Stories about men

HRK: The politics of pretty faces

The media coverage of newly appointed Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s Indian tour is proving to be equally offensive either side of the border. Given Khar’s youth and her inexperience, there were already plenty of ‘ifs and buts’ floating among Pakistanis regarding her capabilities with respect to her new role, but it appears the media’s fascination with her wardrobe has trounced all performance related concerns. Indian electronic and print media has recently been reported calling the minister everything from “model-like” (Navbharat Times) and “Pakistan’s Best Face” (Times of  India) extending to insinuations about her being “drool worthy” as well ...

Read Full Post

“Death is better than divorce”

When I heard that Nariman*, my bubbly childhood friend, was back in town, I was overjoyed beyond belief. I looked forward to a time full of fun and laughter and doing every thing under the sun. When we were younger, I actually believed that sitting still caused Nariman physical pain, because she was always so excited. But three years after her wedding, she sits old and haggard, her eyes devoid of all laughter, her gait lacking spirit, and her voice like a mere rustle of dead leaves on parched mud. What led to the transition is not the fact that ...

Read Full Post

Fusion, friction and fashioning new fashion

We see the true spirit of democracy in fashion (if nowhere else) as men and women beat new paths to fashion in an expression of themselves and of the choice-ridden times that they live in. Everyone does their own thing, and fashion today is far from the stifling structure of yesteryears where to be fashionable meant to conform to fixed standards. Today, you can iron your hair to death or you can sport curls, awami is in as much as western and a fusion of the two is considered equally chic. Anything goes: Mixing fabrics No worries if a suit fabric is ...

Read Full Post

We’re here, we’re queer, deal with it!

In 2003, Brazil brought the case for homosexual rights on the United Nations table, only to be derailed at the last minute by Muslim and African countries. Instead, amendments were introduced and approved for the removal of any reference to discrimination based on sexual orientation. My country, Pakistan, was the captain of Team Homophobe. It distributed a memo to the member states declaring that the approval of the recommendation would be: “A direct insult to 1.2 billion Muslims around the world.” This year, thanks to three abstentions, China being absent, Libya’s suspension and the efforts of South Africa to table the resolution again, it was ...

Read Full Post

Bol: Speaking silence

Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol is brutally honest. Based on the stories of Hakeem Sahib’s Sunni-Syed household of seven daughters, the movie adeptly focuses on gender issues at large, dwelling on tensions between fossilised cultural practices and new ones, speaking well to tensions underlying many South Asian households. With reports on the status of women’s rights in Pakistan doing rounds, Mansoor’s social commentary is timely for villages, towns and cities across the country. Before the screening for human rights activists and politicians at a small non-commercial setting in Islamabad on June 11, Mansoor told his female audience that this was every Pakistani woman’s ...

Read Full Post

VS Naipaul: Proud and prejudicial

“It is the best for all tame animals to be ruled by human beings. For this is how they are kept alive. In the same way, the relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.” This is what Aristotle said hundreds of years ago. It is a less than comforting thought that man has only evolved so much in the years following Aristotle. I say this after reading VS Naipaul’s latest attention seeking rant in Amy Fallon’s report in The Guardian. ...

Read Full Post

Where have all the good men gone?

Pakistani women are so obsessed with… Pakistani men, marriage, mating and all things marital. Can you blame us? With a huge plethora of Adonis look-alikes bustling in every nook and cranny of this purest of pure land of ours, how can we, the ‘weak’ women, keep a tab on our feelings? Every man in this country is so refined, so gentle, so well read, high in character, solid in convictions, true to himself – a hero personified. A Pakistani man is unique in body, mind and spirit – put on this land for the pure pleasure and delight of Pakistani women — an ungrateful ...

Read Full Post

Port Grand, saying no to men

Five years in the making, Port Grand finally opened its doors last month bringing hope of some entertainment to Karachiites. Work on the much talked about project began in 2006. I for one had been waiting for it to open impatiently. The management promised a much earlier opening date but delays and lack of funds meant that it took almost twice the time to complete the project, and when the day finally came, I couldn’t wait to check the place out. My favourite RJs on the radio wouldn’t stop talking about it the day after it opened. I visited Port Grand’s website and ...

Read Full Post

The role of men in contraception

In a constitutionally Islamic country riddled with contrasts, far away from the welfare model, perpetually confused on nearly all critical issues ranging from foreign policy to population planning, infamous for low status of women and girls and their social exclusion, and characterised by the dramatic capture of power elites in politics and development fields both, one wonders — what does the male role or involvement in family planning mean to Pakistan? I tried to come up with a plausible definition of male involvement in family planning in 1999 after noticing its absence in the literature. It reads: Male involvement in Family ...

Read Full Post

Zamzama violence: Chivalry is not dead in Pakistan

Anyone who knows me well will tell you one thing about me. With the exception of my dad, I despise all men. More specifically, all Pakistani men. What good are they really? With cannibals, rapists, child molesters, bombers, kidnappers, abusers, honour killers populating the country, why bother depending on or trusting a man altogether? But recently, a certain event in my life forced me to do a complete 180 degree on my incredibly biased and extremist view. As a struggling writer and journalist, I spend countless hours at a shady coffee house on Zamzama swigging infinite cuppas in the pretense of writing. The ...

Read Full Post