Stories about stigma

#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 ...

Read Full Post

Rawalakot, Kashmir is known for its beauty but it should be recognised for its exceptional women

The sound of the phrase, “women are not allowed to work” was so unfamiliar to me, until I reached university. I grew up seeing progressive, working women, like my mother and other relatives, in the society. I am from a small town in Kashmir called Rawalakot, situated in the northern region of Pakistan. This area is known more for its beauty and less for its exceptional women. Women of this area are termed exceptional because despite the existence of an ingrained patriarchal society, they have paved way to be achievers in life. According to the annual socioeconomic report of Kashmir, Azad Jammu Kashmir at ...

Read Full Post

Zesty and witty, Load Wedding uncovers body shaming and marriage like never before

Director cum screenwriter Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza, the famed duo behind hits like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor In Law and Na Maloom Afraad 2, are once again back to lure filmgoers. This time, they are ready to amaze movie-buffs with a newfangled theme; conveying the message regarding social issues via a highly charged romcom – Load Wedding. The much anticipated film has been creating buzz and excitement since its first look was released. It is obvious, judging by the recently released official trailer, that the subject is captivating for various reasons. The three-minute trailer is a mix plate ...

Read Full Post

Sanju’s triumph over his addiction should be celebrated, not trivialised

Addiction is a person’s psychological difficulty in the consumption of food, pornography and drugs or substances, among many other things. There are multiple theories to explain why people get addicted and the most plausible one is that addictive behaviours are a combination of heredity and the environment. That’s the reason that many people never get addicted or dependent on drugs and substances despite trying all kinds of stuff multiple times, while others get hooked to these merely in the first few interactions. Being a therapist, I have seen people and families facing all kinds of stigma for having any psychological ...

Read Full Post

In a society where you are either heterosexual or just “messed up”, is there any room for asexuals?

My great grandmother had a cousin who spent her whole life single. She had a successful life, to say the least – she was a practicing doctor, she had a wonderful social circle and she indulged in numerous hobbies. And she was really, really content. Contentment is a strange emotion; you can be happy but not necessarily content. She, however, was tremendously satisfied with her life. She had everything, except a husband, and not because she wasn’t able to find someone, but because she didn’t want one. She had a great upbringing in a moderately liberal family with happily married ...

Read Full Post

My hidden miscarriage left me broken and alone – while he moved on, happily

I waited too long to write this story. Allow me to introduce myself. First-generation South Asian Muslim, daughter of two hard-working parents who just wanted to provide the best life for their children. Born and raised in New York, it was confusing and difficult to balance ethnic culture with western culture, on top of balancing my faith in Islam. Even more importantly, it was difficult trying to establish myself as an opinionated woman in the very patriarchal culture, founded both in the western and South Asian culture. I was 15 when I first met him. Two years older, tall, smart, same ...

Read Full Post

Bujayote: The future of Pakistan’s musical valley may be bright, but the future of their music is dark

In the extreme north of Pakistan, a small area located in Yasin Valley known as Bujayote, is the home of traditional musicians. According to these artists, this name is associated with one of the very early musicians named ‘Bujaye’, a professional, whose generation pursued this profession. The area is also locally known as “Ustadishoo Deh” which literally means the neighbourhood of the musicians. Yasin Valley is one of the many mountain-locked valleys in the extreme north of Gilgit-Baltistan. The instrumentalists of Yasin perform in a set group of more than three. One of them plays a pair of kettle drums locally called ...

Read Full Post

Aids is a real disease, get out of your ‘conservative’ bubble and believe it!

Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection (HIV) is transmitted primarily via unprotected sexual intercourse including anal and even oral sex, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. There is no cure or vaccine for the virus and prevention is the key strategy to control the spread of the disease, primarily through safe sex and needle-exchange programs. However, anti-retroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease. Raising awareness about AIDS is a big issue, especially in Pakistan, because this is still considered one of the biggest social taboos in the country. I remember just last year the media reported that 15 blood ...

Read Full Post

Chinese new year, leftover women and the custom to rent-a-boyfriend

Along with the dumplings and yee sang (raw fish salad deemed to bring about good luck; usually eaten on the seventh day of the festivities) the very coveted Chinese new year brings with itself the dilemmas of ‘shengnu’ – otherwise known as the ‘leftover women’ in china. Particularly, at this time of the year, being single is abhorrent for the shengnu’s parents as well as their extended family members. As disparaging as the word ‘leftover women’ sounds (read: ‘leftover food’) the All China Women’s Federation website has taken lengths to define it. Officially, shengnu is a term used for educated, rich and professional females who are single at the age ...

Read Full Post

AIDS: Battle the disease, and the stigma

It has been almost 30 years since the symptoms of HIV/AIDS first presented themselves in 1981 in San Francisco and New York amongst young homosexual men; 27 years since the virus itself was discovered and in this time we have come a long way in figuring out how HIV spreads and what precautions to take. As far as treatment is concerned, leaps and bounds have been made and now people with the disease can live an (almost) normal life. But what has not changed in this time is the stigma attached with having the disease, the public perception and the public ...

Read Full Post