Long live Pakistan Fashion Industry

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

PakTeaHouse has celebrated the courageous Pakistani woman from the girl in Swat to Tahira Abdullah’s valiant and emotional struggle,  from Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah’s life to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s ultimate sacrifice,  from SherryRahman to Mukhtaran Mai.    Yet it was a single harmless picture of leading Pakistani model Natty that elicited a rather ironic, high pitched and self righteous attack against PakTeaHouse.   First it was an accusation of “male chauvinism” and then “objectification of women”.   Finally PTH was castigated for not being feminist. 

For long I have personally wondered why for all Mullahs and those suffering from the ossified brain cell syndrome everything revolves around the dress of a woman?  What if a woman wants to look good?  What if Natty wants to look the way she does?  Does she not have a choice in the matter?  Can’t she do so without being subjected to lectures on either Islam or “objectification”?    The fact that she has managed to upset the author of the said post shows that she has harnessed well her femininity as a potent force against those who wish to control women for their power, honor, ideology and other such linguistic complications.

Why does PTH become either 1)unIslamic  or 2) unfeminist because it posted a single solitary picture of a good looking woman wearing a harmless party dress?     Perhaps people should set aside their dogmas and realize that most of what passes for intellectual analysis is merely a convolution of the language.    Check your ideology and religiousity at the door.

Meanwhile so as to stamp home the point that PTH will not be bullied into anything by Thekaydars of religiousity, Pinko-McCarthyism or those who want to oppress women in the name of honor, ideology or culture , I leave you with images from our vibrant and strong fashion industry that has kept aloft the flag of Pakistan. 

Fashion Industry Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad

 

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107 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

107 responses to “Long live Pakistan Fashion Industry

  1. Tanya

    Just something I picked up from the previous post on the same topic. To one of the comments, Mr. Hamdani has said that his views are his alone and not representative of PTH. So, Im just wondering how is it that this post by him can claim to tell the reader, what is it that PTH will indulge in or not?

  2. How about ‘Women Zindabad’ and ‘Feminism Zindabad’? Why bind womanhood in national and occupational identities?

  3. YLH

    Tanya,

    Well I am expressing my opinion as a contributor. If PTH does not agree with my assessment of PTH not giving into ideological onslaught by pinko-mcCarthies, PTH can and should disagree.
    I me my,

    I don’t have any ideological pretences nor a point to prove about how “feminist” I am.
    My point is that fashion industry is good and has done a lot of good for the country. That’s it.

    In other posts, I have said women zindabad and feminism paindabad but frankly in my opinion there is no relevance here.

  4. A straight man would obviously want women to ‘harness their femininity’, not for them to define themselves outside of the patriarchal construction of femininity.

    This post, which is a petty response to the one on my blog , is informed by a bad judgment on my analysis. My analysis emphasized women’s agency, and criticized ideologies, including the ‘liberal feminist’ ideology which is often hijacked by imperialist agendas.

    The article also talked about how the women question cannot be addressed within the narrow framework of ‘oppressed veiled woman’ versus ‘liberated modern woman in high heels’.

    This post here has nothing to do with women’s cause – it’s only eulogizing commercialism.

  5. lal

    after ur last post i googled for natty , ylh…but didnt find any images…any way thanks for the update…it really amazes me that u could come up with this sort of a post in these difficult times…
    as for the objections to the pictures,these sort of moral policing is on the rise on this side of the border too.u must have followed the recent incident in manglore where a new band of hooligans calling themselves sriramsena ,attacked women going to pubs….various acts like this takes place during valentines day too…the media here usually calls them indian taliban…may be u can call the moral brigade pakistan sriramsena
    ps: on these photos, i only found the middle one on the 2nd row ,really interesting.though ur idea while posting is not to come up with the most beautyful models,i expect something more if u intent to proceed in this manner again 🙂

  6. yasserlatifhamdani

    “free” (read “enslaved”) thinker,

    Since you called my response petty, allow me to say this… your entire article was nothing but an internalization of patriarchy which oozed out every single word you wrote. Tell me why is the Turkish headscarf- who you referred to self righteously as being more deserving of attention- some how less representative of patriarchy?

    You know full well that you article was crap .. check out the picture on my women’s day post for example… so at the very least your claim that PTH promotes just one kind of woman is just a lie and you know it. But then again objectivity, honesty etc are not your top priorities.

    If anything PTH has not defined anything in the framework of veiled v. high heels… only a dishonest crook will claim that. The real problem you have is with your own confusion vis a vis sexuality, gender image etc… now I support your right to be anything you want boy… but you should have the humanity to learn to tolerate the fact that it is the women who own their bodies and they have the right to wear whatever they want not you and I.

    Ok? Kapeesh? And yes this article is not about women’s liberation etc… but it is not about commercialism either. It is about putting little Mullahs like you in your place.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    Lal,

    The problem is with ideology and its thakaydars. In this particular case it was the Pinko-Taliban and the not the Islamist kind that objected.

  8. P.S: my reaction was not a moralistic one. The alternative images I give contain that of a woman choosing to reveal.

    I grew up around women in my village who would not have a problem with taking their kameezes off as they washed their clothes at ponds. If a man should come strolling by, they would yell out a formal ‘bhiraava idhro na takkee’ [brother don’t look here], but they so knew that they would not be heeded, and they would not give a damn.

    That, my friends, is feminist defiance of patriarchy, far from the faux defiance which embraces a highly sexualized femininity which only serves to titillate men and might not be very comfortable for the woman.

    Of course even such defiance does not do much in the way of ‘liberation’ because of the larger structures that prop up patriarchy – religion, capitalism, etc. – that are still in place.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Enslavedthinker,

    The problem with you is an intolerance of any and all expressions other than those that coincide with yours… good that you grew up women who hung out topless on the pond…. it didn’t do you much good apparently…

    But I am still at odds to understand why you have a problem with the expression of someone like Natty in Karachi or Lahore ?

    Live and let live. Don’t attack those people who defend your right to be whatever you want to be. Go fight your Mullah counterpart {{EDITED}}

  10. ylh:’they have the right to wear whatever they want’

    And that’s the reason why I defended the Turkish head-scarf.

    The inability to make the distinction between ‘femininity’ and ‘experience of womanhood’ is more the mark of confusion. Feminists have always lashed out against femininity as a patriarchal construct that serves men.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    “And that’s the reason why I defended the Turkish head-scarf.”

    So why do you have a problem with Natty wearing a party dress then? Did she threaten you in some way.

    “Feminists have always lashed out against femininity as a patriarchal construct that serves men.”

    I am not interested in your dogma and fiqhai masail. At the end of the day, you want to impose your view vis a vis what a woman should or shouldn’t wear… that makes you anti-feminist by any definition.

    Now keep tying yourself up in knots.

  12. Readers there was no mention of ‘Natty’ in my post. I have no problem against self-expression. My problem is with casting women as sex objects.

    But I suppose this post needed to misinterpret my criticism as criticism of ‘Natty’ because it served the author’s purpose.

    My criticism was about the way the author, in his last post, tried to show that women in the fashion industry represent an essentially ‘different’ face of Pakistan. I felt inclined to say that the author was not sympathetic towards feminism because of the way he responded to a comment that pointed out male chauvinism in the images he posted.

  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ha ha… another knot. You had a problem with the picture, didn’t you? Now you can go in circles all you want..

    Since now you are going to use my comment – made in jest and removed by Raza Rumi on Ali Arqam’s complaint- as a shield. Would you mind quoting what I said and how you drew this fantastic meaning from it?

    Interestingly the “images” posted by PTH had an introduction which spoke about Pakistan being a society existing simultaneously in many different eras … and was not a comment on feminism at all.

    Also please do feel free to explain why the lifestyle of Pakistani models or the party crowd does not show another face of Pakistan? Do only women who allegedly sit around a pond topless in your village have the right to be called “another face of Pakistan”.

  14. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS:

    Enslaved thinker

    I’ll spare you the effort – what I said was: “Ali mian
    If you would like PTH to post pics of underage boys from Bannu, that might not be possible…”

    How that has any implication on my allegedly anti-feminist views is anybody’s guess… meanwhile for all your big talk on patriarchy, you didn’t take any issue with Aliarqam’s chauvinistic patriarchal comment:

    “March 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm · Edit
    @Sorry YLH
    I dont know the pic depict your choices for you loved ones”

    I suppose such petty and shameless appropriation of “honor” and “culture” is not at all patriarchal and chauvinistic in your eye.

    This is your problem. Not only are you anti-feminist … but you are a hypocrite of the worst kind. Which is why you attack only those people like me who won’t denounce you for what you are other than ofcourse the hypocrisy that you display amply… never your opposite numbers in this endless battle of intolerance v. intolerance.

