How can I complain about men staring at me when I’m not wearing my dupatta?

Published: October 21, 2015

This is the main reason all designers are still promoting three piece suits and have not yet compromised with the length or breadth of a dupatta. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

“Hawa mein urtaa jaaye mera laal dupatta malmal ka!”

This takes me back to a cherished childhood memory. My twin sister and I would use Ammi’s dupattas and sing this song, while dancing clumsily on our spacious terrace, as the dupattas flew behind us in the air.

A dupatta was once considered as an integral part of our dress code, specifically in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The long, flowing scarves covered the women’s hair and chest, and were considered as a symbol of femininity. It used to differentiate our women from those belonging to the western society.

Unfortunately, over the decades, the influx of foreign influence, along with the general misconception of women empowerment, has made our women abandon these beautiful scarves from their attire.

It is a common sight to see women dressed in shirts (kameez) with shalwar, trouser, tights or cigarette pants, with no sign of a dupatta. I personally feel that their outfit looks incomplete, as if they have forgotten an important part of their clothing at home. A dupatta adds grace, charm and beauty to a woman’s look and is in no way a hindrance or hassle for her.

After years of hesitation, I finally decided to write on this controversial issue. In order to do so, I felt that taking the views of today’s young girls would be appropriate.

Considering my age, anyone can easily accuse me of doling out unnecessary, aunty-like advice which does not go with the requirements of our so-called progressive society. I personally know the two girls who have given their opinions, they are highly educated professionals.

Quratulain Ahmed, an entrepreneur, (also the chief motivator behind this writing), speaks her mind with clarity.

“Belonging to a conservative Urdu speaking family, I was not even allowed to wear jeans to college. Shalwar kameez was the only outfit which my sisters and I could wear once we outgrew our teens. Wearing a dupatta was a must for us. For four years, I went to a liberal arts college managing a dupatta with my art materials. But gone are those days. Dupattas are now considered out of fashion, hence women have stopped wearing them.”

Zehra Awan, who has recently completed her ACCA and works with a reputed accountancy firm, says,

“Before giving my views on the disappearance of dupattas from the female apparel these days, I would like to mention that I was also one of those so-called modern girls, who had stopped wearing a dupatta. For some reason, I thought wearing a dupatta was a hassle and a hindrance to my movement, whether I was at work or in a social gathering. Then with time, one day I realised how inappropriate it was to go out without a dupatta. It did not take me long to realise that I felt much better when I wore it with my outfit, as I felt safer from unnecessarily prying eyes. It also encouraged me to pray regularly. Although I am not claiming that wearing a dupatta has made me religious, or a better person. Nor has it clarified the rights and wrongs in my mind. However, it has changed me through my female conscience as it gives me a sense of security when I step out of my house.”

Qurat adds in,

“Western influences in our culture have crept in slowly over the decades, and sadly it is now acceptable to see a Muslim woman without a dupatta, in a sleeveless dress in public places, social gatherings and on the television.

I would like to ask, where are we headed next?

Our media is portraying the Pakistani women as so-called modern individuals. I would like to tell them that getting rid of an important part of your outfit empowers you in no way! If a woman feels that not wearing a dupatta gives her a sense of belonging and makes her look chic, then she is headed in the wrong direction. If this mind-set continues, I fear that those who wear this graceful attire will be termed as backward or conservative.”

Zehra adds in her opinion:

 “I do not want to pass stereotypical comments, like a girl is shameless for moving in public without a dupatta, or that her parents have failed to instil our cultural values in her mind and worse of all, no decent man will ever marry her. A person’s character, family background or values are not for me to judge. I am not sharing my views to mock or ridicule any woman who does not wear a dupatta. You can be covered in a burqa, yet the girl next to you wearing tight jeans and a sleeveless top may be a better person. Your personality and character is yours, something between you and your Creator, not something to be judged by your clothing.

I want to confess that I find myself actually looking better, more lady-like when I wear a dupatta. I now feel that it’s an essential piece which completes a female’s outfit. Sometimes I wonder why I completely stopped wearing it in the first place. I find that there is no fashion that I fail to meet while wearing a dupatta. Moreover, I feel more secure when I move in public.

How can I complain of a man staring at me in bazaars or on the roadside, if I have left my attire incomplete?

A woman’s beauty is not in revelation; it is in what she keeps hidden from the world.”

Therefore, in conclusion, I just want to convince women that discarding your dupatta is not a status symbol, nor does it prove that you are highly qualified, progressive or liberal. It is only a matter of confused conception of what is modern and chic. I would like to request women who have abandoned dupattas, whether it is due to peer pressure or misguided desire of being called progressive, to promote your own culture instead of a foreign one.

