Sunday, January 29, 2012

Warrior women!

Two of my most favorite characters. Xena and Zoe. :P

I've watched Firefly and Serenity at least seven times, if not more. One of the most interesting series I ever watched. And now I am watching Xena: Warrior Princess. It's been around a while, but I never had a chance to watch. Thanks to Netflix, now I can watch it all in a go. Just had to write it. Took me a while to find images that somewhat have similar expressions. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

WTH Google?

A friend just pointed something out about Google Translate. I was skeptical so I had to run the experiment. He said, “Go to and write in the left textbox ‘Men are men and men should clean the house,’  and then Google will suggest, ‘Did you mean: Men are men and women should clean the house?"...

Here are the snapshots.

English to Urdu

Translated from English to Persian
I have already mentioned earlier that auto correct on Chrome, Microsoft Word and even Blogger spellcheck do not even recognize the word misandry. To hell with all these corporate claims like equal opportunity and no discrimination policies.

Updating the post, since I found two more examples.

Oh well, at least when I type, 'Men are men and men should marry men,' Google does not prompt they 'should marry women', that's something.

Let's end on a comparative note. And I'm glad I had not reached the stage where I said, "La Ilaha il-a-Google."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Media encouraging vigilantes

It seems Samaa TV takes the cake for being the most ridiculous and sick channel, even worse than GEO when it comes to monopolizing public sentiments about any controversial issues. The Pakistani electronic media often indulges in different tactics to have higher TRPs, for which it keeps stooping lower and lower.

The following is a clip from Maya Khan’s program on Samaa TV, Subha Sawerey, where a bunch of women from different walks of life visit public parks and chase 'dating' couples. They use their own personal moral sticks to measure the rightness and wrongness of such dating and harass dating couples. This attitude was wrong and presumptuous on so many levels, that one cannot even fully comprehend it. Foremost being the idea, that any man or woman hanging out together, early in the morning have to be on a date. They could not be friends hanging out together, they could not be sitting their for a discussion or to just enjoy the fresh air, they have to be 'dating'.

The clip starts with dehumanizing sentences like, “Kuch nazar aaya, koye nazar aaya?” (Did you see something or someone?) And some guy saying, “In jagaon par bohat kuch hai,” (There is a lot in these places) as if they are not talking about dating couples, rather objects who are not flesh and blood. As if that was not insulting enough, the women run in different directions saying, “Wo dekho, wahan aik hai,” (Look there’s one [couple]) It is not only disappointing but worrisome to see these women chasing young men and women who are already so oppressed in the society. Another worrisome aspect is the way they blame mostly the women for their behavior. Their comments and words reek of misogyny and hatred for women. It is one of the most perfect examples showcasing the generation whose minds were mutilated by the Zia regime.

One can be a liar, cheater, ‘rishwatkhor’, but as long as one wears a burka and keeps their pants above the ankles or at least condemns the liberals, they can wear the label of being the pious. Interestingly, the double standards of this moral brigade become very much apparent, when Maya Khan lies about the mic and camera being turned off while talking to one of the couples. It shows the double standards we have as a society. It was disgusting to watch her lie so blatantly; however, most people of the ‘ghairat’ brigade will not even notice that. They would only praise this stupid moral brigade.

This sort of behavior might end up prompting people to start taking matters in their own hands. Let’s not forget the incident of the Sialkot brothers, Salman Taseer, countless mob lynching incidents of Ahmedis and Shias all over Pakistan. Public vigilantes in Pakistan are becoming more and more of a problem. The Pakistani legislation is not as much to blame as the people themselves who resort to such moral policing and that too in public areas. Programs further encouraging the already prevalent riot mind set in the Pakistani society are dangerous and should be held responsible. Let us not forget that it was also Samaa TV’s Meher Bukhari who instigated hate against Governor Salman Taseer, resulting in his death at the hands of a fanatic Muslim.

