UN Women Pakistan recently introduced a campaign, #BeatMe that attempts to bring an unconventional twist to advocacy on women’s rights. In a compelling paradox, the campaign depicts a woman inviting a man to beat her but this time around at the things that she is good at. The objective here is to inspire women and reassure them of their strength and abilities that are often shunned upon and to shatter the stereotype that a woman is weak. The idea here is to portray a woman from being ‘beatable’ to being ‘unbeatable’.
Violence against girls and women is prevalent and not just in Pakistan but across the world. The campaign demands to end this violence against women that affects at least 1 in 3 girls and women globally.
The campaign appoints influential women from multiple walks of life that challenge their counterparts to beat them at their respective expertise. It also highlights the wonderful achievements that these women hold on to, globally.
What is interesting to note here is that the #BeatMe campaign juxtaposes every means of abuse against a strength of each women. By employing singer Meesha Shafi, verbal abuse is addressed as she challenges men to beat women with their voice. Similarly physical abuse is confronted by women mountaineers and athletes such as Samina Baig, who was the only Pakistani woman and the third Pakistani to reach the top of Mount Everest. Moreover, the message focuses on the strength of women no matter where they are from and challenges the misconception of women being inferior to men.
The campaign coincides with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, a global initiative led by UN Women on behalf of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women, from 25 November (International Day to End Violence against Women) until 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
Country Representative for UN Women Pakistan, Jamshed Kazi explains,
“The #BeatMe campaign poignantly drives home a universal message that verbal and physical violence against women in Pakistan and beyond is unacceptable – this is not normal, and it cannot continue. If men treat women as badly as they choose to – beating, burning, abusing or killing her – with little or no consequence, it negates all efforts to build a safe world in which women and girls can flourish. In every country, we have very resilient, resourceful, talented and brave women and girls. This campaign celebrates their strengths and achievements as being ‘unbeatable’, and acknowledges women’s equality as a driving force for successful societies and nations.”
Speaking to Hello!, Momina Mustehsan expresses this campaign to be powerful and inspirational.
“#BeatMe is a message to inspire women to find their inner-strength, recognise their self-worth and value, so that they are empowered and confident enough in themselves to not let anything or anyone bring them down on the basis of their gender, or make them feel any less than they are.”
“My gender will not keep me from achieving the goals that I have set for myself, and I will never let anyone bring me down or stop me based on my gender.”
Moreover, Samina Baig sums up the entire campaign in a thought provoking sentence,
“Girls don’t bring dowries, they bring records!”
Sarwat Gilani explains why she was a part of this campaign,
“I did this campaign for our women, to communicate the value of one’s dignity – which must never be attacked, abused or ridiculed – and to let them know that they don’t need to surrender or take a beating in ANY given circumstance.”