2010

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Fiction

I’m trying out something new. I’m finally brave enough to venture sharing some- note, SOME- of the more tolerable fiction I’ve written in the past. I pretty much dropped it like a hot potato when I figured out that a) I suck and b) I really love journalism and blogging. So here you go, the grand ole fiction experiment.

This little fellow here though, he’s brand new. Just wrote him right now because I’d been upset earlier about a friend whose sister was beaten by her boyfriend for all three years of their relationship. The woman is seriously traumatized because she was scared the boy would spread rumours about her. Sick, no?

Why do you like me?

You don’t give me any attitude and you’re simple. Plus you’re cute.

Later, much later, he was more honest.

I had a feeling that you were the easy sort. I figured you were just acting like a Catholic schoolgirl, and even if you weren’t, I knew I could easily coax you into bed by saying I loved you.

At least he was clear about his intentions. Much later. Made it obvious that he wasn’t interested in a relationship. She just wasn’t his type, and that’s not a crime, two people just aren’t made for each other sometimes.

You think I’d ever date a girl who my friends know I fool around with? That I’d introduce such a girl to my mother?

He never did get used to her, after all. She was always too blunt, too straight-forward. Never pretended, never kept secrets, always up front about everything.

Did you just slap me? Did you seriously just- what the FUCK?!

Listen, it’s your fault. You think I was going to let you stand there cussing at me, and let you get away with it? That I won’t react if you use rude language with me?

She was too clingy, too needy. All those daddy issues worked themselves out in epic kinks, but unfortunately, it made her desperate for male attention, male validation. And the more it was denied to her, the more she sought it. The clingier, needier she got. And her hot temper didn’t help matters either.

That hurts! *sobs*

Look, you shoved me okay? You can’t just shove someone and not expect to be punched in return.

*continues sobbing*

Oh come on baby. You know I didn’t mean it. I’ll be nicer to you, promise. It’s your fault, you know I get angry easily. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I’d hit you so hard. I don’t know my own strength.

She hisses in pain suddenly and leans forward on her chair, remembering the sting of nails digging into her back, marks left by teeth that had her sleeping on her stomach for days.

Absent-mindedly, her fingers brush her left eye, remembering how it had purpled, bruised, so many times.

Her thigh twinges in pained memory of a cricket bat smacked into her, fortunately missing her knee, but still making her limp for most of the next week.

She wakes up in the middle of the night, sweating and tears running down her cheeks, the nightmares all too real.

No, stop I don’t want to. Ugh, no, I’m not in the mood. Stop it, get away. Please stop. No, let go! Stop it, please stop you’re scaring me, I don’t want this, stop it just stop, please!

The year ended. So did they. Life went on. Or did it?

Never forget. Never forgive. That’s always been her policy in life. Some things though, she wishes she could forget. Some memories, you can never escape.

Haunted.

Billie Joe Armstrong croons from the speakers about wanting to wake up after September ends.

She wonders if she’s ever going to wake up from 2010.

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge TV buff. Nor do I hide the sort of television shows I watch. Back in 2011, a newly-made friend was surprised when I told him I liked Californication for example, and immediately chuckled and said, “Don’t tell the feminists you watch it, they’ll eat you alive!” The statement was less of a slur to feminists and more an acknowledgment that as charming as Hank Moody may be, he’s a womanizing, misogynist douche who cannot be vindicated by his true love for Karen of how he sexually objectifies women.

Meh. The man’s a pig, but what can a feminist who was watching The X-Files when she was nine years old do?

Other favorite shows of mine are the old historical dramas like Spartacus, The Borgias, The Tudors and lest we forget, Game Of Thrones. All the shows have gratuitous soft porn in common, as well as a generous dose of misogynist societies where women, even those in power, often wind up victims of crimes, abuse, or just plain unfortunate circumstances. There is also the fact that even the women in power have limited authority, which is second after their husband or father’s authority. Patriarchy you see, still prevails, despite the illusion of female power. And this power is displayed in fascinating ways; on the Orbis Mediology blog, a post regarding Spartacus describes this female power;

Women’s roles in Spartacus are complex. Lucretia and her rival, companion, and ‘frenemy’ Illythia, often call the gladiators to them. They gaze upon them as objects, just as women were so often objectified by the ‘male’ gaze in traditional Hollywood cinema and film. This new female gaze is no more kind, for the men are viewed as objects to be used and abused and little else, for they are slaves, and in the eyes of the wealthy Romans, living toys and workers. Hulking men with exquisite bodies and complex personalities are treated like toys by the women.

