Sana Javed was heckled at a cricket match — and that’s not cool

Sana Javed attended a Pakistan Super League (PSL) match between the Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans on Sunday to support her husband Shoaib Malik. However, at the stadium, the actor was met with spectators chanting Sania Mirza’s name — whom Malik separated from earlier this year.

The video has elicited mixed reactions from netizens — some criticising the behaviour, others claiming she “deserved” it over vague rumours of infidelity, ones that have certainly never been proven let alone addressed by any of the people involved.

It needs to be said — heckling someone isn’t the answer. Bullying isn’t going to correct the alleged mistakes of any one person or reprimand them, nor will it heal the purported victim. All it does is cause an individual stress in the moment, and allow random people to release their aggression about a situation they had no part in — that too to no avail.

What Javed faced was not okay. There is a time, place and certain etiquette required when critiquing public figures, and bullying at a sporting event is not an ideal move.

Yet, in this entire scenario, what remains most interesting is that Javed has faced more bullying and heckling — online and in person — than Malik has, because men and women don’t face the same societal pressure or reactions, especially in public situations.

Why is it that women often become the punching bags for audiences? We’re not saying Malik should be bullied, however, there have been no videos of people chanting Javed’s former spouse’s name when Malik walked into the stadium. While Malik has just the butt of some tongue-in-cheek jokes after their marriage and has been patted on the back as if three marriages are a stellar accomplishment, Javed’s character has been continuously slandered.

This incident reflects deep-rooted societal biases and gender norms that disproportionately place blame and scrutiny on women, particularly in matters related to relationships. There often exists a double standard when it comes to judging the actions of men and women. Men may be perceived to be simply moving on, while women are more likely to be labelled negatively, such as being called “homewreckers” or “husband stealers.”

Furthermore, traditional gender roles have placed women in the role of caretakers and upholders of family “honour”, while men are often seen as the ones with more freedom and agency. This can often lead to harsher judgment and criticism of women.

It all also boils down to internalised misogyny — some individuals, regardless of gender, may harbour subconscious acceptance and internalisation of sexist attitudes and stereotypes, leading them to judge and criticise women more harshly than men in situations like this one.

Resorting to bullying as a means of expressing disapproval or seeking justice only exacerbates the situation. Bullying individuals, particularly women, perpetuates a harmful cycle of public shaming and negativity. Instead, constructive dialogue and support are crucial for navigating situations and promoting healthier attitudes towards accountability among public figures.

Taking jokes off the internet and into real life isn’t okay and public bullying, especially without being privy to the truth about someone’s personal life is definitely the wrong approach.

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