Jun 7, 2009 - Uncategorized    7 Comments

The ghetto of women’s writing

Back in 2001 during my rookie reporting days, I wrote a piece on the renewed Intifada which was quite well received. One of the senior assistant editors who was at least 75 years old at that point in time (yes, it was the time when Dawn still had its geriatric brigade roaming the Islamabad corridor) called me and asked me why did I choose to write on intifada. Being the super naïve, extra exuberant idiot that I was, I went on and on about how international politics fascinates me and how I want to write political commentary regularly.

After I was done with my tirade, he smiled a benevolent smile and told me in no uncertain terms that I should stop worrying my pretty little head about stuff as gruesome as Intefada and should stick to things bright and shiny – like fashion and pop music. Before I could say that unlike the old gent who had a degree in Persian literature, being a student of International Relations in general and of people’s movement and confidence building measures in particular, I was actually qualified to write on Intifada and Middle East crisis. I was too young and inexperienced to know that assistant editor probably was afraid of a newbie taking over his area of expertise.

Hajrah Mumtaz’s excellent piece ‘The ghetto of ‘women are writing’ in Dawn today reminded me that I too have been pushed to the ghetto of light & fluffy writing at one point in time. Thank heavens that I was too stubborn to listen to the old gent and wrote about everything under the sun.

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  • *cheers to stubbornness* 🙂

  • Tazeen,
    Its interesting to see all the wide range of topics you come up with. Some of them, I am too ill informed to have any opinion but its always fun to read your articles.

    I read the article by Ms. Mumtaz and I am somewhat surprised that we are still talking about Ghetto of women. I was under the impression that even though such mind set exists in many areas but the media and especially journalism is somewhat free of that, again, somewhat. But I am little surprised by Hajrah Mumtaz’s article. I personally have always taken the approach of complete denial of things that does not match with my philosophical approach towards life. If the gender should not matter, it does not matter. You face problems, but you at the least don’t fight a lost battle. Anyway, good to know you stayed 🙂

  • ditto Awais,
    cheers stubborness!

  • But most of the stuff you write is still light and fluffy..

  • Faisal,

    I beg to differ. I write on serious issues, I just deal with them in a light breezy manner.

    In any case, light and fluffy is great if it is your natural choice/writing style. No one should tell you what to write because of your gender.

  • Hmmm…. this phenomenon can be seen in fiction, too.. not just journalism. Especially in the subcontinent, where the publishing world is waking up to the possibilities of the “chick-lit” genre….so we have a spate of overcooked, too-clever-by-half debut novels by young female writers… never mind the fact that there are genuinely talented next-gen female writers like Tishani Doshi, Anjum Hasan and Kamila Shamsie out there….

  • Thumbs up to you then!!!

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