Another week, another couple of celebs put their well-shod feet in their pretty mouths. Why do we care? Because this is the world as we know it now.
Was it just me, or did you think, ‘now that’s a mashup I’ll get around to listening to later’, every time the words “Billo” and “Baby Shark” popped up on the screen? Just me? Really? Weren’t you kind of hoping for a viral autotuned ‘Rasoday Mein Kaun Tha’ type take on this? Well, it’s a good idea and someone needs to do it, NOW.
So Abrar ul Haq, whom we all admire because no one quite writes and sings Pinglish lyrics like he does, had #opinions on modern-day motherhood. While addressing – we assume - the guys he got together to accompany him to his casual friend Billo’s home, Abrar reminisced about the simple days when mothers recited holy words to their kids instead of songs. Now, women queue up Baby Shark on a phone and prop it against their tubs of formula and calls themselves mothers. The times, they have a-changed, everyone, and Abrar ul Haq wants you to pay attention.
Okay, so then Twitter jumped on the clip that was going viral, and then Nadia Hussain got angry, and hell hath no fury like a Nadia Hussain triggered, amirite? And then the internet once again became divided on the issue as the internet does, with Friends of Abrar rallying on one side, and Friends of Nadia rallying on the other.
Ok, honestly the whole thing is so ridiculous that time looking up who said what is time wasted, but lots of people did not appreciate modern-day mothers being called out. The reasons ranged from ‘what’s wrong with a little screen time’, to ‘mothers really need all the help they can get as they juggle their infinite responsibilities’, to ‘why is it only a mother’s responsibility to raise healthy citizens of the world?’.
Dads around world were silent on the subject, as they were napping, probably.*
Then there were the people who couldn’t see the problem with what Abrar said. Mothers should in fact spend more time shaping their children’s malleable brains with words of wisdom and spirituality instead of putting on Baby Shark every time they want to cook/clean/meet a deadline/make a presentation to NASA.
And of course, everyone neglected to see the real issue: everyone who shared Abrar ul Haq’s video, calling it the most hilarious thing they’ve ever seen needs to be schooled about humor ASAP. Perhaps our Single National Curriculum (SNC) can include a section on things that are funny and things that are not, so Pakistan can finally get on the same page about the important stuff.
And really, we needed this whole Billo Shark incident like we need the Sadaf-Shehroz double act to coach us on how to live in harmony with our partners and in disharmony with infidels. Actually, these two should really team up with Abrar and work on something instructive for wives and mothers. Then they can all teach it as part of a naya curriculum.
The other reason this whole thing was kind of underwhelming though it became such a big deal is that not even a few days before this, we were outraged about Amna Ilyas kicking the sugar out of some poor kid’s head. Yes, it was tasteless, violence against any of the 50+ genders (insert mind: blown emoji) is not okay, and Amna Ilyas really needs to check what she says to people and the ads she picks and the ads she spoofs. She also needs to do some kind of internet cleanup because there isn’t a single story there that makes her look good.
She also needs to fire her stylist for letting her wear a denim tuxedo in August. We’re all for all-denim looks, but it’s summer FFS.
At the end of the day, we say the things we say, and post the things we post, and have the opinions that we have. And yes, while it is a public figure’s responsibility to watch their words and actions carefully, it is also our responsibility to choose just what we will become enraged over. Rally against the systemic failure to establish satisfactory policies regarding the safety of all genders, their education, and care for their health. Be enraged about the lack of a basic infrastructure which leads to the country never really being out of its ‘startup’ phase. Raise your voice against the people who perpetuate and support the patriarchy.
Hold the over-privileged accountable. Start a petition for a reality show where Khalil-ur-Rehman, Sadaf Kanwal and Abrar ul Haq have to build a boat to escape a deserted island.
We can call it Friend Ship.
*We realize there are hands-on dads and dads that work hard 7 days a week to make ends meet, but let’s just acknowledge that the burden of physical parenthood usually falls on mothers in all cultures.