When I lived in Saudi Arabia, religious policing of women’s bodies was the norm. I remember a time when my mother and I were casually strolling down Suwaiket street – one of the most busiest and populated areas in downtown Al-Khobar – when we suddenly witnessed the religious police, most commonly referred to as ‘mutawa’ (or mutaween for plural) approach a young woman, and angrily demanded that she cover up, as she wore the abaya (full Islamic body covering), with the scarf resting loosely around her shoulders, her face and hair bare. When the woman, who was too shocked to speak or didn’t comply right away, ...Read Full Post
Would you be able to sleep at night knowing your daughter is being subjected to violence at that very moment?
The recent murder cases of Samia Shahid and Qandeel Baloch, both victims of ‘honour killing,’ put yet another question mark on our resolve to fight violence against women. Such cases also serve to rejuvenate the controversial debate that societies tend to tolerate violence against women which, in turn, leads to more violence against women. For me, before being acquainted with data on countries where such beliefs persist, it was unimaginable that some women think domestic violence is acceptable. I think most readers would be surprised to know that wife beating, the most common form of domestic violence, is not just a norm in most countries, but also found acceptable ...Read Full Post
Mahira Khan’s larger-than-life performance and her red-carpet appearance at the LSA2016 (replete with a dress and entourage big enough to fill up all of Expo Center), proved to me that she’s an excellent brand manager who understands her target audience very well. At a time when people are desperately trying to go back to old values, Mahira brings back the charisma of yesteryear. Her audience loves when her lip is bitten in sharam. They oppose the women who bite it in lust. They love when her dupatta falls strategically at the right time during a performance. They do not like women whose ...Read Full Post
When my brother hit me, I realised that Qandeel Baloch didn’t even have to become Qandeel Baloch for her brother to murder her; he would have done it anyway. I have realised that there are men out there who think they are born with the right to govern women, to humiliate them, to hit them, and if all of that is still not enough, to kill them. They choose easy targets, women who live with them, their wives, their sisters, even their mothers. Because they know these women will forgive them, and believe in their fake apologies and tears. They won’t do ...Read Full Post
Spoken Stage, in collaboration with Girls at Dhabas, hosted an event coined “Pop-up in the Park” at Frere Hall this Saturday in order to reclaim the public spaces in Karachi. Spoken Stage is an organisation that fosters the growth of individual expression through the projection of spoken word poetry and prose. Girls at Dhabas was created with the intention of enabling women to claim public spaces, and is quickly gaining influence as women all over South Asia are using the hashtag #girlsatdhabas. The event took place at Frere Hall with the intention of reclaiming public spaces.Photo: ...Read Full Post
Menstruation? I know what most of you are going to say: “Oh no! Run to the door! Run to the hills!” In this ‘beautiful’ society of ours, menstruation is synonymous with shame. Women and men, alike, recoil at this ‘topic’ faster than you can say “pad”. See, anything below the waistline is taboo for us Pakistanis, but have we ever thought about the side effects of having such a mind-set? Most women feel on edge when it’s that time of the month, they feel isolated, impure, and fragile. This advert might be the only one of its kind. In our local and ...Read Full Post
“OMG she’s so fat” “She works full-time, I’m sure she has no time for her kids” “Did you know she has a boyfriend? She’s so characterless” I am sure that like me, everyone has heard or even made such comments at one time or another. That is the hard, unfortunate reality. What is harder to accept is that these are mostly being directed at women BY other women! While it is inexcusable and downright wrong for either gender to be commenting like that, shouldn’t we, of all people, be more empathetic towards fellow women? Coming from a patriarchal society, most men are infused with a false sense ...Read Full Post
Two or three days ago, a young woman was accosted by an older woman for ‘not wearing appropriate attire’. You can see what the poor young woman was wearing here. Not that that’s important. But, anyway. This older woman harassed this young lady (who wanted her identity to be protected, so we’ll call her MJ) and continued to touch her despite her requests. She later threatened MJ, stating that she ‘knew her license plate’ and MJ threatened to lodge an FIR against her and eventually the woman’s husband, a seemingly more neutral fellow, managed to get his wife to apologise ...Read Full Post
The acrimonious display of chauvinism by Hafiz Hamdullah in a talk show is rightfully being condemned in all quarters of the media. However, we need to go a little further in examining this overt manifestation of a rot that is deeply entrenched in our midst. To start off, Hafiz Hamdullah’s failed attempts at intimidating and shouting down Marvi Sermid are a continuation of his past behaviour during televised debates. It also seems the pious senator reserves the worst of his bullying for the fairer sex. And this is the crux of the issue – I believe the honourable Hafiz was apoplectic ...Read Full Post
Since the project of a Ghostbusters reboot with an all-female cast was announced in 2015, fans were highly critical and vocal about it. In March 2016, the first trailer was released and it quickly became the ‘most disliked trailer’ in the history of YouTube. While many fans of the original claim that the quality of the trailer is nowhere near the wit and charm of the first Ghostbusters (1984), an internet war still wages on whether the trailer is disliked due its quality or hidden misogyny behind the criticism.