Stories about patriarchy

How long will our country insist on keeping its boys out of the kitchen?

How long will this country insist on keeping its girls in the kitchen? Another 70 years according to the Punjab Government, which has announced a program to exclusively provide girls schools with poultry to ‘teach them about the kitchen.’ The aim of this program is to teach the rudiments of nutrition and “train these small girls about kitchen waste.” The reason only girls’ schools are included in this scheme is because, “Girls, mostly, have to deal with the kitchen and they are more responsible and caring than boys.” Firstly, the move in itself is a sensible one; schools in many developing countries include practical agriculture ...

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Qandeel, Muqadas, Zeenat, Sumaira, Ambreen, Maria…

On the fateful day of Saturday, July 16th, 2016, news broke in Pakistan that internet sensation, model and actress Qandeel Baloch had been found murdered in her home in Multan. Controversial till the very end, Baloch shot to fame because of her provocative social media videos and posts, in which she would comment on any issue, wearing risqué clothes, while lying on a bed. Photo: Facebook Her murderer turned out to be none other than her own brother who strangled her. Baloch’s parents discovered her body in the morning and her brother was arrested the same day. [caption ...

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My brother hit me, but to my family I am the villain

When my brother hit me, I realised that Qandeel Baloch didn’t even have to become Qandeel Baloch for her brother to murder her; he would have done it anyway. I have realised that there are men out there who think they are born with the right to govern women, to humiliate them, to hit them, and if all of that is still not enough, to kill them. They choose easy targets, women who live with them, their wives, their sisters, even their mothers. Because they know these women will forgive them, and believe in their fake apologies and tears. They won’t do ...

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The demons of Delhi

The more things change, the more they remain the same. It was 2012 and Delhi was in the midst of a round of massive protests. The gang rape of the young woman Nirbhaya, who came to be remembered as the fearless one, in a moving bus, finally got the jaded citizens of the city on to the streets, as women demanded their basic right, safety. Soon after, legislations were amended, new laws were brought in, and politicians finally seemed to have heard the pulse of a frustrated nation. Yet in the last one week alone, a tourist was gang raped as ...

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Karachi, you used to be home

I walk out of the plane and I’m hit with humidity, heat, and a smell that I can’t even describe with words. This is home. The airport is packed as I trudge my way to get my overweight, large suitcases. My eyes are watering, my hair is in a state, and my clothes that seemed so loose back in Rome are suddenly sticking to me as the gaze of almost every male present follows me in a carnal manner.  This is home. I try and relax as I look at the out-dated conveyor belt slowly moving bag after bag until I finally see my own. I push ...

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Pop-up in the Park: Reclaiming public spaces in Karachi

Spoken Stage, in collaboration with Girls at Dhabas, hosted an event coined “Pop-up in the Park” at Frere Hall this Saturday in order to reclaim the public spaces in Karachi. Spoken Stage is an organisation that fosters the growth of individual expression through the projection of spoken word poetry and prose. Girls at Dhabas was created with the intention of enabling women to claim public spaces, and is quickly gaining influence as women all over South Asia are using the hashtag #girlsatdhabas. The event took place at Frere Hall with the intention of reclaiming public spaces.Photo: ...

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Women only watch football to check men out, yup, the secret is out!

Another fatwa about women has emerged from the glorious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a fatwa that declares the innocent enjoyment of a football match to be haram for women. After all, with the infamous wife-beating bill courtesy of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan, KSA could hardly stand to be left behind. Of course they’ve graduated from wife-beating to wife-eating so now it’s on to figuratively invading the privacy of people’s homes and telling them what to watch on TV. Of course, it’s not okay for the civil society or legal bodies to figuratively invade homes, or work-places, or ...

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The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

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The perfect world for CII members would be one without women

I do not know under whose leadership the body of persons known as the Council of Islamic Ideology was formed. A few days back it recommended the banning of paper money and reversion to coins, as was the practice in the 7th century. I wonder why they didn’t ask the government to ban cars and trucks, and ask for donkey and camel carts to be used for transportation instead. Or that all high rise buildings should be demolished and replaced with huts and hovels! But their recent proposals to “protect” our women prove that these worthies are obsessed with women. ...

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Am I immoral because I’m attracted to my husband?

During a conversation with a female friend, she let me in on a strange secret. She said, “Once, my husband doubted my morality,” I remained silent, mostly out of curiosity. She continued and said, “It happened when I tried to get intimate with him; not with a stranger but with him, my own husband.” “What exactly do you mean?” I asked bewildered. “He hadn’t come home from work and I was missing him. Aroused, I approached him, thinking he’d appreciate that. In return he gave me a stern look and said, what is wrong with you? Why are you behaving so immorally?” This was expressed with ...

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