Stories about patriarchy in pakistan

Why do I have to pretend to fast when my “monthly friend” is visiting?

I sit in the room at the end of the hallway. The door is closed. My head is bent. I am waiting to be called. I was six-years-old. I stood on the balcony with my mother, father and cousin as we tried to spot the chaand that would symbolise the start of Ramazan. I was excited. I was thrilled; there was nothing I wanted more than to fast for the entire month. I started singing, “Ramazan ke rozay aye, hum roza rakhna chahain!” (The month of fasting is here, and we wish to fast!) My cousin shared the same enthusiasm; he got up and began singing along with me. ...

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Dear abba, thank you for your unwavering faith in women

My parents were faced with a rather arduous challenge when they had children; raising a stubborn young girl amongst three mischievous sons. Naturally, the girl would grow to measure her actions against her brothers’ and compare her privileges with theirs, the only siblings she had, whether her parents liked it or not. Now you can imagine how frustrated an average Pakistani father would be by a daughter that wants to make her own rules and who has a self-worth equivalent to an average Pakistani boy’s ego. However, my father is not the average Pakistani father. He grew up like I did, the middle child ...

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Because gender equality can only be proven if women can show up to work in their underwear?

It’s 2017. Women are becoming more visible in possibly every field of work and professional capacities, proving that when they reclaim spaces, whether private or public, there is just no stopping how far they can excel. There is no one who can deny that fact. For centuries, women have been put down and pushed back with claims of natural and inherent incompetence based on their sex. Somehow, because a certain group of humans is born female with physical differences (read: different reproductive organs), they have been and still are considered not good enough to become successful or become leaders. However, the popular quote, “Time ...

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Can a 12-year-old consent to rape?

A young child, no older than 12, lies unconscious in the hospital. She has been picked up by her family from her employer’s place of residence and taken to the hospital after repeated episodes of the child falling in and out of consciousness. The doctor’s diagnosis? The child, a 12-year-old girl, has been sexually assaulted. As I sat with my friend scrolling through my phone reading the news story, I sighed running my hand through my hair. When she asked what the matter was, I showed her the story, letting her read it rather than me telling her. She shook her head and said that ...

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Dear JI, why do you fear the emancipation of women in Pakistan?

Recently, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief, Sirajul Haq, made a controversial speech that sparked a debate. In the speech, Haq tried to compare western culture to Pakistani culture and trivialised it by claiming that it advantaged individuality over everything else. In order to make his point, Haq gave several examples. He stated that in the West, children don’t live with their parents or take care of them when they grow old. However, the statement which really made the headlines was the anecdotal “evidence” he gave that in the West, men don’t even buy their girlfriends ice cream and couples pay for things separately. It was ironic that the JI chief tried to ...

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If Beauty and the Beast was based in Pakistan, what would Belle’s fate be?

Oh Disney, you and your goo-goo eyed characters and mush-tacular storylines. Here’s the thing – you can’t fool us. We hail from the land of desis. We know what’s up. Just look at Beauty and the Beast. Unrealistic! We can believe the talking furniture and the enchanted experiments in botany, but as desis, we know exactly how it would have happened if Belle lived down the road from us. Our movie opens: The power of reading Gaston spots Belle running around with a book in her hand. This is one of the best things about a woman getting a degree and involving herself in education – ...

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Dear misogynist from Parhlo, this is what Pakistani feminists want you to know

I came across an article on Parhlo today, and infuriated does not come close to encapsulating how I feel, so here’s my response to it. Before you start calling me a “feminazi” – listen closely. The roots of feminism lie in finding equality; it is not about disowning male rights, or putting women above, it is about finding an equal ground that pleases both genders. Questioning, or challenging or taking offense to feminism makes you a sexist, plain and simple. Have you not heard of the damsel in distress? Have you not heard of the ‘Angel in the House’? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t because let’s ...

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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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An open letter to Zara and Zoya Khan

More than 80% of women in Pakistan face sexual harassment on a daily basis. Harassment has become one of the most common issues of our society today. In most cases, the perpetrator takes advantage of the victim’s vulnerability and helplessness. Because women are taught to keep such incidents private, the fact that women will seldom come out to raise their voices against injustice, strengthens the perpetrators’ determination to touch whoever they like.  I applaud you, Zara and Zoya Khan, for standing up to the atrocious and sexually deprived man, who, like many others, assumed he had the right to touch you without your consent; ...

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Why are our advertisements advertising stereotypes and not the product?

Just recently, whilst watching a talk show on a news channel, I came across something horrific. Don’t worry, I am not delivering horrible news, we have plenty of news channels to do that already. It was just an advertisement for washing powder. What was wrong with it, you ask? Take a look and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So the advertisement, like all ads, aims to sell a product. However, the way they’re trying to sell it isn’t all that ordinary. It starts off with two women chatting: “Aray aaj kal ki larkian karti hi kya hain… yeh machine chalati ...

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