Stories about sexism

A ‘Pink’ bus for women, really?!

Recently in Lahore we were graced with the news of the arrival of our very own ‘Pink Bus’. The purpose of this bus is to rid, albeit momentarily, the female population from the roving eyes, slippery hands and insensitive tongues of the male population; to give women ‘harassment-free-travel’. WHAT? Although the effort is admirable and shows that the government’s thinking is on the right track, the solution, a Pink bus, is a complete sham. The mere fact that the authorities thought it appropriate to introduce something like this should actually offend women and yet we sit there smile, look pretty and let the big, tough, muscular ...

Read Full Post

Cyber love, Skype affairs and affection that kills

“Hi, would you like to become friends with me?” “Well, you are a stranger and I am not allowed to talk to strangers.“ “If we talk, we can get to know each other, then we won’t be strangers anymore.” And that is how it all begins… just some ‘harmless fun’. Stories of rape, blackmail and abuse have become quite frequent of late. These tales are not limited to any particular class or strata of our patriarchal society. To quote just one personal incident, my maid’s daughter, a girl who was hardly 17-years-old at the time, eloped with a relative’s acquaintance and was recovered from another city. The ...

Read Full Post

My father divorced my mother because she gave birth to me, a girl

A few days ago, a newborn baby girl was dumped in a garbage heap by an unidentified woman in Faisalabad. No one realised there was a baby until the heap was set on fire and the cries of the baby girl alerted the garbage collector. She was taken to hospital with more than three-fourth of her body burnt. Unfortunately, the doctors could not save her. Female infanticide is still very common in Pakistan. It is sad to see that even in the 21st century the birth of a female is considered a stigma. When my eldest sister Tena* was born (we are three sisters ...

Read Full Post

Miss American 2014: A tale of racism and sexism hand in hand

Though you may not care – and neither do I – on Sunday a “beauty” pageant was held here in the US. These are contests where a panel of judges evaluates a group of women on their looks, talents and answers to random questions. Then one of them is crowned “Miss something”. This one happened to be “Miss America“. As luck would have it, this year for the first time an Indian-American won the pageant. Her name is Nina Davuluri and her parents come from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Nina, however, was born in the state of New ...

Read Full Post

More his mama than mine

Uzma’s eyes were fixed on the clock. She had to wait for nine more seconds till it was exactly 3:00am. Her trance was broken by the aching last breath of the cigarette between her fingers. This pain was short-lived. There were no signs of Ali’s return. Maintaining a smooth marriage was never on his priority list. Neither was this new to Uzma, nor was it the reason of her sleeplessness tonight. In her 12 years spent in Calgary, she had experienced insomnia every December. The melancholic mewling of very noisy Frederic III was becoming unbearable. Its monotony seemed to be drilling ...

Read Full Post

Vukla diaries: The answer is no

Does the little litigant have a chance to be heard in High Court? Can you ever be safe from the treachery of peers? Do young women lawyers even stand a chance? With a heaviness in my heart, the answer to all of the above questions is no, and it took me all of May to figure it out. Last week, students and I sat in Justice MB’s courtroom. MB was not a PCO judge; he is principled, sweet, and likable. But likability does not change systems. The courtroom was crowded with men, and a handful of hassled women with covered ...

Read Full Post

In conversation with Adil Omar, hip-hop’s ‘Paki Rambo’

Artist: Adil Omar  Video: Paki Rambo Genre: Hip-hop  Description: A cheeky take on Islamabad’s urban youth subculture. Vivid stylistic techniques are employed in this sardonic, yet playful, rendition of kitschy bad-boy behaviour. Contrasting social settings range from the Mercedes-lined driveway of a typically affluent home, to farcical GTs (hangouts) involving recreational substance abuse, persistent sexual harassment, and blood-streaked fistfights that epitomize the ‘wannabe gangsta’ mentality of the city’s seedy underbelly. Excerpt: “I bust quick in a sl**’s thick orange foundation I’m a foreign damnation at your borderline waitin’ Horrified Satan with an angel to punch ‘cuz all these cookie cutter f*****s be fakin’ the funk Yeah, uh, so ...

Read Full Post

Why are women on TV so dumb?

Whenever I hear the word “feminist,” I become nervous and look for the nearest place to hide – talking about sexism makes prone to be tagged as a feminist. However, I sometimes think that most people who have an ‘-ist’ at the end of their title aren’t really looking for a dialogue. So just to start off, let me be very clear here: this is not a feminist rant; it is a call for dialogue. The prejudice associated with sex-role stereotypes is known as sexism. In terms of population, women slightly outnumber men in the world, yet throughout history, women have ...

Read Full Post

Port Grand, saying no to men

Five years in the making, Port Grand finally opened its doors last month bringing hope of some entertainment to Karachiites. Work on the much talked about project began in 2006. I for one had been waiting for it to open impatiently. The management promised a much earlier opening date but delays and lack of funds meant that it took almost twice the time to complete the project, and when the day finally came, I couldn’t wait to check the place out. My favourite RJs on the radio wouldn’t stop talking about it the day after it opened. I visited Port Grand’s website and ...

Read Full Post