  15. There is no knot tying happening on this thread. Everything – including self-expression and a defense of those who choose to reveal – is there in the post I wrote. [The additional example I gave of the women in my village occurred to me after writing the post, and I was thinking of making a separate post out of it.] The writer of this post only wanted to create a strawman argument so he ignored or manipulated what was said in the post.

    There is also no ‘only’ in my post. My post speaks against sexualized images of women which only serve the patriarchy rather than defy it.

  16. And the writer shows another attempt at creating strawman arguments, interpreting my ignoring of Aliarqam’s comment as hypocrisy, and not thinking that sometimes even a feminist gets tired of shaking an angry fist at the patriarchy.

    Also, Aliarqam’s comment [and another after it] was part of the reason why I was inclined to write the post – the comments, and YLH’s inability to respond to it, confirmed my suspicions that these supposedly ‘liberatory’ images are always appropriated by the male gaze.

  17. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Enslavedthinker,

    1. You’ve been unable to prove how my comment that PTH will not post pictures of underage boys from Bannu is somehow indicative of any anti-feminist feeling.

    2. You chose to ignore the blatantly patriarchal statement by Ali Arqam… because you are a hypocrite.

    3. By choosing to dictate what should or shouldn’t be worn by women, you’ve proven yourself to be a Mullah.

    As for your first name last name argument… it reminded me of this argument by one of your brothers from another mother who wrote an Urdu column against me accusing me of not being respectful of Jinnah because I don’t call him Quaid-e-Azam. I have referred to Arundhati Roy as “Roy”, “Ms. Roy”, “Arundhati Roy” and “Arundhati”… so your pathetic little attempt there to is indicative of the Mullah mindset which seeks to make strawman fallacies which is all you are good at doing.

    Now some of us have real things to attend to … like the Long March… while you can go on splitting hair.

  18. Qandeel

    Lol its modelling for crying out loud – of course its “objectifying”! Catwalking or posing for cameras is saying “Come, ogle me. (While I promote some unoriginal, gay Pakistani designer’s half-bred sense of fashion and beauty.)” My problem remains with the fashion – it’s stupid – we don’t want such “fashion” to “long live”! There ought to be a long march against it.

    PS. Its a bit silly to use modelling pictures to debate Pakistani women’s right to wear what they want, or to show the different faces of Pakistan.

  19. “In other posts, I have said women zindabad and feminism paindabad but frankly in my opinion there is no relevance here”

    …. my mistake to have inferred that you were specifically referring to the Fashion Industry as it applied to women in Pakistan; the pictures posted all happened to be female and that perhaps further threw me off!

  20. yasserlatifhamdani

    I say… Fashion is good. Fashion rocks.

    No other pretences about women’s rights… but the general human right of these women to indulge in fashion… without either the shrieking Mullahs or the obese and unfit types telling them otherwise.

  21. yasserlatifhamdani

    And on another… CJP’s restoration must really bother the Pinko-brigade.

  22. Zia Ahmad

    Two things.

    Firstly, fashion models pretty much stand in for commercial objects. And we are not even getting to the feminist ‘active male gaze and passive female object’ theory here. The fashion business is fundamentally founded on principles of making lots and lots of money. Tangible goods are sold on strength of intangible glamour and beauty. I would really like to see a Marxist Socialist fashion show. “What if a woman wants to look good? What if Natty wants to look the way she does?”. There is nothing wrong with what Yasser Hamdani asks. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect and borderline misogynist, I can safely vouch for other men when I say a goodlooking woman deserves to be appreciated, and men have no objections to howsoever Natty wants to look (unless they are the kind of people the writer keeps on yelling at). On the contrary, it is quite pleasurable: a visual pleasure where Ms Natty plays the object.

    I find the kind of courage displayed through this kind of objectification to be somewhat different shown by women the writer mentions in the opening line to his article. For some if not most of the people, machinations of fashion industry mark a considerable low in cerebral activity. In other words, it’s dumb and makes people stupid, fickle and shallow. Here I acknowledge that what I just said is somewhat generalized, a tad bit unfair and lends me an unnecessary opinionated disposition, which takes me to the second point.

    I have observed that Yasser Hamdani has displayed little restraint and patience in responding to criticisms and has a tendency to project highly opinionated views. Judging from the argumentative episodes in the comment section, what is clear is Yasser Hamdani’s disproportionate response to freethinker’s criticism. The writer’s insistence on addressing freethinker as “enslaved thinker” is petty indeed. Nobody takes jabs at the writer’s own three lettered branded moniker. It is just not this particular instance where Yasser Hamdani goes for below the belt. In his outright indignation hurled towards India in association with slums; his usage of mild expletives; and ultimately what can be termed as an utter disregard for informed, weighed analysis and critique which to the misfortune of others, runs counter to Yasser Hamdani’s own opinions.

    Frankly, Mr Hamdani’s overly argumentative temperament grows tiresome after a while and does no service to PTH’s “endeavour to revive the culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance”. It saddens me to say that he risks not to be taken seriously if he keeps on with his firebrand flourishes, considering his obvious talents. On the one hand, he has styled an impressive profile on Wikipedia, and has been mentioned in a notable US publication, but on the other, he tangles himself up in superfluous and convoluted verbal skirmishes (mostly of his own makings) one wishes he would just plain grow up!

  23. YLH

    Dear Zia,

    Your denunciation is unfair. My suggestion is – as it is to all interactors- to judge me on how my interaction with you.

    Your assumption is that this is a one off interaction between enslavedthinker and myself. Enslavedthinker has a history of targetting people who don’t hit back at their sexuality etc instead of those who really oppress him.

    Grant me this- judge me on how I have behaved with you instead of basing your opinions on the “comment section” the history of which you may not know.

    I only gave as good as I got.

  24. YLH

    PS. You will no doubt appreciate that my moniker does not lay a self righteous claim on having a monopoly on “freethinking”.

    The enslavedthinker’s references to the “author” in his ill-thought out and pointless piece deserved much harsher language than I have used here.

  25. The Real Freethinker

    Stick it to them ylh. And an excellent description of their “hogwash” as “linguistic complication” and “convolution of the language”.

  26. Milind Kher

    YLH,

    All the fashion show pics are really good. The people are beautiful and so are the dresses.

    Some of them are a little bold, but surely would not be classified as vulgar.

    Good to see liberalism increasing.

  27. whatever

    I am sick of this categorization of mullahs…

  28. alokk

    milind kher why do you stick out your neck with silly comments

  29. Zia Ahmad

    Yasser,
    I’m sorry if my remarks offended you in any way. But I based my observations upon a pattern that puts you in a less than flattering light. I admit that this pattern emerged in the “comment section” rather than a bigger picture which I’m sure would call for a more objective reaction from any reader. Nevertheless, the comment section is a public forum – open for all to study and participate in. Arguments aimed at particular persons, then, should be restricted to private correspondences in order to keep opinions from less-informed readers (like myself) at bay.

    Provided the full breadth of your verbal exchanges with freethinker, Salman Hussain or any other individual, I might revise my estimation of any given account. But these incomplete tid bits are all that are to be examined. Consequently I’ve observed that no matter how ill-reasoned your opponents’ reasoning may actually be, they sure do present it a way that would suggest otherwise. The reason I am taking the pains to put forward this remark and the previous one, is because as a published writer who commands more readership than an average blogger, in addition to being someone who forwards his viewpoint with obvious conviction and talent, you have a certain responsibility. It is not about me judging you. I also don’t claim to be a vigilante reader who assigns unto himself the self-righteous duty to keep writers in check. It is what it is, a simple observation borne out of a number of instances that displayed a lack of calm on your part, but a clear restraint by those with whom you are arguing.

    Next time you might want to provide a “history” that other readers may not know of, or keep your battles out of readers’ comments to avoid inviting their ill-informed evaluations.

    Aap ka khairkhuwa
    Zia

  30. What, pray tell, is new about an elite segment of Pakistan doing what it will and having all kinds of freedoms? I am not against fashion and modeling per se but I definitely am against * enlightened liberals* posing the same as the *progressive* face of Pakistan.

    First of all progress is not about the elite but the real people, the masses. (And in that sense women partaking in service jobs such as in restaurants and on Daewoo buses in business-like, practical uniforms, as I was pleased to see during a recent visit to my homeland after a gap of 7 years, is more of a real change).

