Everyday a new video, photograph, quote, news piece, or meme circulates social media and becomes the “trending topic.” Recently, a video of Pakistani cricket star, Shahid Afridi, was made public and became the topic of discussion all over social media.
Shahid Afridi, whilst giving an interview on a Pakistani news media channel, made a comment about how the women of Peshawar, Pakistan (his home town) were better off cooking in the kitchen, instead of trying out for sports like women’s cricket. My first reaction: “He is such a jerk!” I was and am absolutely outraged that a man of his position would say something like that!
Shahid Afridi, sometimes known as “Lala” or “Boom Boom Afridi” is a an internationally renowned Pakistani cricketer. He has been playing cricket for Pakistan’s national team for over a decade and has been a favorite, especially amongst the youth, for his good looks and style of hitting 4’s and 6’s (4 point hits and 6 point hits) in a match…usually when the team is doing not-so-well. He comes in and makes the game look so easy, scores a bunch of points, restores peoples’ faith in their team and leads them to victory. Good for you Afridi, you make Pakistanis proud. You make Pakistani men, women, boys, and girls proud.
Shahid Afridi, a renowned international cricketer
I am writing this blog after being inspired by a post on a Pakistani news website, written by a Pakistani woman as a direct letter to Afridi. It is titled: “Why I Won’t Be Cheering For Shahid Afridi Anymore.” So, I need to vent out my feelings to Shahid Afridi and the world, therefore, I am doing the same thing–writing a letter to Afridi. (I hope that somehow, in someway, he reads it someday).
Dear Shahid Afridi,
You are the hero of Pakistan, the hero of cricket (the most popular sport in Pakistan). You bring joy to a nation that has a lot going on right now, a nation that is doing a lot of growing up right now. While I am very happy and proud that you help Pakistan win cricket matches, I think that you need to understand that with fame and heroism comes great responsibility. You become the face of the nation and you become the person young boys and girls look up to. You are the person the youth look up to. You are the new and current sensation.
Do you know how many young boys want to be a batsman or a bowler like you? Do you know how many boys want to have hair like yours? Do you know how many boys want to make their family and country proud like you do? Do you know how many boys want to be you?
Do you know what this means? This means that whatever you do, they will want to do. Whatever you encourage them to do and however you encourage them to think, they will want to do that and think in that way.
So, when you go on a TV channel for an interview and the anchor recounts, with extreme pride, that the girls of your hometown, Peshawar, are trying out for cricket and how everyone is so proud that women of Peshawar and Pakistan are entering the sports world (and that Pakistan is continuing to progress), you DO NOT snub him by declaring that “our women have good taste in their hands” and, thus, belong in and should remain in the kitchen.
Shahid Afridi, who are you to take the limelight away from the women of Peshawar and Pakistan? Who are YOU to declare that the women of Pakistan are better off in the kitchen of their homes? YOU, Shahid Afridi, have no right to speak of what a woman can and can not do. The women of Pakistan can decide themselves how they want to represent Pakistan. They can choose if they want to be a teacher, a doctor, a secretary, a politician, an engineer, an accountant, an entrepreneur, an actress, an author, an athlete, or stay home (and cook/clean/do the laundry, or do nothing at all).