Stories about gender roles

Yes, I stammer when I talk

This tale doesn’t have a happily ever after. The protagonist doesn’t emerge victorious against all odds; neither does she have a moment of epiphany or self-realisation. This is the story of how I haven’t and perhaps never will overcome my stammer, a speech impediment disrupting the fluency of speech due to involuntary repetitions and pauses. Even as I write this I am plagued with the fear of being judged and the trepidation of being misunderstood – feelings that have been with me since I started stammering at the age of five. I am not your average stammerer who stumbles upon ...

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Why did the Indian film industry churn out such horrendous movies in 2016?

The be all and end all of movies for some, while a bad joke masquerading as cinema for others, Bollywood is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. But yet, every single year, it manages to churn out films that are indisputably bad and 2016 was no different. So, in no particular order, let the bashing begin. 1) Fan: Rather watch a ceiling fan Fan is Shah Rukh Khan’s attempt to marry the only two characters he could act out, the wacky (Darr etc.) and the silly (Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa etc.), before he became the irritatingly tiresome Rahul and the tediously boring ...

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My body is not an object, breast cancer is not a joke

There was a time I believed that campaigning for a cause never really achieved much. But once I stepped into my university, I came to realise the level of ignorance around me regarding topics as common as cancer and abuse, and I acknowledged that there was a dire need to educate the masses – before taking any other steps. However, even this task isn’t easy considering that people will consequently avoid or have close to no interest even if any such campaigns are set up. I personally witnessed such a reaction, and I was outraged. I ended up steaming it off as a ...

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Six Pakistani stereotypes that Udaari has challenged

Udaari grabbed the audiences’ attention from the very first episode. It has managed to highlight aspects which have been ignored for far too long – and it has also challenged various stereotypes which plague our society. The drama relates the story of individuals who have suffered at the hands of society. The awe-inspiring acting, along with the story-line, gave the audience a sneak peek into the struggle of these individuals, whilst breaking all kinds of barriers at the same time. 1. Rape victims should be ashamed of themselves Whether it is sexual assault or harassment on the streets, victims are shushed by their families in order to protect ...

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Ki & Ka reinforces the very stereotypes it set out to negate

Ever found yourself involved in a heated debate where the arguer is trying to prove his point by being obnoxiously loud, regurgitating the same information over and over again and, worst of all, diluting his own case due to a total lack of subject comprehension by providing supporting arguments that totally fly in the face of what he is arguing for. This is precisely how I felt watching Ki & Ka, where Cheeni Kum (2007) famed director R Balki completely soured an intriguing premise of gender role reversal by a mishmash of a screenplay. Ki as in larki (girl) as in ...

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Why are Emojis so… sexist?

“Mummy, I can’t find an emoji of a female architect or ski-instructor online,” said my confused daughter. It was so true. If I was a frustrated looking at images of a dainty ballerina, a salsa dancer or a bride emoji, representing the entire female populace of the world, you can just imagine the confusion it must have caused my poor daughter. In most of the applications, all the professional emojis depict men in different forms of employment; a detective, a cop and a paramedic! For those who don’t already know, an emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an ...

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Why is it okay for a man to do household chores in India, but not in Pakistan?

There’s all this hype about gender stereotypes. Men feel they’re being blamed unfairly and women feel they’re being wronged. And in this entire hullabaloo, we have feminist movements, academics and celebrities pushing for equality of the sexes. The word equality carries a lot of weight and varies from person to person. For some it may mean breaking the glass ceiling while for others it could be men sharing chores at home. A heart moving advertisement, from across the border, manages to make viewers question these particular stereotypes. Sometimes advertisements can be a bit exaggerated, but this particular ad strikes a nerve. Why? Because ...

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Working women and the fear of not being the ‘perfect’ housewife

It is not easy for a working woman to strike a balance between work and other duties in life, but it’s not impossible. Women are striving to join the workforce in Pakistan and are reaching new heights, however, the expectations of their partners and in-laws discourage them from pursuing a career post-marriage. Every woman has her own experience of creating a work-life balance and what works for one person may not work for the other. Therefore, I decided to share some tips that have helped me manage my work along with my personal life, post-marriage. Start your career before you get married Your job comes ...

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Why do jihadists hate women but love pornography?

One of the defining aspects of our culture right now, though it is rarely acknowledged and discussed, is the problem of the young man. We often reflect as a society on the way in which our culture, especially as it is articulated in the media, has very strong and very negative consequences for our young women. From the way in which our media is affecting our cultural understanding of normal body image, to the psychiatric disorders (including but not limited to eating disorders) that ravage a shocking proportion of our teenage daughters, to the ways in which this new ...

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Gender roles and the ‘macho male’ complex in India

It is the year 2014 and much has changed in the world. Technology has made monumental strides towards advancement – today we can communicate with another person sitting across the globe with the mere touch of a button or the swipe of a finger. Medical and public health initiatives have worked synergistically to eliminate some of the most virulent diseases plaguing the human race, such as the polio virus in India. One can confidently state that “everything is subject to change” with respect to all arenas governing our lives. But despite these notable achievements, it is disconcerting to observe that our attitudes, ...

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