Amber Heard vs Johnny Depp: Is the credibility of #MeToo and women survivors under threat?

Last week, actor Johnny Depp hit his former wife Amber Heard with a massive $50 million lawsuit, which alleges that Heard’s claims of domestic abuse against Depp were a “hoax” intended to “advance her career”. Not only is Depp arguing that his then-wife’s case was completely fake, he is also alleging that he was the victim of domestic violence. Depp’s lawyers claim to have a lot of evidence, including almost 87 video surveillance clips from around their home and testimonies of numerous witnesses including the couple’s friends and neighbours. Even though the court of public opinion has already demonised Heard ...

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The intolerance behind #BoycottCareem and #BoycottSurfExcelIndia

As Careem takes down its controversial billboard ad featuring a runaway bride after being accused of promoting immoral ideas, one wonders about the real culprit behind this ongoing protest. With its target audience mostly consisting of youngsters growing up watching Moltyfoam’s pensive version of a Pakistani bride, the Careem bride simply couldn’t appease its customers’ androcentric worldview. Feminists have no sense of humour, a common grievance many have against people who are sensitive to sexist jokes, not realising how the same joke would offend them if tables were turned. This is what we recently witnessed in the reactions to Careem’s latest ad ...

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The irony and hypocrisy of Shaan Shahid mansplaining ‘culture and respect’

For as long as Pakistanis can remember, Shaan Shahid has been a staple of Pakistani cinema. In the past, he was that guy in every Punjabi movie, and post-revival of Pakistani cinema, he became that guy who always ends up playing the patriot. While Shahid deserves respect as one of the most prominent actors of our film industry, his Twitter account has made it hard for us to respect much else about him. Some context: just like last year, Aurat March was held on International Women’s Day this year as well in many cities across Pakistan. And just like last year, ...

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Is Marvel another tool for the US to project its power?

One major pop culture phenomenon taking over the world today is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Based on comic books created by Stan Lee in 1961, the MCU has come out with several movies, TV shows, short films and digital series since 2008, with its films alone generating revenue of over $17 billion worldwide. I have been an absolute fan of both the comics and the movies for almost seven years now, primarily because the MCU combines action, drama, science fiction, romance, friendship, history, diversity, extra-terrestrial life forms and politics in a single platform. That being said, I am also a ...

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“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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Smooth criminal: After Leaving Neverland, MJ’s legacy ‘isn’t the same anymore’

After a long, busy day yesterday, I finally sat down to watch Leaving Neverland. As I was just out of nursery school during Michael Jackson’s prime – scribbling away pencil drawings in a primary classroom – I wasn’t much of a Jackson fan growing up. I was thus not particularly anticipating watching the documentary, and the prospect of watching two abuse victims reiterating their story made a part of me dread the prospect. The documentary narrates the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, on how they were sexually abused by Jackson during the 80’s while they were ...

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#MeToo, #JahezKhoriBandKaro, #NotFunny: Lifting the curtain of sexism in Pakistan

Hashtags make a difference, and for campaigns regarding the rights of women, the last one year has seen some important hashtags that made us sit up straight. The most recent one is #NotFunny, an awareness campaign launched on National Women’s Day by the Uks Research Centre, pointing out aptly that enough is enough – that jokes that demean women, perpetuate stereotypes about women and degrade women, are just not funny. Yes Absolutely #NotFunny#shehzadRoy 🖒 pic.twitter.com/JU68kqaxQa — S☆S 🇵🇰🇹🇷 (@jiyyah_shaah) February 25, 2019 For those who consider themselves more ‘evolved’ or ‘aware’, the litmus test can be something as seemingly small as the jokes men ...

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Priyanka Chopra literally had one job to do – promote peace – and she failed

Bollywood celebrities are loved by Pakistanis and treated as their own, which is why it was particularly disheartening to see many of them quickly join the nationalist bandwagon in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and encourage military attacks against Pakistan. In no way was this more disappointing than it was in the case of Priyanka Chopra. Chopra is now a global celebrity, having won the Miss World competition, worked as a Bollywood and Hollywood actress as well as her brief stint as a musician. Being an international celebrity gives one the power to influence and inspire people all across the ...

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Anti-condolences for the oppressor: Stop mourning Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel’s creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, died at 85 in Paris. Lagerfeld, known for being “the king of fashion” and a prolific designer who left his mark on the industry, was also an Islamophobic, racist, misogynistic, fatphobic, rape apologist. His beliefs and political stances, however, were ignored by millions for the sake of his wealth accumulation and impact as a designer. It isn’t surprising to witness publications and people wax poetic statements about Lagerfeld’s genius while they ignore his history of oppressive comments towards anyone who did not fit into his narrow aesthetic of human existence. Lagerfeld took pride in being a gatekeeper ...

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And the Oscar goes to…

For better or for worse, the Oscars are undoubtedly the biggest movie event of the year; the award show followed and discussed in all corners of the world. You don’t have to have a film nominated from your country to care about these awards; Hollywood’s allure ensures that all your favourite celebrities being under the same roof are reason enough for you to care. What’s made this year’s Oscars even more newsworthy is the fact that it has been a right mess even before it has started. Kevin Hart was initially announced to host the Oscars, but after some homophobic statements from ...

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