Stories about gender inequality

Will Annihilation be to Natalie Portman what Alien and Terminator were for Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton?

While movies should solely be judged on artistic merit, contemporary cinema is not lucky enough to have been afforded this particular luxury. Amongst various other influences, one factor that can really seal the fate of a modern movie is whether it can pass the Bechdel Test. For the uninitiated, the Bechdel Test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man in the movie. While the aforementioned test might sound arbitrary to some, its primary purpose is to call attention to gender inequality in fiction. For the record, numerous of recent ...

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Dear sexist men, your privileged gender is not an outcome of your “biological” qualities, but of social conditioning

Recently, I wrote an article based on two recent videos which went viral. The main idea behind the article was to showcase two outstanding individuals who challenged gender stereotypes instead of conforming to society’s prescribed gender roles, going on to live their individual dreams. For me, these individuals are heroes and, in fact, trailblazers as they have challenged socially constructed stereotypes. These stereotypes play a large role in determining what is expected of men and women from society. By spelling out these expectations and enforcing them through upbringing and cultural norms, men and women are often regimented into different roles and hence, destinies. These different roles also largely account ...

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The Handmaid’s Tale is a form of activism and we love it!

The Handmaid’s Tale is a harrowing TV series set in Gilead, an oppressive totalitarian society where women, referred to as ‘handmaids’,  are not allowed to vote, to hold jobs, to read, or own property.  Their role is reduced to that of a child-bearer, and any form of retaliation against the regime is punishable by death.  The storyline is an exaggerated take on patriarchal societies in the developed world; nevertheless it rings close to the truth for regimes around the world. The story highlights the way in which totalitarian states have been able to oppress minorities and reprimand dissidents of the regime. Gilead, ...

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In Pakistan, men make decisions and women make dinner

Inequality between men and women is not something exclusive to the subcontinent or the Middle East. For instance, while allowed to participate in the army, women are still not permitted to serve in frontline combat in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Slovakia. In the United States, and other developed nations, women are consistently overlooked for promotions and paid less for doing the same work their male counterparts do. In this part of the world, however, we make a clear distinction. Gender inequality is far from over in the developed world but at least mainstream statements that promote equality and denounce ...

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France had every right to ban the burkini – Their country, their rules

Women and their clothing have long been a matter of contention in society. Men have always regarded the female body as a symbol of social honour and have sought to control the way women dress and the way they carry themselves. In the modern era, it is only in the last half century or so that women have really been able to get some measure of control over their own choices, and that too only in some parts of the world. In most societies, the patriarchal order still dominates. It has been a long and hard fought struggle for women to break free from the patriarchal stranglehold ...

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No, I don’t think my body or my complexion needs to be “fixed” to meet a guy

Born in a country with a colonial past, the light skin fetish has been ingrained in us from time immemorial. My existence was like the biggest curse – I was a girl in a patriarchal society, dark-skinned and slightly overweight.  “2016 is your year,” typed a close male friend of mine on a WhatsApp group of around nine people. The intention for this group was to coordinate my sister’s wedding dance practices but ended up becoming a crazy corner where we all discussed each other’s daily struggles and laughed on lame jokes. The conversation continued, “I am going to give you a makeover.” I replied thanks ...

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Pakistanis pushing boundaries – An ode to my people!

I was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of Khayaal Arts Festival 2014 as one of four keynote speakers. The theme of the festival was ‘Pushing Boundaries’ and I was asked to discuss how I attempt to push boundaries in my life. However, I’m of the view that enough has been written and said about my work. It is unfair that we develop a habit of only recognising a select few as people doing good work in the country. I, myself, have benefited from the contributions of countless Pakistanis who have made this country prosper and become better for me to live, grow, ...

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Move over, women; it’s time for men to rightfully use the victim card

Feminism has been rooted in history ever since the unceasing debate about gender discrimination began, which goes back a long way. However, our media has often glorified women as the only victims of social injustices, while men, who are also victims of domestic violence, sex trade, abuse, and other unjust practices, are side-lined from the spotlight. They are primarily held responsible for almost all the issues associated with women’s rights crisis. I, for one, believe that this is yet another social stigma that exists in our society. In fact, our media has played a liable role in promoting feminism to an extent that ...

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Mr Modi, #DespiteBeingAWoman I have some questions for you

In December 2012, feminism changed in India forever. A girl, now known as Nirbhaya, was beaten and gang raped. She later succumbed to the injuries and passed away. The people of India took to the streets to protest against this horrific act against women, against humanity. The world stood with the women of India and unequivocally condemned this barbaric crime. However, in a country where, according to its own Crime Records Bureau, reported acts of violence against women are at an increase of 6.4%, the prime minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, chose to speak to Sheikh Hasina, Bangladeshi prime minister, that she was countering terrorism ‘despite ...

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Progress of female players – Asking for a “twirl” instead of talent

Eugenie Bouchard, famously known as Genie Bouchard, won her second match after defeating Kiki Bertens in straight sets in the Australian Open. She is considered to be a rising star in the world of tennis world, being the first Canadian to reach the finals of Grand Slam and is currently ranked world number seven. But something strange happened when in an after match interview. Right when we were expecting professional questions about the game and her plans for the upcoming matches, the Wimbledon runner-up was asked to “twirl” by the interviewer to show off her outfit. The seventh seed was taken ...

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