Stories about patriarchy

Promiscuous hypocrisy: “Yaar, she has already slept with me. How can I marry her?”

I casually asked my friend when we met at a coffee shop last week, “So, when are you going to marry her?”   “What do you mean?” My friend was probably not ready for this question. “I mean, when will you marry your girlfriend?” I clarified. He broke into laughter and looked at me as if I had cracked a joke. “Have you gone mad?” He said while controlling his laughter. “But what’s wrong? She is a nice, educated girl and you must also settle down and have a family life now,” I emphasised. “You are probably right about settling down, but it’s not going to be with ...

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The fault in our minds: Bushra Maneka’s attire is her business and choice, and hers alone

While Pakistan’s political fate is changing, the people of this nation believe there is something more important that needs to be focused on. Yes, unfortunately, that topic is Bushra Maneka’s choice of attire. This is not the first time that women’s choice of clothing has become a hot topic of discussion. As a confused country, it seems as though we are never content with anything. When Mahira Khan was spotted in a backless dress with Ranbir Kapoor, people bashed her for wearing a revealing outfit. And here we are, a year later, and we still cannot seem to decide whether ...

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The desi manic pixie: The totka for our men’s failures

While watching an episode of a popular drama ‘Gumrah’ with my mom, I realised our playwriters have created their own desi manic pixie dream girl. And even though I am not a regular drama viewer, I have watched this stereotype illustrated in one way or another in most drama serials (the recent one’s being ‘Gumrah’ and ‘Phir Wohi Mohabbat’) to consider this a problem. Boy, does the public love her! She’s the fodder for more than half of the plays running on our channels. She lives in the fanciful imagination of young and old men (old more so) and sadly, the audience gobbles that trash up ...

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Smoking kills, but so does patriarchy

What is the duty of a good brown woman? For most of our society, it’s ‘upholding traditional values’ – whether it’s the ideal bahu (daughter-in-law) in most TV dramas, desirable conservatism in Bollywood dynamics, or unsolicited advice from politicians. A 2017 Ipsos Global Trends report even reveals that 64% of Indians believe that a woman’s primary role is to be ‘a good mother and wife’. This burden of sanskar (values) and dutifulness then become a tool of oppression, of restriction. On the other hand, men have no such shackles, and end up having a monopoly on the social acceptability of ‘having fun’. There is a systematic curbing of women’s freedom to experience ...

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Ali Begum: A symbol of grit and perseverance making history in a no woman’s land

While there is no denying the fact that the expertise and contributions of men and women alike are sine qua non (essential) for the establishment of a prosperous and progressive society, it is also a grim and acrimonious reality that women in the tribal areas of Pakistan are excluded from the decision-making and nation-building processes. This callous attitude towards women is leading us nowhere. Notwithstanding our patriarchal and ultra-conservative society where gender discrimination and a misogynistic mindset still prevail, there is a valiant and indomitable woman who is defying the stereotypes of a male-dominated tribal society. Ali Begum, a woman who not ...

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Why India will continue to be the world’s most dangerous country for women

India’s record on women’s safety is never too far from global attention. Over the years, India has developed a reputation of being an unsafe country for women. The latest spotlight on this has been cast by the recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey that ranked India “the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour”. In a misogynist world that includes the likes of Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan and Afghanistan, getting the dubious distinction of being top ranked has understandably caused a great deal of indignation and ...

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If Pakistan follows Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, why not take a leaf from its sexual harassment law also?

One would think that the loose cannon that is the rising monarch of Saudi Arabia, long since the world’s Muslim hegemony, would not have thought all its radical initiatives through. And with good reason too. But recent endeavours are making us think otherwise. From where we stood, the lifting of the decades-long driving ban for women, only weeks from being set into motion, was nothing if not far flung. But it’s now being tailed by an impressive pre-emptive measure. Put short, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) Vision 2030 might just be a concrete plan, and not just a ludicrous ...

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#PunishSadatBashir: Are 80 voices not proof enough?

Online feminist campaigns such as #MeToo have brought down many titans of toxic masculinity. Famous international cases include James Dean, a famous adult actor who was accused by many women of sexually assaulting them. The House of Cards star and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey too was accused by a man of sexually assaulting him and is currently under police investigation, after having his contract with Netflix ended for his shameful conduct. The never-ending list of accused also includes other former legends like Bill Cosby and recent addition, Morgan Freeman. In all these cases, the allegations have been and are undergoing investigation by relevant authorities. Careers have taken ...

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Does Sonam Kapoor’s name change make her any less of a feminist?

I have often wondered about what feminism means to me, and there are still a lot of cobwebs in my mind that need to be cleared. However, the recent controversy surrounding Sonam Kapoor’s name change post marriage got me thinking again, as after she was criticised for taking her husband’s name despite being a vocal feminist, she justified the move by saying no one “told” her to do it; it was her own decision. Photo: Screenshot I for one have always been amazed that people cannot recognise the inherent patriarchy behind the practice of children being given their father’s ...

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Feminism needs to cater to Muslim women, not the other way around

Feminism needs to include women of colour, Muslim women, disabled women, sex workers, trans women, gay women, queer women, fat women, skinny women. It needs to cater to all women. The fact that the term ‘intersectional feminism’ exists proves that the general movement is often exclusive and largely white. Mainstream, western feminism isn’t always intersectional. There are feminists who often don’t realise or can’t relate to the fact that for women of colour, of different faiths, abilities, it’s not just gender that they’re discriminated on. Such women are affected by these circumstances professionally, socially and mentally, and yet don’t always receive the ...

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