Maheen Humayun

Maheen Humayun

The writer studied Literature and Creative Writing from John Cabot University in Rome. She is the author of the novella Special. She is currently a sub-editor at Tribune. She blogs at karachiiloveyou.wordpress.com/ and tweets @MaheenHumayun

“Patriarchy ka janaaza”: The outrage is proof that we need more Aurat Marches

I’m marching through the streets of Karachi, I’m marching through the streets of Karachi. My feet connecting with the cold hard concrete of Saddar, I feel my heart beating. I’m pumping my fist in the air, I’m waving my poster side to side, I’m feeling safe, I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m screaming “Azadi” at the top of my lungs. I’m looking around. Documenting this moment for today, For every day, For all my tomorrows. – Aurat March 2019. Last Friday was International Women’s Day, and to spread awareness about the Aurat March, #WhyIMarch was trending on Twitter and various other social media platforms. Women shared their truths and spread the ...

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Dream Crazier, because a woman shouldn’t have to second guess herself!

Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Every time a woman does something that society has predetermined for men, she is deemed crazy. Crazy for thinking she’s good enough. Crazy for thinking she can. Crazy for thinking she has a purpose. This Sunday, Nike released an ad titled Dream Crazier. Serena Williams narrates the ad, depicting a spectrum of bosses. And no, I will not call them boss ladies, because that term discounts the female gender. These bosses stroke through the screen, charge through fields, smash their rackets on the ground, rhythmically move through rings, scream, run, jump, cry, laugh – these are real women. ...

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When Sadaf Kanwal threw her privilege all over the place

I remember the first time I saw an ad featuring Sadaf Kanwal. I was walking past a clothing shop, and I stared into her big bold eyes, encompassing the entirety of a wall. I was thinking about how beautiful she was, and flawless, up on that wall for the world to see. Recently, this same beautiful model spoke about the #MeToo movement on a public forum. “You know aap ke sath #MeToo jab ho, tab bol do. Baad mein aap ko yaad araha hai #MeToo, so I think jab ho bol do.” (You know when you experience a #MeToo incident, say it then. Why ...

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13 Reasons Why S2: Secrets will come out, lives will change, spirits will be broken

The first image that I think of when someone mentions ‘13 Reasons Why’ is an empty high school hallway. I don’t know what it is about empty high schools, but they always cause me discomfort. It makes me think of endings and the lack of something. I’m not sure what exactly. But that’s one of the feelings I got while watching the first season of the show. The show just announced its release date for season two and dropped the trailer. It was interesting watching Mr Porter (Derek Luke) playing a role in the trailer. We didn’t get much insight ...

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‘Revenge rapes’: Why are Pakistani women constantly paying for the sins of their men?

Toba Tek Singh is one part of the country that makes headlines quite often. So often, in fact, that I’ve become inclined to reading its name in print. This time, however, I didn’t skim over the content, as I typically do. This headline, after all, was not like the others. Ten people were taken into police custody for ordering the rape of a woman as revenge. Yes, that’s right. They gave an explicit order for a woman to be raped; for her ‘dignity’ to be snatched away from her. All for the price of revenge. We live in a society that thrives off of ...

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I am stationary, and Karachi is movement

Day 1 If I stared at the world around me, a few things would stare back. The clouds dancing in the iridescently blue sky, the sun shining in its eternal glow; maybe even the trees that stood amidst the streets of Karachi. The people are the only ones that won’t stare back. I long for the day where I can look at a person, and they’ll look back and we’ll have had a conversation; not with our lips, but with our eyes. It seems as if everyone is running somewhere. My mother is running to Khattak. My brother is running at ...

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Dear abuser, my truth matters, and your time is up!

Six days ago, Oprah Winfrey made history. I sat staring at my laptop screen, feeling her words personify themselves. I felt them dance around, vibrating to be heard and felt. Resonate ­­– yes, that’s what they did. That’s how real they felt to me in that moment. That is the power of the spoken word. I don’t usually watch the Golden Globes; sometimes I’ll watch a recap or two. But this time, I found myself going back to the moments both before and after Oprah’s speech. I looked into the onscreen eyes of all these actors and I saw that glimmer, ...

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Do I even belong at all?

I see the point where the sun meets the sea, Glistening in effervescent orange, Hues of orange pulp and pineapple slices take over the sky. I picture myself on a beach, Eating those fruits – I look back out, the sun has begun to sink. Relief – Almost as if my breath were holding the sun Hanging, steady, in the middle of nothing, Echoing how I feel; Suspended between my reality and my thoughts, Verisimilitude. Floating – I am a set of eyes, I see the sun drowning, Relief turns to fear; The sun is leaving. Will it come back again? Will I? I am a set of eyes, I see the encompassing blue of the sea, I long to be ...

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No, my ripped jeans do not allow you to believe that it is your right to harass and rape me

They are just clothes, I tell my father, when he passes a comment about my ripped jeans. He doesn’t understand – perhaps he never will. I run my hands along the tiny rips, feeling bits of skin and wondering if the freedom I feel is the oppression they want me to see. I see my legs in a pair of jeans, they see skin that is fighting the patriarchy. I see my choice, they see my rebellion. On November 3, 2017, Egyptian lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, stated that any woman wearing ripped jeans deserves to be harassed and raped. He ...

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70 years of independence for Pakistan, zero years of independence for its women

Seventy years of independence today. I’m sitting here, trying to sum up what that means for me. There are too many things that encompass this day. There are too many ways to go about it. It’s 1947. Your grandfather is fighting for his life on a train that has no food. He is holding your father tight in his arms. Your great grandmother is leaving behind her house, her jewellery, her life, to run to a place she never wanted to go. You are not yet in the picture. You have not experienced the hardships. You came when it had already ...

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