By Shazia Mirza
I came to the US a week ago to do a show for a group of Pakistani doctors, both men and women.
I was first received by the women who took me out to lunch. They were very welcoming and like a lot of women, dying to tell me their life stories and about all the men that annoy them. One woman said, “I am a doctor, but I’m not in control of all the decisions in my life. I can do what I want most of the time, but I’m not totally free. If I’m honest, my husband does control me ultimately.”
Another woman tells me, there are three types of doctors wives. There are the trophy wives, the uneducated wives, and the doctors married to doctors. The trophy and uneducated wives feel like they’ve hit the jackpot. They are ‘married to a doctor’ – wow! But, the reality is that underneath it, the husband then controls the woman with money and sex. Then the woman has no rights and is unhappy.
They kept using the word emancipated a lot. Also describing me as an emancipated woman, which made me feel uncomfortable because the last time I heard that word was when Mariah Carey sung it in one of her songs and started taking all her clothes off.
Our lunch conversation ended with one of these female doctors saying, “It’s hard being a woman in the US.”
The next night there was a charity auction, to raise money for a kidney unit in Pakistan. But being rich Pakistanis, no one was bidding. These are people that will drench their trophy wives in gold, parade them round and boast vulgarly about how much they earn but then not put their hand up to start some charity going.
It was embarrassing to watch but when no one was bidding people turned to whoever was sitting next to them and said, “Typical Pakistanis! ?????????? “
They had a range of keynote speakers who made long speeches about the importance of charity and the need to help the poor in Pakistan.
One woman who was the wife of a doctor started the auction, which consisted of diamond earrings and glittery handbags. She started her speech saying, “It’s really important being the wife of a doctor, people think we’re just wives but we have our importance too, it’s difficult but we play our role and we have responsibilities too.” There were murmurs of agreement.
I didn’t realise that being a wife was actually a profession.
I didn’t realise that being married to a man who is professionally more successful than you was an achievement.
If you are a woman who sees being married to a doctor as a badge of honour, don’t complain then, when you lose your freedom and are controlled by his power and money. You are simply there, as the famous saying goes, “To be a cook in the kitchen and a h***e in the bedroom”.
What I noticed most about this group of people was that although they had money, and their bank balances had grown, their minds had not expanded at the same rate. There wasn’t much intelligence beyond what they had learnt in physiology books, their lives hadn’t been manifested in much creativity and spontaneity.
This is why they remain judgmental and narrow minded; and very unattractive. Hugh Hefner – who looks like he’s just been dug up, to me, is more attractive than one of these Pakistani doctors.
To people brought up in the West like me, we are really not that impressed if some arrogant Pakistani man tries to chat me up with the line, “I’m a doctor …” So what?
I suffer from high self-esteem. So the fact that you think I’m going to be impressed because you are a doctor, really has no effect on me whatsoever.
Before I went on stage that night I said to the group of women, “Can you tell me what the audience is like?”
They said, “The men are all the same. Bald, big bellies, and all on Viagra.”
I might be in with a chance.
Shazia Mirza is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.