    Second, progress is about improving the “human condition”. So many people mistake feminism as, as Steinem puts it, women wanting “to be men – after all what could be better than that! But we never said that – that we want to be like men! We want to be more like people and we want men to be more like people and share ALL of the human qualities”

    Freethinker, I believe, far from being a bigoted mullah, is making an effort to expose the causes and effects of human power structures.

    It is not incomprehensible why and that women too, will play into patriarchy. The systematic, timeless oppression of women makes them lash out by either connivance with the system against fellow women (mother-in-laws oppressing daughter-in-laws, women cutting the ground out from under fellow women) as the only means of garnering some power and importance for themselves OR by playing up their “femininity” to seek power over men.

    I am not against self-expression or women wanting to look beautiful and taking pleasure in it. What I cringe at is *liberal* men seeing this “oh so approvingly” as an ALL IMPORTANT step towards womens liberation.

    Much more important is to realize that the at the root of this are oppressive power structures that must be questioned. The wonderful and remarkably successful *dirty dissent* of Indian women sending “ink panties” to Ram Sena is much more meaningful than Bollywood. And the average successful, liberated, educated, independent Indian woman (as an example – the same is true of Pakistani or any other women) in her simple jeans, chappal and kurta is a far more real liberal than a super thin, super sexy decked out model.

  31. *pink panties* not *ink panties* although other stains are welcome and even meaningful, given the context! 🙂

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    Zia,

    You’ve the right to your own opinion. You may not find them ill-reasoned but I do. Consequently my reaction.

    Incidentally, my exchange with Mr. Hussain was most polite. It was he who got offended and started calling me all sorts of names – including jackass, a-hole etc – because I expressed my point of view that a certain stacy’s white, western, convert credentials don’t mean much. Many of these offensive comments were later taken off by Raza Rumi. Some of them are still there. It is really not my fault that my “offensive” reaction is not as foul-mouthed as to be removed but that of my detractors is.Finally if you don’t find anything “ill-reasoned” with enslavedthinker’s comment that we are only presenting commercialism in wake of the over all coverage that PTH has given women from all walks of life, then I have no choice but to say or that I am “anti-feminist” because I called Arundhati Roy “Arundhati”- let us agree to disagree.

    Frankly I don’t agree with you nor do I have the time to convince you any further. You are free to avoid my articles like the plague (infact I strongly recommend that you do) in the future since you clearly didn’t like a very reasonable suggestion that you base your opinion of me on the basis of our interaction alone.

    Have a good day.

  33. Finally, some awareness of the issues I’m trying to point to!

    ‘What I cringe at is *liberal* men seeing this “oh so approvingly” as an ALL IMPORTANT step towards womens liberation.’ – That’s what I felt too.

    ‘fashion models pretty much stand in for commercial objects. And we are not even getting to the feminist ‘active male gaze and passive female object’ theory’ – Thank you Zia for not calling feminism a dogma. I liked what you said about Natty wanting to play the object, and in that sense, objectification would not be politically incorrect as men could want to play sexual objects too.

    Since this thread has been about discussing my post as well, I’d like to also remind everyone that the purpose of my piece was NOT just to discuss fashion. I also criticized the way women are dragged into discourses of conflicting ideologies – why does the debate between Modernism and Traditionalism have to be settled by the question of oppression of women?

    Also, an observation: YLH always wants to reduce everything I write to personal issues:
    ‘…has a history of targetting people who don’t hit back at their sexuality etc instead of those who really oppress him.’

    The last time around I dared to criticize, I was reduced to ‘confusion’, ‘a 21 year old kid’, and ‘rich kid who’s wasting time at a place like BNU or LSE’

    Of course ‘Mullah’ is by far the worst, and the most ill-informed.

  34. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mian enslavedthinker,

    In my opinion, you are nothing but a Mullah… and your “feminism” is nothing but a dogma.

    At the end of the day you want to impose your will on how women should or shouldn’t dress because of some deep seated inadequacy issues. This makes you a Mullah … just of a different dogma than Islam. The rest of your well “reasoned” arguments are something any third rate post modernism generator can produce.

    And I am not the one who brought “personal issues” into it. You are the one who makes a mockery of everything by bringing your sexual orientation, effeminate credential… and at the end of it all- how you were persecuted for being all these things… when I never persecuted you nor would I.

    “Dared to criticize”

    You didn’t “criticize”… you pretty much distorted everything I said and made a whole lot of strawman fallacies… full of personal jabs at me. I responded by pointing out the obvious inaccuracies. But unable to answer vis a vis the substance you took one word “pinko” and decided that it was an attack on your sexuality (something you ironically could not prove from any of the dictionary meanings that existed of the word) … from then on it has been about how everyone in the world is out to get you for being gay.

    If you don’t want this to come out … stop hiding behind your sexual orientation everytime you can’t argue logically.

  35. The Real Freethinker

    Zia,

    Don’t you think Freethinker’s first post on the natie article itself shows that he has his own axe to grind against Mr.Hamdani?

    ylh,

    “Post modernism generator”

    Now that was a scream.

  36. Aisha Sarwari

    Freethinker,

    Your post is pathetic on may counts. Mostly because you don’t know what you are talking about. And you know who you are.

    The fashion industry world over nests many ills, from eating disorders to lesser evils like coat hanging shallowness.

    But at no point did the Pakistani fashion industry do antying less than political. Not only does this industry maintain a certain standard for heathy bodyweight but these women are not your bloody belly exposing nitwits. They are women entrepreneurs. Vaneeza Ahmed has a line of lawn labels in her name. Eman Ali, ZQ and others are perhaps better earners than the top Ceo’s in the country’s corporate world. Many like Natty produce and act in culturally uplifting TV dramas on issues of violence against women and the evils of Dowry for instance.

    These women are not just a face on a billboard of Lux. They motivate men who are custodians of honor and religion to emerge late in the night and dip sponges in black paint to sling it across many yards to blacken their beautiful faces. Why do you suppose this is so prevalent? And what is the difference between that act of vandalism and what is being done here in the cyber world?

    You tarnish their intellegence by stepping in to think on their behalf. Don’t they know, or have awareness of the concept of objectification? Or have you considered that they don’t give two hoots the irrelevance of how many men they become objects of fancy for?

    Don’t undermine the power of a woman’s beauty to create utter disorder in society, to corrupt and disturb those who take comfort in the fact that they don’t have to cannge status quo in their domestic lives.

    These women are not in Vogue. Though they can be. They are the nightmares that keep Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Fazlur Rahman and Sufi Muhammad up at night.

    It is terribly sad that we are too terrified of them to see they are nothing short of national assets.

    Aisha Sarwari

  37. Zia Ahmad

    My initial comment started out with a differing opinion than that posited by the writer. Others had made similar attempts (nods to Sista, freethinker and Qandeel), and the writer resolutely sticks to his opinion, as he should. Of course, the writer is easily given to provocation. Rather than employing cold empirical reasoning, which he insists he does, he harks on to red faced antics going for the personal and dispatching condescending remarks. Yasser Hamdani’s brand of reasoning in this context is not far away from knee-jerk reactionary tics. He hastily brands his “detractors” as Mullahs which frankly strikes to me as super naïve simplification. This may as well be a blurry indicator of a “they vs. me” justification for the writer that only gives credence to his propensity to take criticism personally.

    It is unfortunate that the real debate on the validity of Pakistan fashion business as a true cultural trope and representation of female images, is forsaken for the flurry of red-faced “Mullah” bashing. Yasser Hamdani may well not reply to this comment, it is not warranted.

    @ The Real free Thinker:

    Even if freethinker had his own axe to grind against Yasser, like I said in my first comment, he was responded to in a disproportionate manner.

    A little bit of humility and modesty goes a long way.

  38. I really hate indulging you guys here, but I hate getting dissected, so…

    YLH, I wrote the post not out of personal reason, but because I had a problem with:

    A. Your jeering at someone who connected these pictures with ‘male chauvinism’
    B. Your mention of ‘underage boys from Bannu’, which, though I restrained from mentioning on my post, was also a deeply offensive remark – why is it that you said ‘underage boys from Bannu’ instead of ‘Pakistani male models?’
    C. The promotion of commercialism on PTH, which it claims to be against
    D. Your dismissing my criticism as ‘splitting hairs’. If you thought my criticism of your referring to Arundhati Roy as Arundhati was unfair, you should have said something like: ‘I’m aware of this issue you point to, and I’m sorry I came off as colluding with this bit of misogyny, but I’m not, as you can see if you go through my other posts’. No, you dismissed it as ‘splitting hairs’ – something I think is the fate of gender issues in all political forums. [I also have a problem with CMKP on this – I’ve talked abt that on my blog]
    E.Your inability to stop the objectifying remarks on the thread that came later.
    F.Politicization of women’s bodies
    G.And, yes, the fashion industry which promotes the construct of femininity in the name of empowerment.