I’m not a fan of the soft porn at all either, at times, it gets tedious waiting for it to end. I feel that perhaps, the defense of the producers and writers of the show would be that they aim for a historically accurate show, which means getting the social system of a society right, however misogynist it may have been, and considering that slavery, which is a key aspect of Spartacus, was as common as the show portrays, that the slaves were helpless to their master’s whims, to see how casually women are fucked or used as currency for sealing deals isn’t really surprising. But does that justify the graphic nature of the show? A feminist writer to whom I expressed my disgust to regarding subliminal advertising responded, “Sex sells sweetheart. Number 1 rule of advertising.” I’ve never forgotten this, or how accurate it is for television overall. But, I’m also reminded of The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken’s interview in The Advocate, where she’s asked about a plot twist involving a character Jenny Schecter, and the revelation to the audience that she was sexually abused as a child.

“We all know that it was an incident of sexual abuse. I had not wanted to be more explicit about it than that… I really am loath to portray rape as a film-maker. I think it’s really hard to do it without becoming complicit and exploitative.”

Veering off from that statement into Spartacus, we return to the point regarding gratuitous soft porn and too-frequent images of women being fucked. What happened to the days of television shows where all you saw were two people making out, and then suddenly under the sheets in bed, smiling at each other? The answer is quite simple; sex sells.

But if we move beyond the crude sexuality and porn and the station of women in Rome, the show is complex, to say the least. Its premise is Spartacus, the soldier taken from Thrace, away from his wife Sura, to serve Rome. Lets talk about Sura. She reminds me of Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas, firmly rooted into the earth, gentle, wise, and yet, fierce in her own right. At first, she’s just the pretty, wise wife whose husband marches off to war; then the Romans attack her, and she whips out a knife and well, shows her fierce side. Nor does Spartacus sweep her aside when he rides in, not to the rescue btw, but to fight side by side with her.

Throughout the first season of the show, Sura is the driving force behind everything Spartacus does, first to reunite with her, and then to avenge her death. Spartacus cannot develop as a character without Sura. Essentially, he has no storyline without her. And this storyline comes full circle in the end of season 2, when as he raises his sword above the last person who was complicit in Sura’s death, we see flashbacks of the woman who wasn’t behind Spartacus, but right beside him.

Crixus, who is the champion of the ludus and Spartacus’s initial rival, falls in love with a slave girl. Unfortunately, he has earned the fondness of Lucretia, the dominus of the house, and therefore, their relationship is doomed due to her jealousy. And sort of dull. This excellent, fangirly blog describes my feelings for season 1 Naevia/Crixus perfectly.

“He went from caring nothing about glory and honor in the arena to being blindsided by feelings that he obviously had no experience in.. seeing him struggle to keep this relationship alive while he and Naevia were at the mercy of those above them. But of course, this was at the expense of Naevia, who seemed nothing more than a faceless cipher for the development of Crixus, who had no characterization beyond being beautiful and gentle.”

So let’s flash-forward to season 2, and the real reason behind writing this blog; Naevia’s rescue. It is revealed that she was ferried around to various influential men by Batiatus to curry favour, once the cunning slave Ashur exposed her secret relationship with Crixus, and when this was finished, she was sent to the mines. Naevia is traumatized, and suffering a great deal. But then, something magical happens that seldom happens on television;instead of continuing to mope and die a tragic victim, doomed to be eternally exploited and harmed, Naevia asks Crixus to teach her to fight, so that no man can ever hurt her again. And Crixus agrees. The transformation here is staggering. It is as if learning to fight is the healing Naevia needed, bringing back courage, and strength, so that the passive little slave-girl is but a thing of the past.

And then, there is the climax to her transformation; Ashur visits the rebel encampment, and Naevia asks to avenge herself for the crimes he committed against her. The ensuing scene is beautiful. As Naevia battles Ashur, the men stand by. The terror and anguish on Crixus’s face is visible; he is terrified that he may possibly lose her a second time. But, oh the beauty of this fact, he would rather risk losing her as she fights to avenge herself, rather than swoop in as her white knight and lose her by dishonouring her in the worst way possible. There is a point when Spartacus starts to step forward, seeing Naevia’s possible defeat. And the cocky prettyboy-turned-lover Crixus stops him. And then, it happens; Ashur stands above Naevia, mocking her, saying that she was and remains weak. The men stand by, anguished but determined to honour their fellow warrior. Then it happens; Naevia stabs Ashur in the crotch, screams that she is no longer weak, and rises to lop off his head. As a relieved Crixus embraces her, Naevia admits that he was right, that it is not easy to take a life. A humble man,  gazing at the woman he loves and his equal, solemnly says, “then I will teach you,” and embraces her again. The beauty of this entire scene cannot be forgotten. Naevia seems to have come full circle.

Lets not forget Mira, Spartacus’s lover, whom he drifts away from and eventually severs romantic ties with amiably. Mira weeps as this happens. But she also wipes away her tears and tells him that she needs to go conduct archery training, as she is one of their best archers. This is the same Mira who, in season 1, was so helpless to her master’s will that if they told her to have sex with Spartacus, she had no choice in the matter. And when Mira is training in archery herself, another slave-girl who uses sexual favours to win protection from gladiators says that she is trying to make her place in the world. Mira tells her to do so of her own worth, and not by what’s between her legs.