Dupattas may not be ‘in’ for some women these days, but they are definitely not ‘out’ for others. This is the main reason all designers are still promoting three piece suits and have not yet compromised with the length or breadth of a dupatta. I firmly believe that dupattas are an inevitable part of our cultural dress code and will not be blown away with the wind, come what may!

Yasmin Elahi

Yasmin Elahi

The author is a home maker and a part time writer. She loves to write (both prose and poetry) on diverse subjects. She tweets @YasminElahi ( and blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    On reading this I got the distinct impression that the reason for discarding the dupatta was done because the girl / woman wanted to do so…..but the reason for wanting to start wearing it again was because OTHERS ( read mainly stupid males ) thought it was not right for a female to go around without a dupatta. This in my books is simple intimidation and if the women devise an apologetic attitude in order to appease the male……they should rethink their thinking.
    To be clear : I love the look of a beautiful shalwar qurta with a lovely flowing dupatta.Recommend

  • MHZ

    Brace yourselves,
    Serious difference of opinions are coming..
    I firmly believe that this lady has all the right to have her opinions about fashion just like every other person no matter how different I think from her perspective.Recommend

  • svbdfq

    In the old days men used to wear chaddars or ajrak on top of their clothes, but times have changed and its not as common anymore. The same way hats were a very common part of ones dress, even in the west. Nowadays not as many people wear them. The same way use of the dupatta is declining in women. For many girls its not worth the hassle as it does cause hinderances in day to day life. This doesn’t mean we are trying to emulate ‘western society’. I’m in no way against wearing a dupatta, but the tone that this article sets is that women who don’t wear dupatta are shameless and influenced by the evil western society. If someone prefers not to wear it, its their choice and they should not be shamed and told that they have lost their culture or are not appropriately dressed. I also don’t see exactly how a dupatta keeps men from staring. Lecherous men are everywhere and it doesnt matter to them whether you have a dupatta on or not. Also if the rest of your clothes are modest i dont see what exactly the dupatta is covering up.
    If someone feels comfortable wearing it, good for them, but i feel the author should not try to impose her ideas onto other peopleRecommend

  • Isa

    This is probably the worst piece of writing i’ve ever read. Well done Yasmin, maybe if you had taken more time to think about what you were writing rather than dressing “completely”, you wouldn’t blame the women for those “prying eyes”. Disgusting.Recommend

  • Nael

    Do you stare at men when they aren’t wearing their dupatta? How is this possible?Recommend

  • Fawad Ali

    “A woman’s beauty is not in revelation; it is in what she keeps hidden from the world” Why so??? Though the whole article says, I am not here to judge or preach……. then keep on doing the same. telling “men staring justified if not wearing duppatta”, so what happens when omen wear bikini…….. it is male mind to blame not girl. these statements are of prisoner who had been so long behind bars, that worried of going out and ” feels safer in prison.”Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    I don’t know about dupatta but men will surely start staring once you are in your Burqa.Recommend

  • Sal

    I am guy so I will not opine for fear of being accused of being a chauvinist or something. But a great read. Thanks for writing this.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    Dupatta out of fashion is a good thing. It shows Pakistani women can be bold and progressive.

    Please seek asylum in canada if u cant stand liberal and progressive pakistani women.

    oh and i disagree with your statement. majority of pakistani women still wear dupatta.Recommend

  • raj

    Do you stare a guy wearing shorts ? or do u think about his private parts when u see him half naked ? If yes then you should also ask guys to put on proper attire as well. Why advising women to wear dupatta. Purity is in the eye. There are nude beaches around the world where women are not stared upon. Its just that pak men don’t get enough from home and that is why they stare.Recommend

  • Faisal Hannan

    totally agreed with the article , need of the day :)
    we should not get rid off our traditional roots due to media misguidance to our youth , values and society ultimately !Recommend

  • Cynic

    what a twisted article. You want to take a dupatta do it – why are you branding the ones who don’t as confused. and GOD your title once again puts all the blame on women. I am sure you are one of those who justify rape by saying it was the girl’s fault for not dressing properly. Recommend

  • Garglemesh

    What a regressive country !!!Recommend

  • M Waqas Sajid

    “A woman’s beauty is not in revelation; it is in what she keeps hidden from the world.” s00 true.Recommend

  • Salma Haq

    Abandoning dupatta does not mean that you are modern, liberal and looking more attractive than those who wear it. Well I have noticed many times that women who do not wear dupatta face problems in public. People literally stare them like anything specially when the upper outfit is body tight.Recommend

  • Saadi

    So true…..well explained.Recommend

  • manzoor

    and as i thought no one has bother to comment here….for me being fashionable doesn’t mean that you stop following your cultural normsRecommend

