Is the gold digger stereotype true? Women on twitter share personal stories of how men have exploited them

Twitter shared many examples of how the gold digger stereotype is not only false but also conceals how men are the one’s who financially exploit women

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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The gold digger stereotype is quite prevalent within our society with the sexist assumption that women seduce men who are rich and exploit them and after wards leave them for a more handsome and wealthier man. We have entire dramas dedicated to this stereotype like “Mere Pass Tum Ho”, “Maat” and “Mere Khwaab Reza Reza”, all of them revolve around the villain being a woman who is materialistic and wealth-obsessed to the point where she leaves her own husband and children to marry someone who promises them a luxurious lifestyle.

But in reality how often has this stereotype proven to be true because women are less likely to be financially secured than men and also escape marriages that they aren’t happy in. Our marriage-obsessed society teaches women not to focus on their education so that they may never find a chance to become independent and get a job that gives them financial security, so why do we blame them for having materialistic desires? And also, many unmarried women are often prevented by their families from spending on themselves or visiting places with their friends with the promise that after marriages, they can do whatever they want. So should we really assume that women are inherently wealth obsessed and power hungry, and remember that the patriarchal system deprives them of the ability to be self-sufficient and compels them to eventually find a rich husband to get the life they want.

Twitter users also took the time out yesterday to debunk this myth and reveal how more women are exploited financially in ridiculous ways by their families and the men around them rather than the opposite way. They shared how in many ways men are in fact much worse gold diggers than women with examples of the ridiculous tradition of “jaheez” which forces women to bring more money and household items with them to gift their in-laws, and also how wives are forced to hand over all of their earnings to support their husband’s needs.

This twitter user began the conversation by sharing personal stories of women who were forced to spend their own money to satisfy the men in their lives

Soon people in the comments began sharing their own experiences with how they have witnessed women sacrificing their own security by handing over their financial savings to the men in their lives. This user brought up the issue on how women are forced to go all lengths to prevent their marriages from falling apart and end up giving up all of their life savings whether to fund their husband’s businesses or just to satisfy his lifestyle

Another user shared how their male friends often emotionally manipulated their girlfriends or wives into sending them money for their education or to settle for a better job, only to end up abandoning them afterwards.

Twitter users have also referred to the widening gender wage gap in Pakistan because of which women are often excluded from holding jobs which give them better pay, and are also making one-third of what men are earning while doing the same job as them. In April, Dawn reported that according to the World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranked as 153rd among the 156 countries for the global gender gap index. This user shared that men are apathetic towards the financial condition of women by making them drive in cabs to places for their dates given the recent fuel hike and how many women don’t have cars of their own, but also compel them to pay for these dates as well.

Within desi families as well, the myth that women are given better financial security needs to be debunked because many parents refuse to spend on their daughter’s education and instead choose to save up for their wedding, and also because of this many women can’t become financially secure to find well paying jobs. This twitter user shared that within desi families men are the ones who benefit from getting a larger share of the inheritance left by their parents, and often daughters are made co-dependent on their brothers to provide for their well-being because of this.

The time has come for our media channels and celebrities to be more mindful of the kind of drama’s they are creating because how often the content they produce is playing a role in reinforcing sexist biases against women. Tropes like the satti savitiri, the evil woman, the crazy wife and the gold digger are commonly associated with women and already are making it more harder for us to find platforms where we can tell our stories about the reality about Pakistani societies. Actors and producers like Fahad Mustafa who made the controversial drama “Dunk” dismissed criticism that his shows were encouraging sexist stereotypes against women by saying that his dramas were created solely for entertainment and “he doesn’t run a school“. But its not up to our actors to decide whether they’re educating audiences or not, because already they are seen as influential figures within our industry and common people will look up to them, and will follow the message they are sending out. So it’s high time that our industry learns to toss away these over used narratives, and actually create stories that empower women rather than demean them.