    P.S: It’s really unfortunate that you still haven’t understood that language is not just about dictionary meanings.

  39. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Zia,

    I don’t understand what it is that you trying to drive home? I am reactionary, hot headed, emotional? But then that is not the reason you are wasting so much time on someone like me?

    Let us use some “empirical reasoning” shall we?
    Could you point out where I have branded you a “Mullah” when your post is quite clearly I don’t agree with… If not then by “empirical reasoning” you’ve proven yourself wrong. And you mentioned Qandeel and Sista… please feel free to quote what some of the ” red faced antics going for the personal and dispatching condescending remarks” that I might have addressed to them.

    Now that is 3 out of 4 right here … by empirical reasoning it stands to reason that you don’t have a point. I am willing to listen to your obviously constructive feedback… but so far you seem to be hoist your own petard.

  40. I do own up to having a grudge against the English-speaking ‘rational’ moderns in Pakistan who fail to talk about religion and gender issues adequately, who are obsessed with the ‘free market’ and sometimes appear to promote nationalism. I’m sorry I project that grudge onto you.

  41. yasserlatifhamdani

    A. Your jeering at someone who connected these pictures with ‘male chauvinism’”

    And this would be the same person who produced possibly the worst patriarchal comment on that board which you still haven’t denounced… you know the one where I – as the male of the family- have to keep my women in check or dictate to them my choice … reference Ali Arqam’s comment about “your loved one’s choice”. Again- my comment was in a context.

    “B. Your mention of ‘underage boys from Bannu’, which, though I restrained from mentioning on my post, was also a deeply offensive remark – why is it that you said ‘underage boys from Bannu’ instead of ‘Pakistani male models?’”

    Because PTH can and should post Pakistani male models. And because PTH – I believe- does not condone pedophillia.

    “C. The promotion of commercialism on PTH, which it claims to be against”

    The post spoke of Pakistan being a society in collision with itself… the party girl v. the taliban. It was not a promotion of “fashion” or “commercialism”… till you made an issue about that and I tackled it in the abovementioned post.

    “D. Your dismissing my criticism as ’splitting hairs’. If you thought my criticism of your referring to Arundhati Roy as Arundhati was unfair, you should have said something like: ‘I’m aware of this issue you point to, and I’m sorry I came off as colluding with this bit of misogyny, but I’m not, as you can see if you go through my other posts’. No, you dismissed it as ’splitting hairs’ – something I think is the fate of gender issues in all political forums. [I also have a problem with CMKP on this – I’ve talked abt that on my blog]”

    I don’t care what you have or haven’t spoken about on your blog. My reference to Arundhati Roy as Arundhati is not a reflection of my disrespect for her as a woman anymore than my alleged “disrespect” for Mr. Jinnah according to Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui because I don’t always use the word “Quaid-e-Azam”. I have used varyingly Arundhati Roy, Ms. Roy and Arundhati. So your comment is splitting hair because you are merely trying to fit me in a compartment because that is all you know.

    “E.Your inability to stop the objectifying remarks on the thread that came later.”

    Freedom of speech buddy… criticize the objectifying remarks instead of criticizing my “inability”.

    “F.Politicization of women’s bodies”

    You claim to follow an ideology that does exactly that… puh-lease.


    “G.And, yes, the fashion industry which promotes the construct of femininity in the name of empowerment.”

    That is your opinion and you may express it. Fashion industry in my opinion is net positive and I stick by my opinion.

  42. yasserlatifhamdani

    “I do own up to having a grudge against the English-speaking ‘rational’ moderns in Pakistan who fail to talk about religion and gender issues adequately, who are obsessed with the ‘free market’ and sometimes appear to promote nationalism. I’m sorry I project that grudge onto you.”

    Well thank you for admitting it. You are obviously wrong in projecting that personal grudge… or holding it for that matter … in any event it is misplaced when directed at me.

    For one thing, I think I have spoken more about religion and the need to reform it than anyone else and definitely you. You may read my continuing “Looking for an Islamic Reformation” series. Same goes for gender issues… if by gender issues you mean women’s empowerment, education and equality… but some of us have done this without indulging in mock rhetoric and linguistic complication … which at the end of the day amounts to didley squat. I mean I have taken the Women Studies courses and the gender theory etc etc at college but these things are relevant where all women first atleast have the right to come out of the house unhindered and be part of the workforce. So please spare me… I think your approach to the subject is inadequate and at the very least unproductive.

    Not there is anything wrong with it, but I am certainly not obsessed with “free market” but I don’t consider the dogma of marxism necessarily infallible either. As for “nationalism”… I frankly am confused about this concept and can’t offer much. I would ofcourse like to see Pakistan progress in a certain direction and in a certain way… but apparently nationalism has other connotations I can’t agree with.

    You would go a long way in realizing that the world doesn’t fit neatly into the categories you want it to fit in.

    “I hate getting dissected”

    Everyone does. So stop doing it.

  43. The Real Freethinker

    Zia,

    Now it looks like you too have a personal grudge against him because all I see is a lot of restraint on his part and lack of calm on yours.

  44. yasserlatifhamdani

    “It’s really unfortunate that you still haven’t understood that language is not just about dictionary meanings”

    Yes I am learning a lot of that these days. In an email communication I recently used the word “gofer” as it used in the US – to mean an employee who runs errands.

    The poor guys launched a official complain accusing me of calling them “goofers” (whatever the hell that means) and then “cleverly misspelling” it in a “lawyerly” fashion.

    I suppose this is what happened vis a vis pinko on this board as well.

  45. Shaistapth

    This Ezine is nothing more than a cynic Lawyer.s Show…..I am amazed,what it has written on the Editoria; Policy is a complete Contrast…..
    A liberal,Ethnic Panjabi who has given the previlige by the editor to bring everyone who oppose him to his own procusterean bed and do what he want
    I wish to remind……..with the hope that my comments will not be deleted by the sole contributor Cynic Hamdani

  46. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ha ha ok!

    Assuming that is true, so what are you, zia, “freethinker” and others going to do about that?

    Also… please do tell how many times your comments have been “censored” by “cynical moderator hamdani”.

  47. Shaistapth

    YLH Comments

    “E.Your inability to stop the objectifying remarks on the thread that came later.”

    Freedom of speech buddy… criticize the objectifying remarks instead of criticizing my “inability”.

    Contradictions….

    yasserlatifhamdani
    March 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Alokkk mian,
    I hope that unlike your billion posts deleted by PTH, this one stays as an example of the mental and pyschological impact anything positive from Pakistan has on you.

  48. Ali Arqam Durrani

    @Sorry YLH
    I dont know the pic depict your choices for you loved ones”

    I Apologize YLH for these Comments…
    But wanna clear
    It was just a quick reaction to YLH comments of Bannu Underage Boys….
    Sorry Raza Bhai,Freethinker and Sherry…
    Ali Arqam Durrani

  49. yasserlatifhamdani

    shaista,

    Alokkk mian is a habitual offender who resorts to choicest vocabulary of insults. It is for this reason that PTH is forced to remove him (in the process I am made to look bad because my in kind comments do not fit the deletion criterion)

    My question remains… how many of your comments have been deleted here?

  50. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mr. Durrani,

    I stick by my comment: PTH – I believe- will not put up pictures of underage boys from Bannu.

  51. Shaistpth

    I am a new visitor and U look Cynic to write Enslaved thinker to someone claimed as freethinker

  52. Ali Arqam Durrani

    Ok….Who want PTH to do so….
    I have said nothing except my view of these things as male chauvinism……What do U think A person who belongs to Pakhtunkha will be fond of the pics of Underage boys from Bannu????

  53. Your critique of religion and gender isn’t radical enough YLH, but I don’t want to discuss that here.

  54. Don’t have time to respond to everything, but here goes what I think is necessary to point out…

    ” So your comment is splitting hair because you are merely trying to fit me in a compartment because that is all you know.”

    Darling I wasn’t fitting you in a compartment – in the comment I made on the earlier post, the comment you dismissed for splitting hairs, I referred to the general pattern of misogyny – a lot of people used to say ‘Hillary vs. Obama’.

    “F.Politicization of women’s bodies”

    You claim to follow an ideology that does exactly that… puh-lease.”

    Pray tell what that ideology is? My post did no such thing as prescribing what women should do – it only criticized the promotion of femininity [by male bloggers in this particular case], that is, what ‘sista’ put as “*liberal* men seeing this [femininity] “oh so approvingly” as an ALL IMPORTANT step towards womens liberation.”