  • shehryar bukhari

    Look who’s talkingRecommend

  • gulerana

    I live in Canada. in the summer, both men and women come out in very revealing clothes – No one looks at them!Recommend

  • Sam

    Okay, can I complain about men staring at me when I’m wearing my dupatta, please?Or maybe I should just find another excuse for their frustration, like I should’ve been wearing an invisibly cloak.Recommend

  • Shaheera Jalil Albasit

    Do not preach. You want to take a dupatta do it. I don’t want to take it, don’t force me to. The logic makes sense both ways. Ridiculous why I have to carry a piece of cloth over my shoulders BECAUSE it is culturally-appropriate or because I must carry the baggage of mis-perceived notions on MY shoulders. Don’t shove your version of whats appropriate down the throats of hundreds of girls. Just don’t because we’ve had enough of this policing. Literally decades of people like you telling US how WE should wear, behave, sit, talk and be. Please stop defining our mobility for us and please stop controlling our bodies and minds.Recommend

  • Brain Think

    Mullahfication of Pakistan has really turned out weird sets of confused people like the author of this article.

    Zia’s partnership with Saudi Arabia created this generation. Enough said.Recommend

  • Asad Ur Rehman

    Finally a good read. Hats off to you for writing on this pinching issue. Leaving cultural, social and religious norms isn’t good. The society seems out of balance. Media has a major role in branding extinction of dupatta. I would ask you to keep writing and keep impressing. People here and there would criticize and taunt you but don’t worry. They are the ones who are confused about their existence even.Recommend

  • Sana

    I repsect your opinion but I disagree with you. Dupatta does
    cause hinderance in work. Try to do some physical work and you will
    first have to remove your dupatta to do it.
    A woman who doesn’t
    wear dupatta is still fully covered so I don’t see how anyone can
    justifies men staring in this case. Men will stare at women even if they
    are wearing a dupatta and this is coming from personal experience. What
    you should be arguing is to urge men to repect women even if they are
    not wearing a dupatta. Problem lies with men here, not with women.
    PS. That being said, I love wearing a dupatta and I have not discarded it.Recommend

  • Urooj Hayat

    I’m used to hearing it by foreigners. But why do you all forget that you live in west & a secular country. This is Pakistan, a Muslim state. So when something very unusual happens & when we see something shocking not only men see but women too. Imagine a half naked women in a gathering of women all wearing Abayas. Would that half naked expect not to be looked at by others?Recommend

  • Urooj Hayat

    I’m used to hearing it by foreigners. But why do you all forget that you live in west & a secular country. This is Pakistan, a Muslim state. So when something very unusual happens & when we see something shocking not only men see but women too. Imagine a half naked women in a gathering of women all wearing Abayas. Would that half naked expect not to be looked at by others?Recommend

  • Faizan Ahmed

    Partially agree with the author. Different regions have had different attires and cultural backgrounds which have been their integral part of history. Shalwar – Kameez and Dupatta have been the core dressing of ladies since ages. Getting rid of it in the name of liberalism or boldness is just absurd. However, What one wears or don’t wear is entirely their own matter and it should not be derived by what public think. If one does something or wears something has nothing to do with people so i request everyone to provide a breathing space for everyone. No one has given anyone the right to judge…..!!!Recommend

  • Jayman

    The piece is as shocking as throwing ink on the face. If men stare even after wearing a dupatta, maybe the lady is missing a hijab. If she gets molested despite a hijab, she had no business getting out of the house in the first place. Moral of the story: Ladies are best kept hidden between the four walls. That, ladies and gentlemen is exactly what Saudi Arabia is doing.Recommend

  • Urooj Hayat

    So you must talk about the culture as well. Even in Canada a women wearing topi wala burka will be badly stared at.Recommend

  • Urooj Hayat

    So you must talk about the culture as well. Even in Canada a women wearing topi wala burka will be badly stared at.Recommend

  • Zahid Haseeb

    Life is not unlimited. Think for your end as well. As a Muslim, female need to wear it properly. Female cannot deny wearing it in any case. If male staring girls the culprit is female too and they will be questionable to make male staring on them. However in this case male don’t have a clean receipt ! They will also questionable for staring females (Think your sisters before staring females).Recommend

  • Asma Saeed

    I firmly respect the right for everyone to have their opinion, and my opinion is that your arguments are seriously flawed. Let me say first off that I feel that anyone who wants to wear a dupatta, whether for religious reasons or to look more ‘graceful, charming and beautiful’, are more than welcome to – it’s a (theoretically) free country after all. But the statement ” How can I complain about men staring at me when I’m not wearing my dupatta?” is victim blaming at its finest! I can and will blame ‘men for staring’ – I’ll blame then if I’m in a burka and I’ll blame them if I’m in a bikini. And trust me, I have lived in this country long enough to know for a fact that the staring happens no matter what you wear. I have often come back in tears from the market because of the kind of harassment (no other word for it) that goes on in public spaces. If you want to make the society a better place, I suggest you write a blog about teaching our sons to respect women, not treat them as objects that are put on the earth for their pleasure, no matter what they wear.Recommend

