Stories about patriarchy

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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To all the Wonder Mums out there, do not let society shame you for the choices you make

I have come to realise that no matter which part of the world they are from, mothers have one thing in common: putting up with unsolicited advice and dealing with intense scrutiny and judgement for the parenting choices they make. Hence, this Mother’s Day, I decided to write a message to all the mothers facing this issue out there. These mothers are trying hard to do the best they can by their children, while being constantly questioned and being made to feel they have got it all wrong. The constant unsolicited remarks a mother receives are not limited to family, friends ...

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‘Revenge rapes’: Why are Pakistani women constantly paying for the sins of their men?

Toba Tek Singh is one part of the country that makes headlines quite often. So often, in fact, that I’ve become inclined to reading its name in print. This time, however, I didn’t skim over the content, as I typically do. This headline, after all, was not like the others. Ten people were taken into police custody for ordering the rape of a woman as revenge. Yes, that’s right. They gave an explicit order for a woman to be raped; for her ‘dignity’ to be snatched away from her. All for the price of revenge. We live in a society that thrives off of ...

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When you don’t wear makeup to work and get asked, “beemar ho?”

I rarely wear makeup to work. Most days, I wear none. Not even BB cream, or eyeliner, or even a basic sort of lipstick. I don’t wear makeup, and I get asked about it, every single day. “Kya hua, kisi se larayi hui hai?” (What happened, have you had a fight with someone?) “Thori si lipstick tou laga lo, acha lagta hai.” (Put some lipstick on at least, it looks nice.) “You don’t want people to think you don’t care about your appearance.” “Listen, women should put some effort into their looks. Istarah achi image thori jaata hai.” (Otherwise it doesn’t present a good image.) “Dekho; presentation ...

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“Dua karo iss dafa beta ho” – Is being a ‘beti’ really the curse it’s made out to be?

Being the fourth daughter my parents were blessed with, I always used to ask them if they had ever wished I had been born a boy. I spent a lot of time wondering if, after having three girls, they were disappointed to see yet another daughter instead of a son. To my relief, my parents always responded to this question with a resounding ‘no’. Rather, they would get surprised and question me instead on the kind of nonsense that fills up my brain with questions such as these.   It is true that I have never felt loved any less by ...

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Women empowerment in rural Balochistan: Applause is louder and real when men and women clap together as equals

In December 2017, I paid a visit to the Kech District in Balochistan, during which I had a very stimulating interaction with members of the community organisations formed by the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). However, the biggest surprise for me undeniably was to see the social mobilisation of local women, as they participated in the meetings alongside the male members of their village. Such a high rate of female participation in these meetings was a shock, to say the least, particularly given the conservative nature of the province of Balochistan. Decision-making here is a domain solely belonging to its men, ...

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