Stories about patriarchy

Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part 1

This article is part of a series which will try to answer several questions surrounding the law on sexual harassment in Pakistan. The aim is to allow people to understand what the legal regime on this issue is, how it works, and what needs to change. ~ Meesha Shafi’s case has allowed sexual harassment to enter into the mainstream discourse in Pakistan. More recently, the traumatic experience recounted by Jami shows how harassment and sexual violence are acts of power that do not spare any gender. These victims, and the countless others who have come forward, have shown the problems of a legal system infused ...

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When a dupatta and a nose ring become agents of patriarchy

Coming from a conservative Muslim family where your male cousins won’t even look at you if you are not wearing a dupatta, I have always felt that my body was constantly scrutinised and kept under the male gaze. Forcing clothing around my breasts and a silver wire around my nose was equivalent to patriarchy establishing its territory. My gender which is deemed to be the ‘lesser one’ was expected to wear a sexualised cloth and a ring in order to assert my cultural identity as it makes me ‘unique’ and less ‘westernised’. Women and their bodies have always been pedestalised to ...

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A rape for a rape: Another child, another case in Kasur’s long list of injustices

As a highly empathic person who is passionate about speaking about deeply-rooted social issues, the fact that I always have an atrocity committed against a girl to write about saddens me extremely. I am, unfortunately, going to shed light upon yet another horrendous incident of rape that took place just a few days ago in Kasur. I remember just last year the country was clouded in shock, disgust and hopelessness when seven-year-old Zainab Amin’s body was found from a heap of trash. Since Zainab’s case was the 12th such incident to take place that year within a 10-kilometer radius of Kasur, it ignited ...

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Dishonesty: an enduring tool that women carry to survive

Whether it is the fashion industry with their unrealistic beauty standards, politics with their manifestos and sham alliances, biased education systems with fixed agendas or desperate-for-profit corporations and their misleading claims, we are on the receiving end of tons of lies everyday. Despite honesty being a virtue everyone strives for, dishonesty is omnipresent.  However, I aim to specifically shed light at what the honesty of women means under the patriarchy, the forced and institutionalised dishonesty they have to engage in under this system and what affect that has on them. I argue that women are expected to lie all their ...

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The Qandeel Baloch story: Using the law of forgiveness as a license to kill

In some surreal news, Qandeel Baloch’s parents have taken steps to essentially cancel her case. Should they be successful, Qandeel’s story will most likely take the same disappointing direction as those of countless other innocent women who fell victim to a deafening patriarchy. According to an affidavit filed with the Multan courts, Qandeel’s parents have asked the court to not only dismiss the murder charges against their sons, Waseem and Aslam Shaheen, but have also requested to the court to wrap up the case as soon as possible. This is because not only have they forgiven him, but they also believe ...

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Five reasons why Surkh Chandni is a milestone of our drama industry

Directed by Shahid Shafaat, the on-going drama serial Surkh Chandni highlights the highly sensitive issue of acid attacks on the women of our country. Starring the versatile Sohai Ali Abro, heartthrob Osman Khalid Butt, and powerhouse performer Asad Abbas, the serial points at patriarchy as the deep-rooted cause behind such heinous crimes. It tells the story of a girl belonging to a lower-middle class household and subjected to the tragic attack because of her mere rejection to a marriage proposal from a loafer living in her neighbourhood. View this post on Instagram Presenting a powerful poetry piece by Ali Imran written ...

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As a Muslim husband, I do not agree with Farhat Hashmi and her view on marital rape

It was the summer of 2015. I was in Pakistan for a month and a half due to the demise of my father. My visit coincided with the month of Ramazan. During the holy month, my wife decided to attend Dars-e-Quran sessions conducted by a certain Islamic scholar, Tahira Yousuf. One night, my wife asked me to pick her up after the lecture. When I reached the centre, the lecture had just ended and I saw a large number of women from apparently affluent backgrounds coming out of the hall. When my wife sat in the car, I asked her ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Why are we violent towards the transgender community?

Not too long ago, I got the chance to watch one of Pakistan’s highest-grossing films. The film was nothing but an amalgamation of misogynist jokes edited together, but what stood out the most to me was just how blatant the movie was when it came to ridiculing the transgender community. As part of our association with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for the transgender community, my friend and I have spent ample time with transgender people, which is perhaps why when we saw that film, it immediately became evident to us that it was mocking the community for that is ...

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We praise working mothers like New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden but criticise our own

The past few years have been remarkable when it comes to the world accepting working mothers. Yuka Ogata, Larissa Waters, Jacinda Ardern and our very own Mahjabeen Sheran are all working mothers and politicians who made history by reminding the world of how women everywhere balance motherhood alongside a busy career in a way that fathers never have to. When 42-year-old Ogata brought her baby boy to the Kumamoto City Assembly in Japan in 2017 – her way of highlighting the difficulties faced by working mothers in the country – it led to her receiving a written warning from fellow members for ...

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Why single-sex schools are failing your children

Recently, I came across diaries of mine from my mid-teenage years. For close to a year, nine out of my 10 diary entries revolved around some boy or another, while the rest revolved around the intensity of my self-hatred because of how the opposite gender made me feel. There were a few entries scattered throughout concerning friends and family, but that was about it. What put me off was that even after flipping through multiple entries it was difficult to come across actual events from the year. All that particular years’ diary covers is boys and their affect on ...

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