  55. Zia Ahmad

    Yasser bhai,
    Here’s the thing, I see there is bit of misunderstanding going on here. Let’s run them down one by one.

    1. I agree you never called me Mullah for contradicting you, for which I am grateful. Others have been not that lucky. In all honesty I just feel that you brandish the term Mullah loosely and where the term of a bigot religious zealot would be more up to the mark, you tend to generously apply it too eagerly to the detractors. So here you win one empirical reason (ER) point.

    2. No, I never implied that you directed any sort of condescending or personal remark towards Qandeel and Sista. I was simply agreeing with their stance on the topic. You didn’t lift a finger on them. You clearly misread me. No ER points for you.

    3. As for me having a point that is worthy enough to be addressed. I think I have been trying to do that (in vain) for the last couple of posts. Your response goes for the personal, in case of freethinker in this particular context. As an objective reader I find it unfair on your part. I find it too exhaustive to compile a count of your provocations against him and vice versa but I have gone through freethinker’s posts as well as his blog. I couldn’t help noticing a clear imbalance of personally directed remarks. As for freethinker’s “history of attacking people” and “ill thought out and pointless piece”…please direct me to it for it is constantly referred to but never elaborated upon without use of personal insults.
    No ER points to be awarded here.

    4. The root of the “conflict”, the article itself. The human mind has a remarkable ability to digress, please agree with me on this one. Rather than furnishing an exhaustive account of what I did not agree with your article (that merits a whole reactionary article on its own), I’d simply direct you to Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure theory for you to connect the dots. It’s just a theory and anyone can dismiss it claiming one can give any sort of meaning one wants to.
    I forfeit my ER point.

    In summation Yasser saab, I have been only objecting to the way a healthy debate is conducted. You are a lawyer and clearly are good at forming arguments. I stand by my objections as I should and you must stand by your convictions. It’s a democracy, albeit a shaky one, so let’s agree to disagree (I’m aware that you said that first) and let it be at that.

    P.S: I shall disregard your advice and continue to read your posts and keep on forwarding my comments where required. A writer deserves that so I hope you’d be less touchy in the future.

  56. Now this post was a refreshing critique of my one-sided view of the fashion industry, and the way I downplayed its importance in my post: [posting it here again cuz its worthy of repetition]

    “The fashion industry world over nests many ills, from eating disorders to lesser evils like coat hanging shallowness.

    But at no point did the Pakistani fashion industry do antying less than political. Not only does this industry maintain a certain standard for heathy bodyweight but these women are not your bloody belly exposing nitwits. They are women entrepreneurs. Vaneeza Ahmed has a line of lawn labels in her name. Eman Ali, ZQ and others are perhaps better earners than the top Ceo’s in the country’s corporate world. Many like Natty produce and act in culturally uplifting TV dramas on issues of violence against women and the evils of Dowry for instance.

    These women are not just a face on a billboard of Lux. They motivate men who are custodians of honor and religion to emerge late in the night and dip sponges in black paint to sling it across many yards to blacken their beautiful faces. Why do you suppose this is so prevalent? And what is the difference between that act of vandalism and what is being done here in the cyber world?

    You tarnish their intellegence by stepping in to think on their behalf. Don’t they know, or have awareness of the concept of objectification? Or have you considered that they don’t give two hoots the irrelevance of how many men they become objects of fancy for?
    […]
    These women are not in Vogue. Though they can be. They are the nightmares that keep Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Fazlur Rahman and Sufi Muhammad up at night. ”

    The part that I omitted as […] mentioned the ‘power of a woman’s beauty’ as something good. This ‘power of a woman’s beauty’ is a faux – it’s not a real power, like the power that comes with male privilege. Moreover, this ‘power’ is just part of the rape and honour killing culture. True, the woman becomes a worship-worthy object by this ‘power’, but by becoming that object, the woman also becomes an asset to be possessed [and raped]. This ‘power’ can lend itself to the important use of creating disorder, as Sarwari points out, but such a ‘use’ will only be beneficial for those with wealth and clout. Until the sham of femininity is exposed, this power is no good for the many underprivileged women who are taken out of schools, beaten, acid-attacked, and even killed for the use of this power.

    All the same, the fact remains that the fashion industry damages the average Pakistani woman’s self-esteem, for who, the glamor is hopelessly out of reach. Even the ideal of feminine beauty and power alienates the fat, the flat-chested, the bigger-jawed, the acne-ridden, etc. There are far less constrictive standards for men.

  57. YLH

    Zia,

    Your claim was that I attack everyone who disagrees with me and call them a mullah.

    However by “empirical reasoning” the fact that I didn’t attack Qandeel or Sista or you, your entire point has fallen flat on its face. The issue between me and enslavedthinker is an old one.

    Now as far directing you somewhere is concerned-why? All I am saying is thank you for your advice but no thanks. Dispense your valuable advice to someone else and take up an issue with me when I attack you. No need to resort to “jehad” on behalf of others when you have no “empirical” evidence for their plight and when they are able to defend themselves.

    Enslavedthinker,

    I don’t care if my critique is not “radical” enough for you. In my opinion you are not radical at all- especially with your defence of patriarchy of the hijab. Indeed you attack the “English speaking liberal class” because you are mortally afraid of what the Mullahs might do to you if you attack them. You make issues out of non-issues because you know that the “English speaking liberal class” will not come and burn you at the stake. I’d rather you said thank you instead of going in circles about how you are more radical than I. Atleast from the vantage point I sit at- you are a coward who hides behind a moniker and attacks the very people who could’ve been his allies. This doesn’t make you radical- I frankly nothing but contempt for you.

    My suggestion- as it is to your friend Mr. Zia Ahmed is- is to stop wasting your time reading my posts.

  58. YLH

    Ali Arqam Durrani sb,

    Thanks for the apology but you’ve missed the point as usual.

    1. There is nothing wrong with what Natty is wearing.

    2. I don’t have a right or a choice or locus standi in determining what my “loved ones” – I am assuming you meant womenfolk of my household- should wear.

    It is the failure of enslavedthinker to take issue with your obviously misogynistc and patriarchal mindset that is bothersome.

  59. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS to Zia

    Another name you threw in was Salman Hussain. Ironic because Salman Hussain and I have almost identical views… and not differing ones as you alleged.

    After urging me restraint against Indians which I accepted, Salman one day went completely bonkers when I told an interactor (tracy or stacy) that her white western convert credentials were irrelevant to the discussion. It was he who started abusing me… many of his abusive posts had to be edited or deleted. The said exchange can be found at the tail end of this comments section: https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/imran%e2%80%99s-pakistan/#comments

    Now most of you “urging restraint” types often end up resorting to the choicest abuse when you don’t get your way. But in Salman Hussain’s case, I suspect it was his testosterone getting the better of him.

    So on the scale of “empirical reasoning” that is 4 out 5 … against you.

  60. Sigh… YLH you have got it all so wrong.

    I do attack the Mullahs on my blog. In fact, I see YOU as pandering to the religious right. But like I said, I don’t wanna open my mouth about Islam here on PTH, because Raza edited them the last time.

    Also, I do not defend the imposition of hijab. I have talked about this on my blog, that I find all standards of femininity a problem – and that includes the Islamic femininity constructed as modesty, expressed through the hijab.

    The reason why I referred to the headscarf in my post is because I defended the right of women to express themselves through whatever means they want. It was also meant to imply that women CAN wear skimpy party dresses, because ‘liberation has little to do with clothes’, but you missed that implication.

  61. By the way I find it really unfortunate that you have little understanding of the headscarf issue in Turkey.

    AHRC just did a story on it – pasting a link here…
    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/03/14/headscarves-wrong-battle

    Go read it – you might find it helpful.

  62. Would clear to point one more thing out, since I have gotten drawn into this discussion:

    You said “Yet it was a single harmless picture of leading Pakistani model Natty that elicited a rather ironic, high pitched and self righteous attack against PakTeaHouse. ”

    It wasn’t just the pic of ‘Natty’ – it was both the pictures that I had a problem with under the context of the post. You really didn’t bother reading my post, did you?

  63. correction “Would *like* to point one more thing”

  64. Aisha Sarwari

    Freethinker,

    “this power is no good for the many underprivileged women who are taken out of schools, beaten, acid-attacked, and even killed for the use of this power.”

    So your argument is that because there are crimes against women, largely the women in the fashion industry are responsible. Because perhaps they set the beauty standard so high.

    You should really take an argument and advocacy class.

    Aisha Sarwari

  65. Zia Ahmad

    Sigh,
    Yasser, we can trust you to bend and distort one little point out of proportion and perspective. I had already gone through your tussle with Salman on the Imran Khan post and yes was disappointed in him as well for his behavior. Though back then, as I do now, viewed it as a man pushed to the end of his rope. Turns out he is as easy to provoke as you are at times. Or maybe that’s the kind of effect you have on people.