  • Guest

    I have come across dupatta related accidents, from catching fire in the kitchen to getting caught in tires of moving vehicles. The same has happened with long flowing hair which is also a tradition (though pixie cut is catching on with very few.. thanks in part to PK). In my view, safety comes before fashion, and long hair are better worn in a bun, while the standard three meter dupattas should be restricted to dinners in a safe environment.Recommend

  • Tariq

    it is good, No Dupatta, No ComplainRecommend

  • Browncoat

    Wow what a condescending, patronizing and apologist piece of drivel. Who funded this, JJ?Recommend

  • Browncoat

    Let me guess. Relative of the author right?Recommend

  • Browncoat

    Why are you concerned about the sanctity of that woman? Is she physically hurting you in some manner? If not then you have no claim on dictating to her how she should dress herself.
    And if you are still intent on staring at her, then lady its you who’s got to come out of the closet.Recommend

  • Browncoat

    Cultural norms are what people make. Hence they are not set in stone. If a sizable number of people feel content in dressing in a particular way then that becomes the culture. Pretending to be a floodgate in front of the same only shows your regressive tendencies, nothing else.Recommend

  • Samira Liaquat

    Finally, i can see somebody she still can feel the ethics of women dress code in Asian culture. For me, its an utmost priority of every woman to think about it at individual level because you have to understand the responsibility towards urself .No one is going to take that stand for you. It is my appeal to all the women out there kindly do not discard your duppata in ur dress code and also undertsand the motive behind that and understand its responsibility towards yourself and your own responsibility towards you. Its not about men, its about you.Recommend

  • Browncoat

    Men commenting here that “Women should dress as per ‘tradition’ and our ‘values'” are the same ones whose ancestors wore turbans on a daily basis. Yet how many men do you see today wearing turbans, esp in the cities?
    Here’s dare. Go to your office tomorrow wearing a huge turban on your head and let’s see how well you fare against your boss. Don’t be afraid lads, just tell ’em: “Its Culture Sir, Haven’t You Heard?”Recommend

  • Hameed from UK

    Its always a women’s fault. :)Recommend

  • Human

    Oh please why are you giving the rapists & molesters a chance to fell & know that their lust is based on one wearing a duppata or not .

    stop giving the wrong message . What about those who wore a burqa & yet was molested in a traffic while she was on bike .
    so please get ur facts correctRecommend

  • Faiza

    wearing dupatta or not is a part of fashion and its my personal choice for my attire, but mindset matters a lot, and you surely has reflected that in your opinion
    how about you writing another blog titled “Rape/ stare the women without dupatta”
    I am very sure that you can project that as wellRecommend

  • Mariyah

    What does a dupatta have to do with the skewed mentality some people posses? It does not matter if there is a dupatta or not, people who have these issues will stare even at women in full hijab. This is not a phenomenon common to the subcontinent- even in the Middle East there are Arab men who will stare and follow women who are clad head to toe in an abaya.

    Wearing a dupatta or not is a personal choice- it is like choosing to wrap a scarf around your neck if you’re in the west. It can be for fashion or a sense of decency. But to proclaim that it is some sort of deterrent for the lewd male population? Do you believe the males are some sort of mosquitos that can be done away by the Mortein of dupatta? Please get out of your own constructs!Recommend

  • Mash

    Dear Writer,
    There is big bad world out there and there are millions of women who do not even know what a duappatta is and yet are respected by men in their society .. Millions of men who have never seen a duppatta clad woman yet have full respect for women even if they see them dressed in mini skirts. Do you think Dupatta alone can save you from the stares of men? haha what logic is this?

    Please stop giving men excuses to stare at women by taking the blame. the only person responsible for staring is the man himself and the only power that can stop men from staring is the man himself.Recommend

  • Mirza Shoaib Ahmad Jarral

    You echoed the sentiment of mine.Recommend

  • Mirza Shoaib Ahmad Jarral


  • Mirza Shoaib Ahmad Jarral

    Ooh my dear Feminist, why you don’t want to understand that what actually she said? Its about two different societies. cultures and thoughts.Recommend

  • Khan

    Norms and traditions are not restricted to dupattas. It just depend upon the locality and mentality of people surrounding women. Some people have rightly said rapers and abusers are not stopped by dupattas. They dont even spare gals as young as 8. Women who feel protected at home by brother and father, at uni by class mates and environment dont feel any need for covering them selves with dupatta. i have seen girls wearing scarf but below they have unacceptable see through dress. We should groom boys to behave and respect women. but on the contrary appealing dress by women is also un acceptable.Recommend

