice for things which are happening in the world around us and bring change….thank you for being such a voice..i completely agree with you on this post….

    1. I agree 🙂 I feel like it’s also important to write about things that matter on a social level. I’m so glad you feel the same way!

  4. This title is shockingly horrific “proved his manliness”. I can’t believe people think I like this.
    Your point is spot on, no man is manly for doing something that is human.

  5. This is just so disgusting. How this is allowed or even thought of. I get that she wants to save her marriage, but isn’t there a period of time they should be apart before they can get back together without getting married? Something like 3-5 years? Or I may be mistaken….But going and doing that just to go back to an abusive husband…It’s sad…I wish she was stronger than that…

  6. I don’t know how I feel about this, after something like this happens this girl needs justice, space, she needs to heal not to be married off especially in that family. It’s great that the man stepped up in a way cause I can understand in Pakistan the way people react to such things. How this girl will be perceived. This is very sad. May Allah grant her happiness, keep her safe, healthy and help heal her. (www.beautywithzainy.com and http://www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

  7. Its always heart dropping to read incidences as this that take place on almost a daily basis around the world. And to know that it has been increasing in my home country, it hurts and saddens me even more. My husband follows Mangobaaz at times, I should definitely ask him whether He had come across this. I do agree with your point of view as it is legit.

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