Stories about patriarchy

#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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An open letter to conservative father and cricket icon Shahid Afridi

Dear Shahid Afridi, One must appreciate your energy, which helps you stay in the news despite having retired from mainstream cricket a long time ago. Be it charity drives, advertisements, special appearances in entertainment shows or simply your comments to the press, you remain in the picture. We still haven’t forgotten the flash runs you made which earned you the title ‘Boom Boom’. And recently, you created another boom with your book, Game Changer. Now some people are criticising the political comments you made over bigwigs in the cricket world. Frankly, you may know better there; they are not my concern. ...

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#MeToo, #JahezKhoriBandKaro, #NotFunny: Lifting the curtain of sexism in Pakistan

Hashtags make a difference, and for campaigns regarding the rights of women, the last one year has seen some important hashtags that made us sit up straight. The most recent one is #NotFunny, an awareness campaign launched on National Women’s Day by the Uks Research Centre, pointing out aptly that enough is enough – that jokes that demean women, perpetuate stereotypes about women and degrade women, are just not funny. Yes Absolutely #NotFunny#shehzadRoy 🖒 pic.twitter.com/JU68kqaxQa — S☆S 🇵🇰🇹🇷 (@jiyyah_shaah) February 25, 2019 For those who consider themselves more ‘evolved’ or ‘aware’, the litmus test can be something as seemingly small as the jokes men ...

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#TherapistDiaries: How to move on from divorce and why it’s harder for women

Is there a good time to end a marriage?  Is it better to wait and let things pile on in hopes of a better future?  The possibilities are endless.  A lot of couples seek help from therapists not knowing whether they want a divorce or have just given up trying to make the marriage work. Most of these couples hope that the therapist would make the decision for them, but that’s not how it works. A marriage counsellor or a marital therapist may not be the answer to these questions because at the end of the day, it is the couple’s choice and decision. However, a therapist ...

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Dream Crazier, because a woman shouldn’t have to second guess herself!

Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Every time a woman does something that society has predetermined for men, she is deemed crazy. Crazy for thinking she’s good enough. Crazy for thinking she can. Crazy for thinking she has a purpose. This Sunday, Nike released an ad titled Dream Crazier. Serena Williams narrates the ad, depicting a spectrum of bosses. And no, I will not call them boss ladies, because that term discounts the female gender. These bosses stroke through the screen, charge through fields, smash their rackets on the ground, rhythmically move through rings, scream, run, jump, cry, laugh – these are real women. ...

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I’m sorry, but I do not blame Shakeela for drowning her baby

It was an ordinary Tuesday evening and I was putting my three-year-old to bed, praying that her fever does not relapse and that she feels well enough to go to school the next morning. As I watched her gently fall asleep, I felt guilty for scolding her earlier in the day. I love her dearly, of course, but I too am human and have not been sleeping particularly well since the past week because she has been sick. I planned on taking advantage of the Kashmir Day holiday to sleep in late, but her tantrums spoiled all such plans. I took a deep ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Anxiety, depression and suicide – the realities of forced marriages

She was barely 19 at the time. She sat on a silver throne decorated with floral arrangements with a posture similar to that of a sacrificial being. My emotions in this moment were as artificial as the floral arrangements. I looked over at the 50-year-old man sitting beside her, and could no longer pretend to be happy. Because that’s when it registered – she was getting married to this man. All of a sudden, my conversations with this girl, with whom I had played games throughout my childhood, came rushing to my mind. I also recalled what she had told me just a ...

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The year of Zainab: Pakistan was jolted awake by the abuse of its children, but is that enough?

She stood by the footpath, her shoulders slouched because of the heavy bag she was carrying. I was waiting at the traffic signal in my car and something about her caught my attention. She was a fine kid, probably 10 or 11-years-old, and was coming from the school adjacent to where my car was stopped. She had two pigtails tied with blue ribbons, and yet her face was very tense. It had an unpleasant, don’t-mess-with-me expression, while her body language could best be described as stiff. Every woman reading this knows the expression, because it never goes away. We are taught to ...

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