For complaints against Sama TV follow the link:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blasphemy their's and ours

Today's news highlight is the five year sentence awarded to an Atheist in Indonesia, who committed blasphemy just by stating god does not exist. Indonesia is currently facing rising extremism in religious sentiments and therefore perhaps moving towards what Pakistan already is. A hot bed for the parasite called extremism. If saying god does not exist equates blasphemy, does saying only Jesus can be the savior be blasphemy as well? After all Muslims do not consider Jesus to be the savior, neither do the Jews, buddhists, Hindus, or for that matter any of the non-Christians believe that. So how can it become blasphemy if an atheist denies god's existence? All religions consider their sceipture and doctrine to be divine; their prophet, messiah to be the true one; their god or gods the true ones. In that all religions are blasphemous towards each other. Therefore, if there are rules against blasphemy they should also be used against all religious people in a non-descriminatory manner. Muslims should not be allowed to praise Allah as their true god on Facebook, since it is blasphemos to non-Muslims. Christians should not be allowed to post.....

An extract from the article published on

Life of a cyborg

I laugh at my pathetic creepy life
Laptop in front, ipad on the side
Phone on round table
Skype on all night
Waiting for a call, or someone to tell all's right

Does this sound insane?
It isn't, it's all right,
This is how it is,
When one is alone, depressed and contrite

Laugh out loud at that, or send me an invite
To join the dance of celebration,
And end this pathetic creepy life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Confessions, fear & need for approval

I have a dislike for religious extremism and patriarchy. Rather, if it wasn’t for the rampant patriarchy in religion, and a firm belief at age 11 that Allah was indeed a man and hence the inequality between men and women, I might still have been a religious person, albeit a moderate one. For this very reason I had to hear countless lectures from friends, family, even acquaintances that I will end up being a lonely feminist.  ‘Lonely’ because men do not like women who question too much, especially if questions are somehow targeting their perception and understanding of freedom. And if men don’t like me, it means they will not woo me, and I will die an unhappy, cranky spinster like Ms Shaheen at my school.

This brings us to this extreme disdain society as a whole has against remaining single, especially in case of women. It has so many negative connotations attached. A single woman is a woe, a burden on society, and only now have I been able to rationalize this for myself a little. I figure that women in this patriarchal society only have importance as baby machines, and if they are not producing babies, they are a burden on the resources, on the family and on a society. And related to this same idea of single women being a burden, problem, temptation, etcetera etcetera are many other negative ideas, stereotypes and biases.

One idea that always annoys me, is how people keep arguing that a strong single woman who abides by rules is actually doing so because she ‘needs some’? It sounds to me the height of sexism and I have never been able to rationalize it, no matter how hard I tried. On the other hand, the same traits in a man are considered a virtue. He is a man of principle, is the usual description of men who abide by rules, not that they are stuck up and need to get laid.

The other thing that bothers me is looking at some women whimpering around angry men. I observed this around me that often women try to compromise on anything and everything – with fault or without – at home, at work, in public places. Rather if women do not do so, they are looked at as domineering and controlling. However, again it seems that what is considered a good thing for a man, namely being controlling and domineering, it turns into a vise when a woman is domineering and controlling. It stupefies me to witness this imbalance and cruelty.

And last but not the least, the most cumbersome I find are the women who despite understanding (I could be totally wrong here though) misogyny and sexism, continue to tolerate sexist jokes, sexual innuendos and outright objectification of women. By the way, during my teenage years I have laughed at sexist jokes, I thought it would be hypocritical of me not to admit that. It took me a while to realize that the more I laughed, the more guys got leeway, to the point where I myself became a direct object of ridicule for them. However, my excuse was I was hardly exposed to feminism at that time. I did not have unlimited access to the internet and the school library had more ‘Sweet Valley’ books and ‘Disney programs’. Meanwhile, the society insisted on feminism being an evil idea which corrupts girls and reduces them to lonely crackpots or lesbians (And I have nothing against lesbians, rather I am pro LGBT rights - thought a disclaimer was necessary here).

