I recently came across a news clip going viral on social media about how a man in Multan married two women on the same day. Two brides, one groom and three very happy families. The absurdity of this act made me question the standards that the media has set for something to be considered a news piece worth sharing. A very popular TV channel felt no shame in broadcasting the open celebration of polygamy. 

The video clip showed a man in his late twenties being hailed as a hero for marrying two of his cousins; his paternal aunt and paternal uncle’s daughters. The reason he was being considered a hero was because owing to his heroic gesture his cousins could get married off and didn’t have to go through the humiliation of not finding a suitable match. His cousins, the brides, when interviewed, revealed that they also did not object to this arrangement. His father shamelessly announced that he was very happy with the marriage(s) and that the arrangement would allow for his family to grow.

I don’t know where to start. From the fact that cousin marriages are not suitable for biological reasons –to the fact that this absurd arrangement will create problems for both the women in the future – to the fact that these women had been brainwashed by society in such a way that they did not object to such a blatant violation of their rights as human beings – this union can be challenged for a number of things.

Women grow up to the idea of marrying someone who loves them. However, our society has taken out all the love and emotion from the concept. It has been reduced to a mere instrument of producing children to keep the family line going. The fact that women are treated as cattle is what infuriates me even more. However, since the state religion allows polygamy, not much can be done or said. In the eyes of the law, this incident was perfectly in line with the rules and regulations of the state. No rights were violated since no rights were given to these women in the first place.

This very ordinary man was being showered with love and affection by his relatives for helping out his aunt and uncle. It were as if the families were celebrating the transfer of a burden to a valiant young man who, out of pity, took in two women who in any other part of the world would have had enough opportunities to support themselves without having to marry a man.

The fact that the women did not object to it reveals that women in our society are so oppressed that they end up accepting the oppression. This, topped with the word of God, is the perfect brew that men need to further dominate society. When God has allowed for a man to marry four women, who are we to stand in the way? These women, out of the fear of angering God, have therefore committed to a lifetime of misery.

The fact that this preposterous incident was being aired on a very popular TV channel shows that the media, just to get more viewers, can stoop down to levels where it will broadcast anything without analyzing the implications that it would carry. Surely, there are other households now that are considering such absurdities. Pakistan has no shortage of male chauvinists who feel no shame in snatching women’s rights from them. By airing such a story, the TV channel has indirectly told other people that it is ‘okay’ to go ahead with such lunacies.

We live in a society where women are oppressed and treated as inferiors. The media needs to play its role in changing this situation instead of worsening it.