    But that is beside the point. As for your bone with freethinker, like I said way way earlier, which was one of my initial contention (other than the Natty and co. adulation) if you have a score to settle with him take it outside of the comments section. Lambaste him all you want in your private correspondences or put up a seperate post away from inviting everybody else’s scrutiny and undue interferences such as the “urging restraint’ kind of chaps like me which you find so unfair.

    As for the empirical reasoning points, make up as many as you want to for yourself. The whole empirical reasoning thing that you seem to have obsessed yourself with was in reference to your Natty article rather than personal bloodletting. But I certainly didn’t clarify the point or the context it should be taken in, when I posted it first so wouldn’t blame you for running away with it as you do. Neither have I resorted “to the choicest abuse” other than notifying my objections and being generally respectful. By keeping a count of “empirical reasoning” against me you are indulging in a pissing contest, which I wish to take no part of. I have registered my observations.

    And yes I admit I was a little disrespectful up there with the contest remark.

    Have a nice life.

  66. That wasn’t my argument Sarwari. I know you want to, and I know that you, like YLH, are good at it, but please stop trying to make what I say what it’s not.

    What you quoted was my attempt to show how the ‘power of feminine beauty’ cannot be a feminist ideal.

  67. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Enslavedthinker,

    1. If I pander to the religious right and not you (the self styled defender of the Hijab), how come they attack me and not you? The religious right attacks me because I question their monopoly over it. They don’t attack you because you accept their inherent right over religion- after all you are the defender of the “Turkish Headscarf”. Why would they attack you? I am sure you get along well with your local chapter of the Jamiat.

    2. The headscarf is a far worse tool of domination and patriarchy than the party dress that you’ve taken umbrage to. I don’t need to nor do I want to know anything about what HRW says about it. I for one am for everyone to wear whatever they want… but don’t expect me to agree with you when you describe the right to wear the Hijab a feminist (as opposed to a religious freedom) issue.

    “feminist ideal”

    Would you be kind enough to inform us on this blog what your locus standi is vis a vis the feminist movement? Hatred for the “feminine” cannot be “feminist” by simple occam’s razor.

    Aisha,

    Well said. Enslavedthinker’s argument is beginning to sound increasingly like…. “blame the victim” instead of “blame the perpetrator”. Fashion Industry does not objectify…. men do. Next he is going to argue that some women deserve to get raped because of what they were wearing… because they objectified themselves by indulging in fashions.

    Dear Zia,

    Believe me when I say that I am not interested in a pissing contest with you… but so far I have given you four out of five examples where your theory about me has fallen flat on its face.

    “distort a point”

    Let us go over this again shall we? You made a claim that I do this to anybody who dares disagree with me. I gave you to repeat 4 out 5 examples (all of them quoted by you) where this is not true. By “empirical reasoning” you should just admit you are wrong but I don’t ask you to do that. All I asked you was to judge me on the basis of our interaction with each other alone instead of empirical reasoning which you’ve clearly not undertaken here.

    “yes was disappointed in him as well for his behavior”

    Now this shows that you are not being impartial. Could you quote for our reference what it is that you find lacking in my behavior on that board?

    If I have a certain effect on people, that is certainly not my problem or issue. Clearly there is nothing on the Imran Khan board that I said which could be remotely offensive to Salman.

    But let me grant you this – let us say I have a certain “effect” on people. Now the choice hen is yours… You and others may stop reading me at any time. However, with Salman Hussain it is quite clear that I remained restrained and did not respond in kind. So your point about having an effect on people is neither here nor there.

    Now here is my prediction- you are about to go down the road Salman Hussain took very soon where you will soon become stark raving mad having failed so miserably to argue your own point – “empirical reasoning”- and are now – to repeat- hoist your own petard.

    When you do, I hope you will realize (as I am sure Salman Hussain must by now) that I did not resort to any foul language against you nor did I bracket you as a Mullah … yet. But then again that level of objectivity would require a level of maturity which you certainly have failed to exhibit so far (but I may be wrong about that).

  68. Qandeel

    Raza Rumi, if you’re listening… please look after your blog. I respect you and what you set off to achieve with PTH. But I have to confess, one begins to gradually lose interest and even doubt its integrity… when one witnesses the spectacle that is the comment section!

    I’m forever in admiration of the diverse set of articles and viewpoints you bring forth… but the outlandishly silly vendetta between some of the commenters here? What is this? I laughed once, maybe twice, but it’s unbearable to watch their immaturity usurp the comment section.

    I think it stunts dialogue and discourages participation from people who might have something objective and valuable to say.

  69. Qandeel

    PS. Sista, I dig you. A brief glance at your blog made me think you’d make for a fascinating “different face of Pakistan”..

  70. YLH

    “Objective and valuable to say”

    Frankly, one should not take one’s self so seriously as to imagine this about one’s self.

    But that is just my two cents. Maybe the presumption that there is a minute chance that sun doesn’t rise and set – ah well – in one’s – euphemistically speaking- posterior is a good balancing act.

  71. Sidra

    YLH,
    Unbelievable. Look at what you’ve turned the board into. Yes, you and you alone. You co-edit this place for God’s sake! Have some patience for disagreement, please – it’s okay! You will be fine!

  72. YLH

    No do tell what? I am very curious.

    Why are people so scared of hammering out differences through dialogue.

    Go check alexa.com. You’ll realize what I have made it.

    If Raza doesn’t like what I and I alone have turned PTH into according to him, he can take the access back from me.

  73. YLH

    Erratum:

    Sorry according to you sidra …you and you alone, and maybe Qandeel.

    Tum saron say to Pinko brigade behtar hai… Atleast they don’t shy away from argument, debate conflict.

  74. YLH

    Also this “Patience for disagreement”

    Ah- so did I hold a gun to anyone’s head and stop them from disagreeing.

    I have the right to disagree with disagreement or no? Or do people not want to be challenged about their spurious views? Oh I forgot they don’t.

  75. @Tribute to
    His Ultimacy
    Hamdani

    Tuheed Tou Yeh HAi K
    Khuda hashar Mey Keh dey
    Yeh BAnda Dou Aalam Se Khafa
    Mere Liye Hai…

  76. yasserlatifhamdani

    sista,

    Could you tell me who posted anything as the “progressive” face of Pakistan and where?

    Another face… that shows that the society on a collision course with itself is not necessarily progressive.

  77. yasserlatifhamdani

    I produce here the words from the original post:

    Pakistan is a country that lives in many different eras simultaneously. Since we at PTH have been inundated with requests to showcase how various sections of Pakistani society live their lives and because there are many other sites who have showcased Pakistan’s various classes (as Arundhati would say nothing sells like poverty does), we reproduce here some images from Daily Times’ Sunday Magazine. We believe this image most strongly contrasts the Taliban and Swat related issues and shows the changing trends of women’s wear (and roles) from the traditional bride to the modern party girl in Pakistan. Is Pakistan a society on collision with itself? For rest of the images visit the website.

    I wonder where the words “progressive” or “women’s liberation” were used. Hence all the abuse heaped on me is just people’s own complexes in my view.

  78. Diva

    All I see are a bunch of men fighting over how women should be dressed (and a few ugly women who have a personal bone to pick with fashion as well).

  79. aliarqam

    Fellow contributor at PTH
    Shaheryar Ali has a very decent post regarding the issue
    sherryx.wordpress.com

  80. YLH

    Dear Ali,

    Since I don’t have time to read hogwash that Shaheryar Ali produces in copious amounts, can you confirm if he mentioned that Natty’s picture was taken from the magazine owned by Salman Taseer- who he described as a bastion of progressive liberalism in his article – and who is going to soon hold “face of the year” pageant in the governor house to show case liberalism?

    If he hasn’t mentioned this fact, Shaheryar Ali is a hypocrite but then we already know that.

  81. “Hatred for the “feminine” cannot be “feminist” by simple occam’s razor. ”

    And would you cite any feminist work on that position you take?

    Also, would you like to say exactly what feminist social theorists [also known as gender theorists] you’ve enjoyed the work of lately? I’d really like to see an article on ‘rape culture’ on PTH – from the social constructivist perspective, preferably, since it’s all the buzz these days. Could you care to write one? Perhaps not though, since it would lead to your finding out that women are not born with a propensity to wearing lipstick and high heels, that femininity and [hegemonic] masculinity are part of the rape culture, and that a diversity of human expression beyond the binary of femininity and masculinity is possible.