  • MoralPolice

    The image you used at the top shows a woman wearing a dupatta which does not cover her decently even though it had length AND breadth. Now all the men must be staring and not reading. How shameful of you to do that!!!Recommend

  • Khan

    I also disagree with her but do respect her opinion. but the funny part was when she said she feels lady like when she wears duppata :DRecommend

  • abdpak

    Then just walk nude. Because it is the duty of men to put down their gaze. Be complete liberal or secular or whatever it is called. Don’t temper Islam.Recommend

  • Farah Imran Shams

    What a nonsense article. Victim blaming and shaming at it’s worst. So basically, the writer’s implying that a girl gets harassed only if she decides to stop wearing a dupatta. So it is her fault that men can be perverts? I started wearing chador when I was 12 and wore it till I was 20, never stopped any man from harassing me. The only thing it did for me was to make me hot in summers and make it harder to move around. I wore head scarf and abaya in Saudi Arabia for 9 years, again it never stopped any man from being a pervert. Does this confused person actually think that a flimsy piece of cloth acts like a superhero cape? an armor? does it force perverts around us to turn a page and lower their eyes? Recommend

  • Abuzar Jamil

    A very sensible article after a very long time. I must say that women should be aware of the fact that nowadays even kids know too much i.e how babies are born or the physical difference b/w man and woman and other naughty stuff which they aren’t suppose to know, but thanks to the influx of liberal ideas/sexist Bollywood & Hollywood movies and the ease of connecting to internet everywhere has made that very easy.I might be very blunt here but to make my point I have to say that a woman not covering her self might be providing ample stuff for someone to use it in his imaginations and please himself, This is a very sorry fact but it happens and any boy/Man denying this will be a hypocrite. I know that one should not stare and lower his gaze but those teachings come from your home and a good teacher will always be a mother. So if a mother is not covering herself then God bless the children and ladies around them.Recommend

  • Akhwandk

    Its the Islamic republic of Pakistan, you are supposed to feel safe no matter what you wear sadly articles of this sort with their patronising Victim shaming don’t really help, how about instead of telling women what and what not wear, with is after all OUR CHOICE, we teach men its not OK to treat women as pieces of meat to be stared at. Everyone quotes the Quranic verse telling women to cover but how many ppl also emphasize the Quranic verse which tells Men to lower their gaze.Recommend

  • Momin

    Good one! but you should have taken the religious stance to prove what you aimed at. Excluding the religion from this debate, you can not prove it right that in Islam ‘women are more beautiful if their highs and lows are covered’ and a Dupatta does that!Recommend

  • Akhwandk

    What advice for her ?Recommend

  • Mash

    and women are not even safe there.Recommend

  • Desi Liberal

    wow! how messed up is this article? do those men not have brains, why cant they control their primitive minds and lower their gaze. Are men such animals that they cant even control their emotions? perverts stare at you no matter what, look at those videos on youtube, theres this one of a woman being stared at even though she was wearing the hijab. I think its a sad reflection of our society that a woman is writing this article. Our society has demonized women so much that they think they attract unwanted attention.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Its Quite astonishing to see women go against dubatta in following comments. I GUESS MEN SHOULD START TAKING DUBATA?na
    For your info you donot look extra pretty without dubataa instead however you look less gracefull.


  • Saba Yaqoob

    Wearing the dupatta almost cost me my life once! I now wear thin scarves around my neck mostly, enough to cover my chest. Dupatta itself is not a rape or gawking repellent, you need to get this clear.Men will stare no matter what so you might as well spend a portion of this articles bashing about them. I’m not talking about all, but most men do. Get out there and live your life and stop being finicky over petty issues, I request. As long as you’re covered, everything should be fine and even if you’re roaming around nude, people should have the decency to look away and give up judgement. They should have a light bulb up there to consider all the possibilities resulting in nudity which in the most extreme cases could be a loss of sanity…Recommend

  • Disappointed Reader

    I am so glad so many women are so wonderfully silly enough to blame themselves instead. I thank you for your service to Mankind. We couldn’t have subjugated women without you.Recommend

  • Adnan Khan

    So what you mean to say is that you encourage your mother, sisters that they should not wear dupatta. Al right, go ahead! We would really enjoy those chicks without dupattaRecommend

  • Hera Q

    People like you shouldn’t be allowed to write!
    Dupatta or no dupatta, Men will stare at you!Recommend

  • asad

    Nice article, Being Muslim everyone have to follow the code prescribed by Islam.Recommend

  • Rj Malak Aatif Khan

    If I want to write for Tribune, Can I?Recommend

  • Sadaf

    I would really like to say this to this article: So many minds involved but none talks wisdom!! I would have commented on each of the participants’ opinion about DUPATTA but dude, I would end up writing a book on why I condemn their perceptions.

