Tagged with " feminism"
Dec 18, 2008 - romance, women    31 Comments

My knight in shining Corvette

Scottish professors have just confirmed what I have always known; watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, in my case, it can extinguish the love life before it even begins.

Researchers at the Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory at Heriot Watt University in Scotland have concluded that romantic films ruin romance for real life lovers. Films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill give people the idea of unrealistic love and huge expectations.

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.

The movies included You’ve Got Mail, Maid In Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.

The university’s Dr Bjarne Holmes said: “Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.”
“We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.”

I have actually known a girl who has watched Love Story 26 times and she took it for granted that her university would be filled with rich good looking replicas of Ryan O’Neal. The only rich and handsome guy in her class was the son of local landlord and he had already run through a wife when she met him.

But not all romantic films are a waste, at least I think that way. Remember About a Boy, that was the only decent Hugh Grant film where his bumbling and fumbling ways were actually charming and despite the ultra corny “You complete me” and ‘You had me at hello”; Jerry Maguire presented a romance as real as it can be in a romantic comedy, complete with first awkward date, confused marriage, trial separation and a not so beautiful kid.

We all know that romcoms are not for real, but we still tend to believe that we might be the lucky ones who will end up with their own fairytals, but not every girl is modern day Cinderella of Pretty Women whose knight came charging in a shinning white Cadillac to rescue her; mere mortals have to work their asses off on a relationship provided they can find somebody half decent.

If I happen to find a knight, I would want him come charging in a shining Corvette.

PS: I think this blog is being over run by Colin Firth images.


Nov 13, 2008 - Tina Fey, women    16 Comments

How Tina Fey saved me from irreversible brain damage

Watching TV is painful. As a rule, I don’t watch much TV, but one do lapse into the mindlessness of it from time to time and then live to regret it.

Last week, I saw TV for about half an hour and lost it – completely. I caught one of the episodes of a soap on one of the local channels. It had a domestic servant who was first harassed by the younger son of her employers and then later raped by the older son. Because she was a lowly employee, she kept quiet and did not tell anyone about the crime. There was another track where they showed a mafia boss having hots for a middle class behenji type working girl. Instead of befriending the girl, he sent his mom with rishta (formal proposal of marriage) to the girl’s mom and threatened her on the side, that if she refused to marry him, bad things will happen to her family. How did her family reacted to it, instead of reporting the incident to police or something, the daddy asked the girl to quit her job and stay at home otherwise people will talk?

What subliminal message did this half an hour long episode convey, that it is easy to push women around, whether they are illiterate domestic servants or educated and financially independent girls. Men are licensed from God/society/law/whatever to harass/stalk/rape women and they will get away. After all, what rights do second class citizens have, NONE.

I was so annoyed after watching that soap, I wrote a page long letter and emailed it to the channel that was airing it and copied it to at least 4 women rights organizations. I got a letter of thanks from one of them and they said they will take up the matters with the said TV channel. Irony was, the soap was named ‘Tair-e-lahooti’ which literally translates in to ‘a bird with limitless flight’.

I switched channels and saw discovery doing a crazy scientific study about which part of body hurts most when it is pinched and I was like WTF? I was so fascinated with grown men doing ‘ooh’, ‘aah’ and ‘ouch’ after every pinch that I watched it till the end. Apparently, the back of human arms is the most sensitive area. So if you want to pinch someone really hard, aim for the back of their arms.

Among all that crappy TV, I stumbled upon good ol’ Liz Lemon at her old address (30 Rock) and what a relief it was. Where else do you get dialogues like ‘Hugging is so ethnic’ and ‘you are choosing a sandwich over a guy, that’s less cliched’ to a boss who is as adorably insufferable and screwed up as Jack Donaghy.

Here is an exchange between Jack and Liz that reminded me of … me.

Jack: So what are you gonna do with your money? Put it into a 401K?
Liz: Yeah, I gotta get one of those.
Jack: What?! Where do you invest your money, Lemon?
Liz: I’ve got like twelve grand in checking.
Jack: Are you an immigrant?

