Stories about misogyny

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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#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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Why I choose not to speak up and say #MeToo

Social media is surreal most of the time; however, this past week has seemed more unreal than usual. My timeline on every social media platform has been flooded, or dare I say bombarded, with #MeToo status updates, tweets and posts. The hashtag went viral after American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences with sexual harassment, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that shook Hollywood. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 My feelings on this hashtag, which ...

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By dressing as a man to make a statement, Ayesha Gulalai has only belittled countless dynamic women of Pakistan

No one said it was easy being a Pakistani woman. We fight misogyny, chauvinism and harassment on a daily basis in our schools, workplaces and for some, even homes. We are daughters, sisters and mothers but those relationships are not unto themselves. We populate the corporate world, lead movements, teach impressionable minds and raise little people. There is very little women cannot achieve and that forms our identities. It is a small mind then, in my opinion, which tries to fight misogyny by fitting into a box shaped like a man. A mind that has no business representing the multi-faceted and peerless entities that ...

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If it’s unfair to believe an allegation, it is also unfair to doubt Ayesha Gulalai and call her names

A few months ago, I wrote an article where I pointed out that both the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were promoting a misogynist culture. In the said article, I criticised PML-N leaders like Khawaja Asif and Javed Latif for spewing filthy language against women in rival political parties. I further argued that PTI was also indulging in the same practice as an overwhelming number of its supporters have repeatedly abused prominent women politicians and also public figures. I cited examples of Malala Yousafzai, Asma Jahangir, Reham Khan and Maryam Nawaz. I also wrote about how Dr Shireen ...

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Why do students in American high schools resort to humiliating Muslims and people who aren’t white?

When the student body president of a Northern California high school won his campaign after posting an Islamophobic joke, I was not surprised. It is part and parcel of American high schools to reward students for racism, particularly when the school administration isn’t interested in protecting vulnerable students for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. By overlooking racist and toxic behaviour, schools inevitably normalise racism, misogyny, and heterosexism, all of which lend to bullying and cheapen the lives of many young people at these schools. And it’s not only the oppressed or the so-called victim who is negatively affected by this situation, but the oppressor as ...

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As a man, I stand by Karachi EAT festival’s “no stags” policy

Recently the management of the Karachi EAT food festival came under a lot of criticism over their ‘families only’ rule. Memes and jokes were made and circulated on social media and a lot of online activity was witnessed where young boys who prefer to move in groups and often dubbed as ‘munchalay’ were planning a crusade against the above mentioned rule. This sparked a debate between the men and women of the country as they argued over whether they are justified or not, and how discriminatory the rule is. Don't see any twitter feminist Jihadis complaining how a guy needs to enter KarachiEat with fam ...

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Junaid Jamshed is Pakistan: Absurdly talented yet seriously flawed

Capping off a year already filled with terrible news was yesterday’s tragic incident. A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral, killing 48 people on board and leaving the country in shock. To start with, the pain being faced by the families of these lost 48 lives must be incalculable. To lose a loved one so abruptly without closure is a terrible ordeal. At the very least, the loved ones should be provided with grief-counselling by the government at the earliest, though the chances of this happening are low. There must also be questions asked about ...

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Khuda Mera Bhi hai is definitely worth a watch

An alarming trend that often puts many people off from Pakistani dramas is how they tend to glorify patriarchy, domestic violence and misogyny. However, with recent dramas like Nanhi, Chup Reho, Udaari, Sang e Mar Mar, we see that the trend is gradually changing and that dramas are delivering clear cut messages that domestic violence is not okay. Of late, the play Khuda Mera Bhi Hai touches on these forbidden topics and takes extremely bold steps in sending these messages across. The story revolves around Mahgul, played by Ayesha Khan. Thankfully, Ayesha Khan will now be seen in a strong, ...

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Why are Indian and Pakistani men hell-bent on perpetuating sexual terrorism?

Another day, another news report about a horrific rape that once again highlights the distance India has to travel to ensure true equality, freedom, and justice for its women. In this latest incident, a 21-year-old was gang raped again by the same five men who had raped her three years ago. This incident is beyond outrageous and is a measure of the abject failure of the law and order machinery in ensuring that justice is served and all perpetrators of sexual crimes are punished appropriately. Out of the five original rapists, two were apparently out on bail and three had never ...

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