    “Dupattas are out of fashion” Quratulain Ahmed I dont know which profession you belong to but dupattas were never really in fashion that now they are out-dated. Just because your lifestyle or sense of dressing up changed does not mean that the fashion changed with it. In fact now are dupattas in more variety than old times! Printed, plain, chiffon, lawn, blah blah (Go check out any market with open eyes!!)

    Zehra Awan, I feel pretty much majority of Pakistani women are unfortunate as they feel “SECURE” with dupatta outside their house. But the level of regret is that even if you are completely covered in an abayah, the perverts on roads and anywhere else would look at you the same sight. Your dupatta cannot protect you from pervert eyes. I wear a dupatta completely covering myself from chest to back to head then also I have noticed people looking at my chest so even that minimal level of security goes down to drain.

    And the writer, I hope you can find a better way of teaching girls to dress decently rather than pinning it on Dupatta absence!! You are appear like a person who sees forms more than feels the essence!Recommend

  • Khan

    the best Opinion i read so farRecommend

  • Somatic Narcissist

    LOL! so funny to see all of our desi-liberals trying to undermine the article. Now, if this article had been in favor of “modern” clothing these people would have praised her and showered her with compliments.

    You agreeing or disagreeing with this article doesnt do shit, it only goes to show the kind of mentality that you possess/Recommend

  • Mehroz

    It is great that you have reached an exalted position where you are comfortable wearing a dupatta. So if men stare at you when you are wearing a dupatta will you blame yourself for not covering your head/ showing your face?
    Also, I am not entirely sure why you have associated not wearing a dupatta with the modern women of our country. All designer lawns make suits with dupattas that are worn by our elite/ upper middle income groups who are modern women and they are definitely ‘in’. Please live and let live. We have enough issues in our country already and don’t need to head towards more radicalism/ extremism.Recommend

  • Muhammad Junaid ALi

    Dear Writer,
    I appreciate what a strong step you have took to write this controversial blog. I will say you can’t judge a person’s character from his or her outfit but his/her character can be judged by how much it is enriched with his/her GOD’s will. According to my religion it is the responsibility of both male and female to dress properly and not exposing their bodies. Both of them are advised to keep their sight low. Everybody has the right to do fashion and keep themselves up to date but that so called fashion must be within the bounds of their religion. I am very glad that you share such topic some will agree some will not but your work is done.
    Kind RegardsRecommend

  • Sara Marium

    How about wearing a dupatta but still being harassed ’cause of torturous gazes of men? Well, lady the title itself shows that you are an extremistRecommend

  • Ali Bakhtiar

    Dear Ms. Elahi,

    As countless others have already mentioned, you’re entitled to your views, but when you hector other people about how they ought to dress simply because of what YOU feel, YOU are the one who’s displaying an unwarranted measure of entitlement.

    Please realize that even as we respect your right to dress yourself however you wish (and is not respect the foundation of civility?) we too expect that you would extend the same courtesy to others.

    And for the record, while your opinion on the aesthetics of the dupatta (or any other article of clothing) is just as valid as anybody else’s, your victim-blaming stance of blaming women for the behavior of men who harass them is absolutely appalling.

    Should you ever have the opportunity, I strongly suggest you have a brief visit to a popular beach in the Western Hemisphere. You will find two things:

    Firstly, that many of the women are wearing less clothing than you would feel comfortable wearing to your own washroom. Secondly, that they are more comfortable and suffer less harassment than the average Pakistani dupatta-clad woman in Karachi who commutes to work in a minibus.

    I say this not because I think you should start wearing bikinis. I say this to explain to you that it is the cultural environment and NOT the clothes that dictate how a woman will be treated.

    If it is your goal to lessen the harassment of women in traditional societies, you need to stop blaming the women and start talking to the men.Recommend

  • Sara

    stop judging her :)Recommend

  • M

    Hello Express Tribune: These blogs are meant to voice opinions, understandable. But an opinion is an argument that is backed by intellectual reasoning and substantial evidence.The fact that this lady prefers to wear a dupatta because she wishes to be rooted in cultural attire, is a preference-NOT an opinion. The same way opting for a purple wedding dress instead of a traditional red wedding dress is a preference. I’m not even going to address the author of this ‘article’, but I will criticize the legitimacy and down right stupidity of ET for not knowing the definition of an opinionRecommend

