My feminism does not teach me to hate men

I was waiting to board a bus to Boston to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference, when one of my fellow teammates enquired about my undergraduate major. I excitedly and proudly exclaimed, “Gender, sexuality and women’s studies!” Considering that I was the only women’s studies major among the many political science majors, I took pride in that little piece of diversity that set me apart from the rest. Surprised at my response, she asked me, “On a scale of one to 10, how big of a feminist are you?” Assuming that she was joking, I let out a laugh, until I saw a serious ...

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Why hypermasculinity is ruining the boys and men of today

My little brother and I have always been close, even when we were little babies. I’ve watched him grow from a chubby, cuddly little toddler to a tanned, jaunty middle school boy. As he matures in this world, I sometimes get the urge to protect him from the harsh aspects of reality. Realistically, this is impossible. No matter how much I want to consider him as my “little kitty”, I know that I can’t shelter him from all the horrible things in the world, like pain or injustice. It bothers me to no end that he will, if he hasn’t ...

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When I lost my father and society lost its empathy

I would like to talk about something I feel very strongly about – empathy, or its lack thereof. Before I elaborate, let me tell you why I feel so strongly about it. My father was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in April this year. In a span of a few weeks, I watched my strong, independent, confident father deteriorate in front of my eyes. We tried everything to try and find a cure but the disease had spread too far. Abbu left us a few months ago, in August. He was the backbone of our family and his death is something we are ...

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It’s 2017, why should I change my surname, my identity, after marriage?

“What’s in a name?” I often hear people ask the aforementioned question, to which my instant reaction is, “So why do women change it after marriage?” This used to be a topic of discussion amongst me and my friends before I was married. The typical responses to justifying this included assumptions that it is either required by the law or considered customary and has always been that way. Just because something was considered customary, does that necessarily make it right? If it did, then women should not be voting or be working because historically, it was prohibited or frowned upon. But women today do vote, women do work and women do ...

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I almost married a man who was absolutely the wrong person for me, all because “log kya kahengay”

About five years ago, when I was contemplating calling off my wedding a mere three months before the ceremony, one of my biggest concerns was what my parents would endure as a result of my decision. To be clear, I wasn’t worried about what my parents would say, as they’ve always encouraged and supported me. No, I was worried about what people would say to them. If you’ve watched Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix special, Homecoming King, then you’ll know the significance of the phrase “log kya kahengay” (what will people say?). These words have struck fear into many a brown kid’s heart, and indeed are what was on my mind during that ...

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When your “trusted” male servant is caught molesting your little girl, what can you do as a parent?

Some miseries are avoidable. If you speak to victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, they’ll tell you they wished they had spoken up. Done something to stop it. Wished somehow they could have had the opportunity to stop it from happening. They live with this guilt, among other negative feelings for years. This is why educating masses ,especially parents is essential. More than children and individuals alone, educational systems and parents should be given lessons on how to deal with such situations and what can be done to prevent such instances from happening. One such way is fairly simple – teach your ...

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It truly has been a sad and disappointing week in the regressive, woman-hating society that is Pakistan

Unless you live under a rock, you are not only aware of the Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy vs the doctor debate that has stirred the Pakistani nation, but have also most certainly picked a side. Statistically, it is more likely that you support the doctor, and why not? Poor man, who is also a father of four, allegedly got fired – a reminder to the harassers in the Pakistani population that harassment can also have consequences, a concept they are, of course, unfamiliar with. It all started with Facebook and Twitter – which is probably something we’ll also say about the third world ...

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#TeamFaryal: 5 reasons why Amir Khan is the epitome of ‘bad guys’

Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom have certainly been Pakistan’s most interesting couple since they got together. Whether it is through their Snapchat feed or their Instagram posts, we have all witnessed the couple’s memories together. Somehow it feels like their history of social media spats is almost as long as the history of their relationship. While many celebrities keep their personal lives far away from social media, Amir and Faryal are constantly seen addressing personal matters or doing their dirty laundry in the public eye. Some call it a PR tactic, others call it stupidity. At the end of the day, their drama ...

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8 things you can relate to if you’re an only child like me – and no, I am not a spoiled brat

My parents were blessed with an only child, and trust me, and they will confirm, that child was more than enough for them. Life as an only child is pretty different and definitely interesting, but one of the things I always get asked is that, “Do you feel alone?” “Kesay rehti ho akelay? Bore nai hoti?” (How do you live alone? Do you not get bored?) Photo: Giphy I don’t get bored with my life; in fact, I love it! However, there are certain common occurrences in the life of an only child and I am sure a lot of ...

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#MeToo: I am older, wiser and more determined than the little girl who was forced to hold an imam’s genitals – but not safer

The first time it happened, I was seven. An imam in our neighbourhood mosque held me, taking my hand, wrapping my fingers (they were still tiny) around his genitals, then massaging it. I was so small I did not know what it was that was in my hand. I had never seen it before and I certainly did not know what it felt like.  “Do you like it?” he asked again and again, until someone came to the room, and he quickly let go of me. Later, I told my mom about this peculiar incident, and she wept for weeks and months over ...

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