  82. Diva, you just proved the point ‘sista’ made in her post when you talked about ‘ugly women’.

    Also, the purpose of my post was not saying anything about women should do. It was about portrayals of women, and objectification.

  83. YLH

    Omair,

    Do I care? You sound like a mullah again when you ask me which “ulema” I have read to come to a certain position. Do you see the problem there? You sound exactly like the mullah who asks the muslim to quote the “madhab” or “fiqh” to justify a certain practice of religion.

    Sista said something very interesting. She said that feminism is not a movement to make women into men or something of the sort. I agree : feminism does not reduce feminist.

    Your problem has nothing to do with your concern for women… you want people to come out of gender context … and end all diversity. Perhaps the term “feminazi” would apply to you except you don’t even have a locus standi.

    Now you go read your “gender theorists” (I have probably forgotten more than you read but quoting them here would be pointless because it essentially beats the point – you are too dogmatic and that needs to change).

  84. YLH

    Erratum: Feminism doesn’t reduce the feminine necessarily…it makes feminine irrelevant in society.

  85. Tanya

    For someone who visits this blog occasionally and finds the diversity of content quite interesting, this particular comment section is absolutely ridiculous and even juvenile. I dont claim to know anything about past interactions between any of the people posting out here but a cursory glance at this section seems enough to put off anyone who wants to have any meaningful discussion.

    Im sorry Mr. Hamdani but I’m going to agree with Qandeel, Sista’s point. You’re ruining this section by your over zealous need to dissect each point made against your writing or your behaviour in this comments section. Im pretty sure, I’ll be next after what I’ve witnessed out here.

    Personal, condescending and and this attempt to make others look so flippant isnt really the best way to engage in any sort of dialogue – a far cry from being constructive in any sense. A little restraint from your end and respect for other’s views – no matter how “mullahish” or idiotic they may appear to you- would go a long way if you want others to hear you out (which Im guessing is the main purpose of anyone who writes?).

    I hope you will be able to take this in the right spirit.

    Regards.

  86. yasserlatifhamdani

    Well you have the right to your own opinion.

  87. So when scientists look for peer-reviewed articles, citations, etc., they’re like ‘mullahs’? You have no right to make a statement unless you can back it up with your own arguments, or that of others. And you didn’t make an argument for femininity, except to imply [without any proof again] that women want to conform to the ideals of femininity, and that feminism [which you understand to be about women – it’s so much more, btw] has to celebrate femininity.

    I did not talk about an end of femininity in my post. I only had a problem with your celebration of images of femininity in women, images which do not necessarily coincide with women’s experiences and sometimes even oppress them. That should be the chief concern of someone who cares about the world, and that concern has also moved feminist theorists to talk about ‘femininity’ as a trap for women, as something built around the power disparity between men and women in a patriarchal society, and something to be ultimately rejected.

    I’m sorry if at any point I appeared to insult you. And I’m sorry if I picked up on things that your post represented but were not necessarily intended. But…so much of misogyny is never intended – look at all the feminist criticism of novels, Hollywood movies, advertisements in the West, etc. etc. The authors don’t necessarily have ill will, but that doesn’t mean misogyny isn’t there.

    What really made me lash out against you was what I thought was your dismissal of gender issues. You did not engage the commenter who said ‘male chauvinism’ – it was an opportunity for you to point out that your post was not about discussing the merits or demerits of the fashion industry. Also, I had read this sentence of yours a few days back: ‘The problem is that I don’t know if there is an equivalent of Hoodbhoy or Eqbal Ahmed… Even Arundhati has her own interests.’, in which only Roy was referred to by her first name only – since that fits in with a popular trend of misogyny, I picked up on it. When I tried to mention it, I was dismissed too.

    I was mentioning it only sarcastically before, but I would really appreciate it if you take time to read up on a little social constructivist theory of gender, because it really answers the serious question of why rape, sexual harassment of women, etc. happens in societies which have supposedly ‘liberated’ women, why women in these societies are much more anxious to ‘tie the knot’, why women have low self-esteem etc. etc. I would like mature discussions of these issues on PTH, and maybe they could start with you.

  88. YLH

    Dear Freethinker bhai,

    Janab agar app pehlay din say aisee tone letay, you would have found me most forthcoming to a dialogue along the lines that you now mention. Instead right from that Gandhi-wallah article, all you’ve done is make strawman fallacies and put words in my mouth in the condescending manner.

    Chalo- dair aye durust aye. On the issue of scientists peer reviewing work, I ascribe to Sir Karl Popper’s definition of science which makes exclude any social science and theories within them as science. What essentially I feel the issue of ideas, ideology and expression is, is linguistic complication. A lot of the “fundamental truths” we believe in are based on our point of view and consequently language.

    The human need to define and redefine behavior in my opinion is the source of all oppression, including gender disparity. The social roles appropriated to genders is just another expression of this gender disparity. Domestic violence is then that expression of oppression at a fever pitch.

    We appropriate titles to ourselves – man, woman, gatherer, homemaker (no jab at your appropriation of the word which is egalitarian) and then we use these titles to oppress each other.

    The solution posed by women studies’ scholars and now gender studies’ scholars are in my view further complication of a simple issue- male and female dynamic needs to be dealt with action along the following lines:

    1. Increased women’s participation in all walks of life leading to economic empowerment.

    2. State-sponsored de-construction of the established gender construct. Before you raise the question of whether a woman should or shouldn’t be feminine, the issue should be taken with Dalda wali advertisement which shows woman slaving away in the kitchen.
    3. Increasing safe options for women either as an alternative to the institution of marriage or an easy way to opt out.

    4. More open and free interaction between the genders and lessening of the honor capital that a male feels he has “invested” in his womenfolk.

    My dear friend before you attack “liberated societies” or “sexually promiscuous societies” please realize that in our societies women are subjected to horrendous violence and are beaten up and destroyed in the name of honor, suspicion and sometimes just because we men feel it is alright to lose control and lash out at women.

    So the issues you define are like prescribing the fur coat of scandinivia to hot and dry weather of India and Pakistan…given that we first have to get there to get ahead.

  89. yasserlatifhamdani

    Just to elaborate on the scientist issue… science is falsifiable. A scientist only presents a hypothesis and does not present it as the be all end all… falsifiability makes science science.

    Not so when you declare that an alternative pov does not exist because the authorities on feminism and gender studies have said something else.

  90. Majumdar

    The ladies shown in the photos on this article are far more interesting and illuminating than the debate on this thread.

    Regards

  91. YLH, I have used a cool-headed tone on this entire thread. And I recognized the alternative viewpoint, by appreciating what Aisha Sarwari [even though she was derisive of my POV, by the way] and responding to it. I engaged the alternative viewpoint and showed that my POV was not falsified by it.

    Also, to jog your memory, I did not talk about any feminist authorities on my post, and only asked you ‘which feminist works have you enjoyed recently’ so that I could show that like most ‘well-read’ intellectuals in Pakistan, you’ve left out the contribution of feminists to science and philosophy, and ‘gender theory’.

    I’m sorry, ‘we have to get there’, where the ‘liberated’ societies of the West got? I really don’t buy into your Euro-centric idea of ‘progress’ – the West has not linearly progressed to an advanced stage of female empowerment. In many ways, it’s just as bad there as it is here, and it could very well be argued that in some cases it’s worse [just as in others it’s definitely worse here]

    Women will not have been granted their full humanity as long as there is a culture which emphasizes their ‘beauty’ casting them as temptresses and therefore rape-able, does not allow abortion, in which sex is about the male orgasm and reproduction and not women’s pleasure, there is a social premium on marriage, motherhood, and ‘family values’, and no recognition that the ‘differences’ which make women women are not because of their different hormones, chromosomes, or ‘evolutionary history’. The West hasn’t been able to discard all of that.

    The idea of ‘honour’ which you mention is still very much there in the ‘liberated’ societies too. But if I talk about our country, the problems are much greater than your 4 points seem to suggest. Most importantly, you left out that we subscribe to an andro-centric religion with a male deity and a male prophet and a scripture which addresses men.

  92. By ‘differences’ I meant socially significant differences, which justify statements like ‘you’re a woman – it’s easy for you to not lust after your hot young secretary’, or ‘you’re a woman – of course you like seeing cute babies and would like to stay at home and be a full-time mother’.

  93. YLH

    Dear Freethinker,

    Let me start by saying I know what you are saying …and it is not that I disagree with a lot of what you have to say…except that unfortunately I don’t see any real world application not now and sadly not ever.