  • Derivative

    I, as a man, am really sorry to make you think that you need a piece of cloth hanging over your shoulders to feel safe. Stop blaming your kind for wrongdoings of my brethren and reclaim your freedom.Recommend


    i was reading the comments here and wondering that most people are disagree with the author. i don,t know what is their problem. these people seems to me clowns who are telling us that article is not true. why?? it,s only because all of these people who are calling themselves well educated by telling us that it,s okay if women does not wear a dupatta or hijab. same these people protest when somewhere in world a woman is banned to wear hijab or dupatta in public place. At that time all these robots made by western culture are back online and sending protesting messages to world let woman wear hijab it,s our culture. i must say these people are funny bread.
    my mother and sister wears hijab not because she wants to, because her religion ask her to. and only if women is educated she can generate a great nation.Recommend

  • Sadaf atif

    I respect your views because I am not a judgemental person. I also disagree with your views. I belong to a conservative urdu speaking family and I have always worn a dupatta. I wore it out of choice and not to feel secure, feminine or less ogaled at. We as a nation will never succeed if we don’t stop stereotyping everything. We should mind our own business. Live and let live. Recommend

  • Uzi

    Living in an oppressed society in Pakistan, one can understand how you came to such a view but your opinions are absolutely wrong and terrible.

    You are legitimizing the voice of perverts and at best promoting the act of sexual harassment. It is all about the mentality of the person, a great example is that of Europe. Educated and progressive Muslims here wouldn’t stare at other women, regardless how much skin they would show.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Ridiculous ideas!
    Men will stare at you irrespective of what you do or don’t wear. Women wearing hijabs and niqabs get molested as well.
    Women who don’t wear dupattas don’t necessarily do it because it’s chic or modern to discard this piece of clothing- everyone has their unique sense of style/dressing. The idea of a dupatta may be unappealing to them. I stopped wearing dupattas in college because I rode a bike to classes and it was dangerous to have a dupatta on my person. Dupattas can get entangled in the wheels and cause accidents. Wearing a dupatta in crowed buses/trains can lead to mishaps as well. So for many Indian women, wearing a dupatta is inconvenient hence you don’t see many Indian women don’t wear dupattas. Thankfully their decision is not linked to them trying to making a statement about how progressive they are. Smart Kurtas with churidars are preferred (minus the scarf)Recommend

  • Zehra Shafqat

    This article is basically arguing against the statement “Don’t teach girls/women how to dress, teach boys/men how to behave”! It’s so stupid, like, don’t bring religion and society into upholding a tradition of our culture if you are going to bash all other cultures…your ethnocentric viewpoint is not helping your cause. It is in fact the reason why females seen wearing dupattas are seen as backward, conservative, etc.Recommend

  • Asif Qazi

    All those “Aunties” who are commenting here against dupatta don’t know the meaning of HAYA.Recommend

  • Bilal Malik

    You have actually written the words of my heart and the best point is “A woman’s beauty is not in revelation; it is in what she keeps hidden from the world”. Everyone has a right to decide what is better for him/ her. The writer is also trying to convey his point of view to those women who belong to the conservative group. But her point is 100% true according to Islam.Recommend

  • AK

    @Yasmin: good choice of subject, bad choice of arguments.

    Just like a hijabi or niqabi talks of feeling safer, a dupatta wali said she feels safer! Society needs to change so that the “need” of feeling safe does not arise in the first place.

    That said, dupatta is part of the traditional dress and should be worn whenever one dresses to be socially presentable, while going to work or study or shadi. If nature of work demands safety, take it off but put it back on once you’re done. I have never worn a dupatta inside home because it does become a hindrance but I left pakistan when long shirts were just starting to pick up and I have found them to be a hindrance throughout these last 5 years or so too. This does not mean that I stopped wearing the traditional dress in its completeness whenever I wanted to dress up traditionally in a social setting.

    If someone wants to do away with dupatta, scarf or sleeves that is her decision too and we should not be dragging religion or culture into everything. The only constant is change and we need to learn how to adapt to change as a society. That said, a dupatta can be done away with if one wears a formal top (with or without sleeves) and dress pants or coat. I agree that when one wants to wear traditional clothing, dupatta should be a part of it.

    If the preceding paragraph is what you wanted to say, you can try again with different words and less twisted views of ‘younger’ girls. That way your writing will show the maturity you wanted to come across with in the first place :)Recommend

  • AK

    How does taking off a dupatta directly show that you’re bold and progressive? Please explain.Recommend

  • Qasim57

    If people dress inappropriately, they get all the lewd types oogling at ’em.

    If you’re a male and you decide to go around in nothing but your undies, some pathan gentlemen are going to give you VERY flattering stares… if not more.

    The very word “aurat” in Urdu means precious/to-be-covered. My salary is “precious”, if I exhibit my salary around for public display, I will probably be looted.