Believe me, I have had one of these conversations, and I don’t even have the excuse of being an immigrant. The only difference is that the guy I was talking to was not as fat, old or fabulous as Alec Baldwin and I probably would have a lot less than US$12,000 in my checking account.

The reason I love Tina is that she made edgy neurotic acceptable. Take Liz Lemon, her character in ’30 Rock’ is as real as it can get in network television. She strives to be a better, more honorable, more down-to-earth person and gets diverted by her own shallow, petty urges. She knows who she is and occasionally tries to assert that her rather mundane desires and limitations are perfectly acceptable. She wants a husband, sure, but she doesn’t want anyone to be the boss of her. She wants to get ahead at work, yes, but she also wants to skip work and watch a rented movie in bed. She has made it absolutely normal for women to be single at 37, wear glasses, eat Chinese food out of take away box, attract losers or conflicted people, work with losers or conflicted people and deal with a boss whose ego is as gigantic as Grand Canyon, and still be friends with him. The best thing about Tina Fey is that she can be screwed up and likeable at the same time without being over the top, unlike the clinging, coy and clamoring for attention Jennifer Aniston in Friends.


Mar 25, 2008 - Society, Yousuf Raza Gilani    No Comments

Boobie groping or Boobie guarding?

Somebody was singing the praises of the newly elected PM Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on an online forum. As I was truly galactically screwed by PM’s protocol the night before, this is what I responded with.
“Yeah Gilani the Groper. In case you have forgotten, it is the same guy who was immortalized in the youtube video where he was trying grope a fellow female politician (hence he will always be remembered by boobie trap) in a rally. He got elected last evening, then flew to Karachi to attend his son’s wedding with Peer Pagara’s grand daughter (in case people here don’t know, Peer Pagara also happens to be Gilani’s khalo or maternal uncle) and blocked the traffic for four hours as every lane near the wedding venue was blocked off. I got stuck at a relative’s home and managed to reach home at 2.00 am after the PM’s protocol party opened the roads.

So, after these elections, we chose a man who became a youtube legend (there are two entries of the same video with over 160,000 views) for groping – but hey, what red blooded Pakistani male would not do that?

The newly elected PM is a close relative of Peer Pagara who defines the word ‘establishment’ which also tells us how ‘independent’ the new PM will be. 

To this, I got this response from a gentleman.
“Alright… that is a news for me! No wonder PIR PAGARA is considered a KING MAKER and everyone seek his blessings to stay in the corridors of power!

Mr. Gillani is a human and he may have got carried away at that time. Or may be, what looked ‘boobie groping’ then could actually be ‘boobie guarding’ in that unruly crowd. We must give that benefit of doubt to our new ‘elected’ leader for the sake of JO QAUM APNAY LEADER KI IZZAT NAHEE KARTI… WHO AGAY NAHEE BADHTI!

Besides, who is a clean person in Pakistan’s politiKs today?”

Boobie guarding, now this is fucking hilarious.

Mar 10, 2008 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Another one bites the dust

Another women’s day had passed. I was invited to four different events that day, but I chose the one organized by Goethe Institut and Oxford University Press. It was the launch of a book that was the effort of young Pakistani writers. A year ago, young writers’ competition was launched, 600 stories were submitted and only twelve were chosen to be part of the book titled, “Voices & Visions.”

The reason I chose this event was simple; I wanted to avoid the rhetoric that abounds on International Women’s Day. I thought there would be young people talking about literature and philosophy. Sadly, it did not turn out to be like that. There were customary speeches, a few reading by young writers (quite unimpressive, I am afraid) and then came the chief guest Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal and ruined it all.