May be I should reconsider my assessment of other girls in that matter, although, in case of women with unlimited access to internet in this age of information, I find it difficult to forgive them. Most of us suffer from the fear of being rejected and are always striving to find approval for things we do or say, though the extent to which a person would go for this varies. I am willing to consider the idea that some girls do not want to be labeled as uptight feminists who are of course unpopular among most men, and hence laugh more than necessary on sexist jokes. What I cannot forgive them for, is joining the ranks of the men who are indulging in sexist behavior and pointing fingers at feminists for being too uptight. This behavior gives the already bloated male ego a boost. Some people do not want to be rejected by the society; some don’t want to be rejected by their family, friends or acquaintances. Staying quiet is fine, but the fear of rejection should not be an excuse to join the ranks of the aggressors.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cruelty threshold can only increase

As humans, our threshold for negativity keeps increasing every day. Be it cruelty against animals, women, children or the society as a whole; verbal, physical abuse or our capacity and threshold to react to what we see around us. What is meant here is that in any given society, there is a certain limit of what people as a whole or as individuals can endure. And that limit is constantly pushed forward.

For example, if 9/11 had happened in Pakistan, would there have been this much affect on people’s psyche? It is not like there would have been no affects, but that the affect would have been limited and far different, because within the Pakistani context, such things are almost a norm. Similarly, if someone throws acid on a woman’s face in the US, the shock would be tenfold compared to it happening in Pakistan, or let’s say Afghanistan and Iran. However, if the same thing keeps happening in the US too, the reaction to such news or information would start to wane. In other words, repetition of violence decreases our sensitivity towards violent acts.

On an individual level, it is the same for things like drugs, let us assume a person in the early stages smoked one joint of weed a day, but with time, it changed to two joints, then three and later the person moved on to cocaine, heroin or some other more potent drug. This happens because we are all the time pushing our limits to greater extremes. Now when this happens for positive things, like a free diver holding his or her breath under water; or achieving better grades; better photography results or even buying something more expensive, it is not negative.

This whole concept takes a totally new meaning when it happens towards a negative end or while pushing limits of enduring abuse, torture etc. Porn is also one such negative aspect of our society which keeps deteriorating and getting worse. Especially in the way it depicts women. A comparison between vintage porn and contemporary porn reveals that vintage porn was not this violent. For those times, it might have been, however in our current times, it is far more disgusting, graphic and demeaning for women then it was in the past.

If there is a way out of this quagmire of extremities is uncertain. It does exist though and hence we come across more and more brutal things and extremes when it comes to entertainment, media, crime, murders, drugs et al. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shut up you so-called feminist...

One of the very common accusations against feminists in dialogues taken off a forum. With a hint of sarcasm.

Feminist: Most men are misogynists. If that wasn't the case, this wouldn't be a patriarchal society.

Some man get's red alert, "What? Most men meant I could be one of them. What a stupid bitch. I'm not a misogynist. She hates men. OMG, she's a lesbian, she definitely hates men." Google search: Hate for men, enter - misandry. "Oh, so she's a misandrist. Now see what I do."

Guy: Most men are not misogynists, and you would have known better if you were not a so-called feminist. Rather, you are a misandrist.

Feminist: What makes you think I hate men? If I say your jokes are sexist and that the society treats women like chattel it translates to me being a misandrist?

Guy: See, hear, hear people, this woman is only pretending to be a feminist; she actually is a misandrist and hates men. Actually she’s a frustrated spinster/virgin and hates men.

Goes to Google again: Feminism, enter – Wikipedia result. (There’s too much mumbo jumbo to read, so decides to switch to Youtube. Easier to post anti-feminist videos then read too much literature)

There onwards, continues to harp with the new found knowledge of the word misandrist and tries to throw it in with a video or two until there is not more room for rational or logical debate. The feminist decides to leave the discussion.