Nine Things To Know About Your (Menstrual) Cycle

Nine Things To Know About Your (Menstrual) Cycle

The Menstrual Cycle has been the topic of debate for years, whether in the East or the West. Considered in some parts of the world as a taboo while others rejoice in the ultimate beauty of womankind, there are different perceptions with regards to a woman’s monthly flux. Even though a girl’s / woman’s menstrual cycle is the sign of health – and is, in fact, an integral part of her Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights – as a society, we have yet to accept it as ‘normal’. Regardless of the the education level of an individual, or their high status in society, menstruation is still talked about in hushed tones in all-female circles inside most homes. And absolutely never before a member of the opposite gender. This creates an imbalance in the general community at large, with half of the population shamed into hiding an integral part of their being, considered “dirty”; while the other half is split into two groups – one group of men completely baffled by the “intrigue” surrounding their female counterparts while in truth are blithely unaware of the goings on inside a the (female) human body (a part of basic general knowledge); while the other group considers it the butt of numerous hilarious jokes laced with sexual innuendo. Given the amount of pressure society puts on women and girls to hide that part of their lives, and the lengths both men and women go to to ensure it remains that way, it is no wonder that so few facts are actually known. So here are nine factors that you should know about your menstrual cycle: Your Period Is Not A Contraceptive Contrary to common belief,...
THE WHITE DRESS: MORALITY BRIGADE

THE WHITE DRESS: MORALITY BRIGADE

Okay, so let’s talk! Mahira Khan was recently seen in some photos online casually taking a smoke break with Ranbir Kapoor. The photos are from when she was in New York City. It is important to note here that these pictures were originally taken in July, when Ranbir Kapoor was filming for Sanjay Dutt biopic; but shit hit the fan in Pakistan these past few days when they finally came to light. The pictures didn’t sit too well with Mahira’s large fan-base, much of whom still associates her actual personality with her on-screen character Khirad, from the serial Humsafar, which came out years ago. She was made the brunt of some very cruel trolling, with people actually asking if she was Muslim or not. Now, let’s get a few points straight: firstly, Muslims in Pakistan love to question other people’s religiosity. Why don’t you bother taking a look in the mirror and questioning your own actions first? What makes you think you are an angel that walks this planet? The girl was taking a smoke break, for god’s sake! You know how many women smoke in Pakistan? No, you probably don’t because you most likely live under a rock and think all girls are either the Pakistani Muslim version of sati-savitri, or are the Non-Muslim version of Silk Smita. It’s very important to make this distinction for our Pakistani populace, by the way – Muslim vs Non-Muslim. For some reason, Pakistanis just cannot understand that Muslims around the world vary by and large with regards to their social life, how they interact with people, their lifestyle  – and that most of...
AN OPEN LETTER TO DESI FAMILIES

AN OPEN LETTER TO DESI FAMILIES

I have been hearing about the cruelty that perpetuates in the highly decorated farce, which is the present-day desi married life (of most people). Daughters-in-law ranting about their tyrannical mothers-in-law; husbands sighing over the constant arguments inside the home; mothers-in-law complaining about the thousand and one problems with the woman they chose for their son, to all and sundry… the list never ends. There is just too much sadness, depression and rage festering within the average family home today. It has turned from a warm loving home into a battle ground, where enemy factions are always ready to shoot at one another. Do you really want your children growing up thinking such an environment is normal? Do you really want your daughters to witness their mothers being humiliated and mentally prepare themselves for a similar life of subjugation? Do you really want your sons to be cruel to their wives because their fathers put a similar example before them during their childhood? I think if we all calm down for a second, simply breathe and really think about it, without feeling the need to always win; the answer to all the above questions is really: NO. We live in a society of control; where every little movement is watched as though from behind a microscope and dissected for the perverse enjoyment of those around us. Whether family or friends, nothing seems sacred anymore. The marital bond which is the foundation of a family is more of a fake skin; to be put on display when out in public, to be discarded like rags the minute the limelight is turned off. Today,...
POLICEMAN SLAPS FEMALE REPORTER: OPINION

POLICEMAN SLAPS FEMALE REPORTER: OPINION

A video is making the rounds on social media showing a female journalist being slapped by a security guard outside the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office in Karachi during the recording of a news bulletin. On Thursday, Saima Kanwal was reporting for the K21 News Channel regarding the lengthy time required for processing at NADRA office, when she began confronting the police officer for what was allegedly “misbehavior” with the people gathered waiting in queue. There have been various different reactions to this video, mostly outrage at the police officer’s “misconduct” with regards to a female reporter. People have expressed their disgust at the ‘treatment of women’, declared the society unfit for living and even gone so far as to demand the man be let go from his job. The K21 News Channel has also filed a formal complaint with the police against him; with the NADRA office filing a counter claim against the news channel’s employee for “creating hindrance in official work”. Both complaints are currently under investigation. “Gulbahar police have registered a case against the FC personnel over charges of conducting aerial firing and assaulting modesty of the female reporter of K-21 TV channel by slapping her,” said SSP Central Muqadas Hyder while speaking to Dawn. Now let’s take a minute to step back and analyse the situation. As a feminist, my first response should probably have been outrage at the horrendous treatment of Kanwal at the hands of the respective FC personnel. However, upon watching the video I could not help but be horrified at Kanwal herself: you can clearly see her start to incite...
BACHA POSH – A Review

BACHA POSH – A Review

Azita puts her finger on a picture in the album. “You know my youngest is also a girl, yes? We dress her like a boy.” I glance in the direction of Mehran, who has been skidding around the periphery as we have talked. She has hopped into another chair and is talking to the plastic figurine again. “They gossip about my family. When you have no sons, it is a big missing and everyone feels sad for you.” Azita says this as if it is a simple explanation. Having at least one son is mandatory for good standing and reputation here (Afghanistan). A family is not only incomplete without one; in a country lacking rule of law, it is also seen as weak and vulnerable. So it is incumbent upon every married woman to quickly bear a son – it is her absolute purpose in life, and if she does not fulfill it, there is clearly something wrong with her in the eyes of others. She could be dismissed as a dokhtar zai, or “she who only brings daughters”. Still, this is not as grave an insult as what an entirely childless woman could be called – a sanda or khoshk, meaning “dry” in Dari. But a woman who cannot birth a son in a patrilineal culture is – in the eyes of society and often herself – fundamentally flawed.     In her eye-opening book “The Underground Girls of Kabul”, award-winning investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg, records the lives of girls and women forced to live as boys in the highly patriarchal society of Afghanistan. Her bone-chilling narrative of real...