    I don’t quite understand the West’s logic that a woman can and should go around in the most provocative barely-dressed attire, and society has no say over it. You can do whatever you want in your private life, but the things you can or can’t do, and the way you can/can’t dress in PUBLIC, is dependant on the society’s own values and customs.

    Males can’t decide to go around in nothing but undies, and neither can women(not in public). What you do in the privacy of your own home, is your own business. What you do in public effects everyone and their children.Recommend

  • Kay

    And still carrying the highest rape ration in the world?Recommend

  • talha usmani

    So how do you intend to stop evil preying eyes of men from looking at girls as if they are raping them and then eventually if they do get the chance they go ahead with it?Recommend

  • Jayman

    No “ration” in rape. But if you check the stats per capita, India’s rape cases are way below Pakistan’s. Way, way below. Cheers.Recommend

  • Jayman

    There is no law against staring. Recommend

  • TJ

    Stick to your guns yasmin ! Thank god for people like you who care about the loss of precious values in our sadly complexed and confused society. No one can deny that men will definitely have an increased tendency to look or stare at an exposed woman more than one who gives a clear message that she is protecting her modesty. A woman cannot be blamed for immoral men who do not stop staring in any case but at the same time a woman should make an effort on her part to divert unwanted attention to her body by covering up appropriately. What the men do is going in their account but so is what the women do. If you are dressing up to be noticed, you will be noticed and this goes for the fashion forward hijabs and dupattas of today which are attractive enough to grab anyone’s attention. Of course men should protect their gaze and lower their desires but why make it difficult for them to do so? A woman is something fascinating and if not covered will obviously attract attention. Women should do their part but of course whatever men do irrespective of whether the women are covered or not is entirely their responsibility.Recommend

  • Waqas Yousaf

    seriously , now tribune gives space to such confused minds to write ? dupatta dupatta dupatta .if you are not here to judge others then what is the point of writing the blog ?Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Even as a moralistic opinion piece straight out of a 90s time capsule, it fails miserably based on how derivative it is. It relies mostly on arguments made by others, making little attempt to add anything new to the conversation.

    We don’t hate dupattas because they’re “out”. We don’t like you trying to implement a rigid moral code on people to prove their Pakistaniness, and engaging in shameless victim-blaming when it comes to harassment of women.Recommend

  • haadeap

    As per your twisted logic, a dupatta should have magical, mystical powers that would instantly form a shield around women and ward off all prying eyes, unwanted and unwarranted sexual harassment and rape. Unfortunately, that is far from reality. Instead of shaming women based on the way their dress, try to educate their male counterparts.

    Although you have the absolute right to your own opinion and expression, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t endorse such a chauvinistic thought-process that has already plagued our society.Recommend

  • Maheen

    If you’re talking about empowering women shouldn’t the decision to take or not to take the dupatta be entirely her own? And also things like “How can I complain of a man staring at me in bazaars or on the roadside, if I have left my attire incomplete?” really make harassment seem like its the woman’s fault.Recommend

  • Natasha khan

    Totally agree Ms. With you … we’re Muslim women and we should not forget this…. symbolising modern women wearing dresses without dupatta won’t allow them to say that men forgotten how to respect women in public when she herself can’t respect her values..
    I’m a working women was allowed to wear jeans all my teenage life I am trendy love fashion wear pants tights short shirt long shirt but never forget to wear my long nice dupatta :)
    Makes me bold and confident with grace and elegance.Recommend

  • Sufian Ahmed

    If you can’t control yourself when you look at a woman without a dupatta, the fault is not with her, but with you. Seek help. You’re a danger to society. Recommend

  • B

    Do you know that you’re basically saying that men are JAANWAR and they have no self control. Yep, you totally insulted all men.Recommend

  • Bismeh

    And once again the biggest problem in Pakistan is the way women dress. Sigh! You would expectbetter from a woman. What a terrible articleRecommend

  • K

    Relax people.
    This was just the opinion of the writer. She in no way suggested that she wanted to impose her will on you and others.
    You may choose to wear western attire its totally up to you but Shalwar qameez without dupatta does look somewhat incomplete.
    And if you are a Muslimah then you must admit youre not following a very basic and important aspect of our deen, ie covering up before stepping out of your home. There is no denying that this thing doesnt exist or that its between you and you Lord. Youre not following a command simply accept it. Whether you get punished for this is between you and Allah and no one is allowed to judge you on that.
    Whether men stare or not this is their deed, they will answer for theirs and women will answer for theirs. No blame game shall be accepted on the day of judgement. We gotta keep our individual acts together.

    You maybe doing a million other good deeds in private which make you better that many covered muslimahs is something that only Allah knows. No one can judge the level of piety of another.

    May Peace be with you all :) Recommend