Stories about women

Lipstick Under My Burkha does not empower women; it only pits woman against woman – one of patriarchy’s best defences

A movie that was initially banned in India because it was too ‘women-oriented’ and led to a discussion on feminism and looking at women with their imperfections and sexual longings, was bound to be good. After all, it was set to create a revolution. But Lipstick Under My Burkha is anything but that. In actuality, it only hopes to inspire a sentiment of female empowerment, only to take you back to the chains towed by patriarchy, just like it eventually does to its protagonists. As the movie opens, we are introduced to the four protagonists – Bua ji (Ratna Pathak), Leela (Aahana Kumra), Shireen ...

Read Full Post

Why do I have to pretend to fast when my “monthly friend” is visiting?

I sit in the room at the end of the hallway. The door is closed. My head is bent. I am waiting to be called. I was six-years-old. I stood on the balcony with my mother, father and cousin as we tried to spot the chaand that would symbolise the start of Ramazan. I was excited. I was thrilled; there was nothing I wanted more than to fast for the entire month. I started singing, “Ramazan ke rozay aye, hum roza rakhna chahain!” (The month of fasting is here, and we wish to fast!) My cousin shared the same enthusiasm; he got up and began singing along with me. ...

Read Full Post

The Handmaid’s Tale is a form of activism and we love it!

The Handmaid’s Tale is a harrowing TV series set in Gilead, an oppressive totalitarian society where women, referred to as ‘handmaids’,  are not allowed to vote, to hold jobs, to read, or own property.  Their role is reduced to that of a child-bearer, and any form of retaliation against the regime is punishable by death.  The storyline is an exaggerated take on patriarchal societies in the developed world; nevertheless it rings close to the truth for regimes around the world. The story highlights the way in which totalitarian states have been able to oppress minorities and reprimand dissidents of the regime. Gilead, ...

Read Full Post

While a new day yields a new molester, our girls are still told it’s their fault

“It was my first day at work. I covered my head like a good Muslim, didn’t speak to the opposite gender unnecessarily, still somehow by the time I returned home, I had a few extremely vulgar text messages from unidentified numbers on my mobile. It shocked me because only a few family members had my new mobile number and I was 100% certain that it wasn’t a coincidence to receive such messages on my first day at work. I was frightened at the thought of someone at this new workplace having such a perception of me. That someone must have assumed I am ...

Read Full Post

Lindsay Lohan might be converting to Islam, but how is that our business?

A blogger posted a screenshot of Lindsay Lohan’s new Instagram bio. She had deleted all her posts and the bio read “Alaikum salam” which translates to “peace be unto you.” As a joke, I took a screenshot of the bio and put it up as my cover photo on Facebook. One of my friends asked in the comments,  “What?” Another one commented, “All she has to do is be herself.” Lindsay Lohan has been the poster child for Hollywood’s influence gone wrong on child stars. From her shopping habits, to friendships, to her drug addiction; everything about her has been considered public property. Her ...

Read Full Post

As a man, I stand by Karachi EAT festival’s “no stags” policy

Recently the management of the Karachi EAT food festival came under a lot of criticism over their ‘families only’ rule. Memes and jokes were made and circulated on social media and a lot of online activity was witnessed where young boys who prefer to move in groups and often dubbed as ‘munchalay’ were planning a crusade against the above mentioned rule. This sparked a debate between the men and women of the country as they argued over whether they are justified or not, and how discriminatory the rule is. Don't see any twitter feminist Jihadis complaining how a guy needs to enter KarachiEat with fam ...

Read Full Post

Have Muslim countries failed its women due to religious orthodoxy?

A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...

Read Full Post

Does it arouse you to watch someone getting raped, India?

Real videos of rape are being sold in Uttar Pradesh, India. For Rs20 to Rs300. No, this is not a joke. Really think about that for a second. The person you know or heard of, that girl? Who got raped? Yes, the video is of her being raped. Again. And again and again. By not one, not two but four people. Four people who take turns holding the shoddy camera phone with which they are recording their victim being torn apart – physically and mentally. They are clawing at her clothes, biting parts of skin that can be seen. Biting hard, until the ...

Read Full Post

Under attack again: When will our government stop tolerating banned outfits?

Another day, another tragedy in Quetta. The city has seen too many to be listed but the attack on Balochistan Police College that took at least 61 lives, is the third time in less than three months that terrorists have been successful. On August 8th, Quetta’s legal community was wiped out in a devastating bomb blast. Two months later, on October 5th, four Hazara Shia women were dragged from a public bus and shot dead on the road. Today we mourn the police cadets that were killed. Calling them martyrs will not help. They are dead. Dead like many, ...

Read Full Post

Change begins at home: Stop blaming France for the Burkini ban

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, religious policing of women’s bodies was the norm. I remember a time when my mother and I were casually strolling down Suwaiket street – one of the most busiest and populated areas in downtown Al-Khobar – when we suddenly witnessed the religious police, most commonly referred to as ‘mutawa’ (or mutaween for plural) approach a young woman, and angrily demanded that she cover up, as she wore the abaya (full Islamic body covering), with the scarf resting loosely around her shoulders, her face and hair bare. When the woman, who was too shocked to speak or didn’t comply right away, ...

Read Full Post