Stories about women empowerment

I’m masculine enough to admit that I love watching Pakistani dramas, are you?

Being the eldest in the family, I have always been very close to my mother. This is perhaps why I hold a keen interest in watching dramas. Usually, watching Pakistani dramas is seen as a “fluff” activity – something that is specific to women. But I remain unapologetic about being a drama buff and see no harm to it. Pakistani society, at large, is messed up about its values. We are okay with men being physically abusive, but we are not accepting when a woman answers us back. We proudly succumb to societal pressures and gender stereotypes, but we are not okay with a man being ...

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Pink: No, she does not want to have sex with ‘you’!

How do you break a woman who has the audacity to have a spine to stand up for herself? What does it take to knock her down if she has the gall and gumption to fight against all that’s wrong? How do you shut a girl who has the temerity to have a rational mouth on her? Well, you can’t! And B-Town has finally manifested the point in all its cinematic mightiness. In the prevailing culture of putrid patriarchy, if a female refuses to submit, it is considered as an attack on the male ego. You label her a slut, ...

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Ek Thi Marium – this is what empowerment looks like

Steering away from the melodramatic genre of our drama industry – which continually encircles around the ‘bechari aurat’ (oppressed woman) – projects like Ek Thi Marium attempt to bring about a much needed change showcasing the true meaning of the commonly misused term: woman empowerment. The project is a biopic of the first Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium Mukhtar, who was martyred whilst in the line of duty. The gripping narrative, crisp direction, and deep dialogues have made this telefilm both moving and inspirational; two qualities which our monotonous sagas continually lack. Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium MukhtarPhoto: Reuters Ek thi Marium narrates the story ...

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Actor In Law: Manmohan Desai’s brand of cinema

Let me admit that I did not know who Nabeel Qureshi was before entering the theatre to watch Actor In Law. I did not watch Na Maloom Afraad (2014), primarily because of its eerily similar appearance to Hera Pheri (2000), until I watched it a couple of weeks back. Nevertheless, the trailer of Actor In Law was intriguing despite, yet again, giving a similar feel to that of Govinda’s Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001), which was similar to Liar Liar (1997) of Jim Carey. I was intrigued because it’s not very often that you get a chance to see Om Puri in a Pakistani film. If Actor in Law was made 30 years ago, Amitabh ...

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Is it really the working class men who stop privileged women from ‘doing their own thing’?

Yesterday, we shared the Do Your Own Thing (DYOT) video with our take on it. The video was taken down last night, so our post has disappeared… along with all the shares made from this page. For the sake of the on-going discussion on social media right now, we are re-posting our comments again: This video has recently been shared a lot and the feelings many people expressed have been mixed. We think it is useful to talk more about it and add to the conversation. Firstly, kudos to these girls. This could not have been easy to do. We have to be ...

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The reactions to Qandeel’s death reveal no understanding of feminism in Pakistan

They call her a prostitute, a sex object, a joke and other degrading insults in an attempt to discredit her. They assume that because they deem her to be all of the above, she cannot at the same time be empowering women and/or herself. A fatal flaw is, thus, exposed in their argument in that she is struck down for what women (and men) across the world celebrate her for: her courage, tenacity and fire to be whoever she chose to be in a society that (literally) stifles freedom—especially freedom of expression. As I reflect upon this week, many voices ...

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Isn’t it about time the Pakistani government considered giving qualified stay-at-home parents jobs?

I had taken a hiatus from work due to my household responsibilities, but now that my children had started school and all else was well, I decided that it was the perfect time to start working again. I had my first job interview in five years and as I sat there waiting for my turn, I couldn’t help but feel rather uneasy looking around at the other candidates. They seemed to be more qualified individuals with updated resumes and a fiercely competitive knack about them. Clouds of doubt began to mar my enthusiasm. Perhaps I should have improved my qualifications before restarting my ...

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My teacher told me that if I didn’t cover my hair, Satan would urinate in it

I have always loved Sesame Street. It was the only children’s show, along with Fraggle Rock, that I eagerly watched as a little girl while growing up in Saudi Arabia. I especially love how culturally diverse the show is and how, through multicultural elements, it aims to teach young children the value of mutual acceptance and cross-cultural friendships. In a nutshell, the show is perfect in all aspects of what a children’s show is supposed to entail. So, it did not come as a surprise to me when I learned last week, through an Instagram photo a friend had tagged ...

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More power to the women and less to the dupatta

Recently, I came across an article that seemed to propagate the indispensable role of ‘dupattas’ in our ‘cultural dress code’. I was amused by the fact that the article, which stressed on preserving Pakistani culture, began with an Indian song featured in the movie Barsaat, which was released in 1949. If I’m not mistaken, it was sung by the famous Lata Mangeshkar. So much for celebrating our own culture. What was most appalling about the article was the fact that it was propagating the idea that men stare, ogle, and gawk at women because they do not cover themselves up with dupattas. It quoted ...

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How can I complain about men staring at me when I’m not wearing my dupatta?

“Hawa mein urtaa jaaye mera laal dupatta malmal ka!” This takes me back to a cherished childhood memory. My twin sister and I would use Ammi’s dupattas and sing this song, while dancing clumsily on our spacious terrace, as the dupattas flew behind us in the air. A dupatta was once considered as an integral part of our dress code, specifically in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The long, flowing scarves covered the women’s hair and chest, and were considered as a symbol of femininity. It used to differentiate our women from those belonging to the western society. Unfortunately, over the decades, the influx ...

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