    Good that you mentioned a male prophet, a male deity (is it? I’ve seen alternative orthodox explanations) etc but don’t you think that this was part of a historical process? I mean there isn’t really (and I am aware of little cults with goddesses and the subservient role of goddesses in say Hinduism) a religion where the ultimate Deity is incontrovertibly she.

    The point is that “eurocentric” idea of progress I have is one that has historically worked through a process. It might not be flawless but the status and rights of women in the West are the most advanced in the world …definitely far ahead than any Asian counterpart (Japan for example has the fewest women executives in the develped world and largest number of female secretaries).
    The problem with what you are saying is is the same problem I have with communists and Islamists- they don’t have any real workable models to present for their ideological utopias.
    I think we are better off working with what we have and evolving from.

  94. YLH

    PS and by historical process – to elaborate- I mean that there were instances of matriarchy in Arabian peninsula but by 7th century patriarchy presented the most efficient system for economic reasons.

    It is entirely possible that if Western society evolves further, it might come to a system less inclined to be so patriarchal but would come to a middle point.

  95. anonymous

    why can’t women wear clothes without showing themselves. There are also many clothes out there that can cover you and you’ll look good. Showing “skin”, doesn’t neccesairly make you “look” good

  96. the new york times

    The Angel’s Cocktail
    By GARRISON KEILLOR

    This world belongs to the young and the daring, the avid, the adventurous, and that’s why one follows the saga of corporate bailouts with a certain trepidation. We’re mortgaging the future and we are rescuing the stubborn and stupid. The cost of a good college education for the young and daring is stupefying, meanwhile the federal deficit yawns, tax increases lie ahead, job losses per month are like a major city getting wiped out, and India and China are doing what we used to do better.

    So why does my mind keep drifting back to the woman I knew when I was in college, a writer like me, tall and magnificent, languorous, delightful, whose thighs were so ticklish that when I kissed them she burst out laughing. She lay shrieking and writhing and that was my sexual initiation, a link between the erotic and the comic, make of it what you will. And now when I hear young women laugh loudly, as I did last night, I think of her and wonder where she is and who is making her laugh.

    Last night a couple of friends and I were in a restaurant, eating local produce and discussing the world’s troubles, and we were on the subject of the Middle East and its intractable troubles when peals of girlish laughter rang out from the booth behind us. I had tuned out of International Relations a few minutes before and tuned into the program next door so I got the joke.

    One woman was talking about her mother, a nurse in a nursing home, and about a cocktail of morphine with a few additives that Mom would serve to select patients when she felt quite sure that they wished to be released from the bonds of earth. She ushered them out of the world around 4 a.m. when it was quiet — “hearing is the last sense you lose at the end, so if an old man hears a ball game on the radio, he may come bounding back to life to catch the score” — and she made sure that someone was around to hold the dying person’s hand. Death came painlessly around 7 a.m. and she called the family with the news, who now did not need to sit a long death watch, and the body was moved out and the bed changed for a new customer. All very orderly.

    “But one day I walked into the living room and saw my father napping on the couch and my mother, the Angel of Death, standing over him and looking at him in a professional sort of way. Our cat sat on a chair watching her with concern in its eye. The cat knew. He never napped out in the open.”

    That was the laugh line, the wariness of the cat. And when the woman called her mother Snuff Queen, her mother said, “I just hope that when I get there, someone will do the same for me.” More laughter.

    A person should be horrified by young people laughing at euthanasia, but I only thought of Margie and that apartment on Erie Street in Minneapolis and how hard it was to keep focused when the object of your lust was laughing to beat the band. She played guitar and sang the blues and wrote her term paper on Joyce’s “Ulysses” and her laughter was like an aviary of exotic birds. We were young, we had no money, we possessed the world through sheer enthusiasm.

    The world belongs to the young. Old pitchers get shelled one day and the next winter are released. Old writers go fallow and that’s when people start giving them awards. Old politicians are locked up in think tanks. Old pop stars play casinos. We’re marching toward the cliff and the middle-aged are pushing us and the young are pressing them. The angel is waiting with a cocktail. The poets told us to gather rosebuds while we could, that the flower that smiles today tomorrow will be dying, and it turns out that they were right.

    My friends discuss the upcoming election in Iran, and over my left shoulder young women chortle at the thought of geezers being launched into eternity by the Snuff Queen, and I remember the beautiful girl laughing and laughing and laughing. I was alarmed at how much she loved me and I neglected her for a whole summer and when I came back to school in the fall, she was gone gone gone.

  97. lahoria007

    pakistani fashion industry is only trying to imitate western values. they support beauty contests which demean women. most pakistani fashion designers are known gandoos or homosexuals. they do NOT represent the majority of pakistanis who are moderate muslims. the pakistani fashion industry is hijacked by gays, and modern aunties of lahore and karachi who fuck around. jinnah was a liberal but never dreamt of such a pakistan where the dress code would be dominated by mullas or liberal sex manics . both mullas and liberals are crazy,,they represent two extremes and are both highly immoral. pakistan is a moderate country. we neither want qazi hussain nor sherry rehman giving us lectures.

  98. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear “Lahoriya”

    Your posts- the ones with unkind references to my family- have been deleted. Interesting that you referred to Jinnah. Jinnah’s own wife used to wear low cut dresses btw without any straps… on one such occasion, Lady Willingdon publicly rebuked Mrs. Jinnah for wearing a low cut dress. Jinnah immediately stormed out of the Governor’s residence.

    I am sorry but you don’t have a point. Now take your business elsewhere.

  99. hayyer48

    I don’t quite agree that beauty contests demean women. They are trite to the point of being ridiculous I agree, and I cant imagine anyone but a voyeur, male or female, joining in the audience but they serve huge commercial interests. Besides the women demeaned, if at all, are the ones who participate in the silly events. That is entirely voluntary.
    Objectification? What is wrong with that. We are objects to each other. It is a separate matter when women are considered male property.
    All this agitation over showing skin springs over objectification is a subjective reaction.
    In hot climes of Africa, India, Australia, South East Asia, and South America tribal women barely covered themselves. It was western missionaries on first seeing bare breasted women who made them dress up. In these tribal societies men did not stare at naked women; nakedness was the norm and quite unsexy. Covering up and concealing brings the sexiness into it. Sex was on the missionaries’ mind not in the women, or even their men.
    Some years ago I saw a BBC feature discussing headdress in Iran. A young woman fully clad and with a head covering demonstrated taking off her head cover. As she quite innocently and carefully exhibited her coiffure it almost became an act of eroticism.
    So this fuss about well bred girls modestly clad, showing only their hands, if that, and yet igniting mens’ imagination. It is all in the male mind then and the whole discourse is about control or manipulation of male sexuality. In tribal societies skin show does nothing to excite them. In civilized ones they are provoked to murder.
    It seems that if men see too much skin all the time as in tribal societies they lose interest, and if they see too little they die, or kill for it.
    Isn’t that what the fashion industry is all about. And is it not time that men learned to stop being manipulated by degrees of exposure? Its called self control. If Asian men could learn to get not quite so excited we wouldn’t have such a problem. In Europe and America where plenty of female flesh is on display men sometimes dont even notice.
    Men have to learn to live with female provocation. They would hate not attracting men’s attention. The fashion business is about manipulating men, not women. Why should men be afraid of womens’ sexuality, unless they are unsure of their own?

  100. Very progressive industry now, good to see the bolder pakistan fashion face now.

  101. Pakistan and Indian Fashion is the best in the world, the asian designers are doing such a great job all over the world. Even americans and english buy the best ethnic wear by Pakistan and Indian designers.

  102. usman

    depends on your views and faith. u consider urself a true Muslim then you should go and get details of why people object on such issues. if you dont consider yourself one or dont want to be a Muslim, go dance nude on road if you feel happy doing so be a so called ”potent force” nobody will say anything.

    but its time to wakeup, before its too late.
    may Allah guide you on the Right Path.

  103. YLH

    Usman,

    Why does your version of Islam revolve around women’s clothiing?

  104. hashashin

    Clearly Allah guided usman to the pak tea house … so wtf is he complaining about now?

  105. Yasir Qadeer

    The only reason we resist such activities is because we look everything from a religious perspective. With the world becoming a global village and considering the talent of Pakistani artists, just imagine how much capital can be brought into the country if fashion industry is given a chance to blossom without a fear of being objected upon.

  106. Sajjad Ahmed

    Well, I think Pakistan has emerged on the global fashion industry .. like a big bang.. but too late i guess ! .. but still it has made a tremendous growth so far.. created a enourmous awareness in the every growing competitive fashion industry.. I forsee more ever lasting growth in the next decade subjected to a consistent support from TDP and EPB. GOOD LUCK..

    SAJJAD AHMED

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