Before I go any further, let me introduce her. Justice Iqbal is wife of Justice Javed Iqbal and daughter-in-law of Dr. Muhammed Iqbal a.ka. Allama Iqbal. Before this moot, I thought very highly of her, not only for being a woman judge in Punjab High Court but also for continuing education till late in life. She finished off her LLM in her fifties from HarvardLawSchool (Studying in HarvardLawSchool is tough even when one is in their twenties and thirties, but it is a lot more arduous for a woman in her fifties). On March 8th event, she did not talk about either women’s movement (of lack thereof) in Pakistan or the young writers or writing in general. She hijacked the forum and went on and on about the restoration of judiciary, Justice Iftekhar and lawyers movement. In addition, she blithely assumed that every person present is part of the lawyers movement and asked us all to wear a black armband.

Honestly, she lost me after the first 4 sentences and my friend Zeenia and I started talking about how people do not accord the basic courtesy to the spirit of event and hijack it, even Harvard grad retired judges. When she was unable to do justice to her role as the chief guest, what do we expect from her and the movement that is being run by people like her? In my opinion, lawyers too would turn into a ‘bull in the china shop’ like Pakistani media already has. Pakistani media believes that it is above and beyond law and regulation and anything against them is against the freedom of speech. Lawyers would follow suit and don’t even get me started on parliamentarians. Between Zardari and Nawaz Shariff, it has already been decided that no parliamentarians would be tried for corruption. That would leave people like us who have no recourse but stay put, leave the country or die in silence.

I only wished that someone switched her mike off, but was reminded by my friend that it happen only in the assembly and that too when members from opposition speak. I suffered the indignity of her speech in silence (rolling eyes does not count) and left.

Feb 1, 2008 - romance, Society, USA, women    4 Comments

The Fourth Wave of Feminism?????

If Reuters is to be believed (and they should be believed, they are the oldest news agency), rich older women sitting on gold mines are being paired up with hot young men at a New York matchmaking event next week, Feb 7th to be precise. We have seen rich old and middle-aged men getting hooked up with pretty young things (Donald Trump and Micheal Douglas to name a few), but a New York entrepreneur, Jeremy Abelson, has come up with a speed dating set up where he will be bringing together 20 “sugar mamas” and 20 “boy toys”. Not every run of the mill old woman can be part of it, the “sugar mamas” must be at least 36 and make a minimum $500,000 a year—though $4 million in assets also meets requirements. According to the news, a good 5,000 men applied to become the boy toys, but only twenty had to be selected. The prospective boy toys — who had to be under 35 — were screened by Janice Spindel, billed as New York’s most exclusive matchmaker.

Abelson, 27, calls it “Natural Selection Speed Date II: Sugar Mamas & Boy Toys.” He came up with the idea after drawing criticism from feminists for organizing an event last year that paired wealthy older men with young women. Pocket Change, the company that is promoting this event, is calling it the fourth wave of feminism. One older woman said that she find younger guys more perceptive towards their dates, while older guys will be looking over your shoulder at a younger woman. Honestly, if it requires this much planning and work, it cannot be natural selection, can it be?

For someone like me, raised in Pakistan where a woman’s shelf life is 23 years (you are considered over the hill if you are at least not engaged by 25), this idea sounds, well, alien. Firstly, I think men never really grow up (the addiction to gadgets and video games is but a proof – no matter how old they are, they just want to play) so a man much younger would be more like a kid, what say?

Secondly, the romantic in me cringe at the idea of speed dating in general and this kind of speed dating where they actually go through your bank account to check your eligibility, in particular. What happened to the old fashioned romantic love? Are demands of modern life making the traditional starry eyed love a thing of past?

Another anthropological trend that emerges from this news is that there were 5000 applicants who wanted to be boy toys – that is – they thought a rich older woman would be their meal ticket for life. I am so glad that men are showing their true colors at last. They have been doing it for centuries; choosing to marry for prestige, right family and huge sums of dowry but somehow all of that was deemed socially acceptable, no matter how avaricious it was. Now, men have come out as plain ol’ “Gold Digger” who offer themselves in exchange of a comfy lifestyle, its about time the word gold digger become genderless.

Last but not the least, do cougars out on a prowl represents the fourth wave of feminism? I don’t know, what do you have to say to that?