The show’s also LGBT-friendly and multi-racial, by the by. That wasn’t part of this blog, but I feel it important to mention this fact, because it adds to how much win this show is made of. While I’m still uncomfortable with the porn and the way women are treated and portrayed, I’m still a fan, for Saxa, the fierce, madcap Germanic warrior woman, for Mira, for Naevia, and for feminism. It isn’t an ideal feminist show, no, but for me, it’s a step in that direction.

Dear pre-teens, teenagers, young girls, women, and everyone remotely female,

You do not have to be blonde, white, and have coloured eyes to be beautiful.

You do not need a specific waist size or hip size or bust size to be attractive.

You don’t need expensive hairdos, buckets of makeup, or accessories to stand out.

You do not need ass-hugging jeans, painted-on tops, high heels that push your ass up prominently, body piercings, tattoos in suggestive areas to be desirable.

Actually, you do not need to be beautiful, attractive, or desirable.

You need to be true to yourself. To your individuality, that unique spark that makes you you.

What do you like to do?

But you have no answer to that, because no one ever told you that you could like things on your own. All you’ve ever known is that as a girl, a woman, you’re supposed to be sexy, flirty, friendly but not too friendly, mysterious but not too elusive, stylish but not too trendy, air-headed but not too flighty.

Do you like to paint? Or draw? Or write?

Do you want to construct buildings and skyscrapers and banks and homes?

Do you want to do interior decorating? Open up a flower shop? Be a party planner? Design clothes?

Do you want to serve and protect people as a cop or firefighter?

Do you want to be a veterinarian, helping injured animals, or an animal rights activist, helping and protecting animals?

A doctor, healing people, giving people hope in miracles? A surgeon, giving people’s lives back to them?

A social worker, helping those with the sort of disturbed home life you had, helping orphans? An NGO worker, protecting minorities, women, disabled children, the elderly?

A car racer? A sportswoman? A businesswoman? An entrepreneur? A teacher?

A musician perhaps, or a singer, or an actress? Or an anchorwoman on a news channel, or a journalist?

The possibilities are endless. You can be all this, and more. There are hidden talents inside you. Discover them and use them to spread joy to others. There is an intelligent mind in your head. Nurture it, watch the world around you and learn, read, travel, meet different people, because even the most vile, reprehensible person can teach you something.

You will make your own way in this world on the basis of your deeds, your work. And people will flock to you, look up to you, and admire you for everything you are. Learn humility for them, even as you try to nurture the person inside them, to teach them to realize their inner potential. Your path will be difficult because unfortunately, life tends to be like an abusive ex-boyfriend, constantly haunting you and stopping your progress with flashbacks and repressed memories. But you are capable of overcoming those difficulties, because a vagina is not a sign of weakness. It just indicates your gender. It’s a part of your body, nothing more, nothing less.

Who you are, depends on your actions, your words, your good nature, your amiability, your honesty and integrity, your kindness.

Who you are, does not depend on how aroused a man gets by your outfit, or how many boys ask you out to the prom. Who you are in life, is not dependent on how many ladies want their sons to marry you. Who you become one day, does not depend on the colour of your skin or hair, your fashion sense, your expertise with frivolities like hairstyling and makeup, your coquetry, your tailored giggles and flirty glances.

You are who you make of yourself in life.

You are never, ever, anything on the basis of your physical appearance and sexual desirability alone. They have zero significance, and well they should, considering that they get in the way of the outstanding individual you could be, if you weren’t trying to get a Kardashian body or Jennifer Anniston haircuts or rocker chic raccoon eyes.

You rock. Not because you’re hot or sexy or pretty. But because you’re you.

I met up with an old college friend of mine today. We were friends before I was anti-establishment and she, pro-military, before I was a feminist atheist, and she, a spiritual, bohemian artist. It is often the people you know, before you were anybody, or had found your place in the world, who remain with you throughout life, which is why, despite our radical differences, we’ve been friends all these years.I had an interesting conversation with her regarding feminism today. She expressed dislike of feminism and said, “Ugh god no, I’m not a feminist!” And I asked her, “why not?” And she claimed she wasn’t. This was the conversation that followed.

Justin to me: I’m not a feminist.

Me: Do you believe in educational opportunities for women?

Justin: Yes.

Me: Do you believe in freedom of movement and more independence for women?

Justin: Yes.

Me: Do you believe that a woman’s dress should not be dictated by whether it violates the honour of her father or husband, because her dress is not another person’s honour?

Justin: Yes.

Me: Do you believe in career opportunities for women?

Justin: Yes.

Me: Do you believe women have the right to decide if they want to marry, when they marry, or whom they marry?

Justin: Yes, definitely!

Me: Do you believe that marriage, in many ways, actually restricts the independence and freedom of women?

Justin: A little bit, yes.

Me: Do you feel a woman should be able to study, work, travel the city, without fear of sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of her gender?

Justin: Yes.

Me: Congratulations! You’re a feminist!

Its interesting to note that after this conversation, Justin explained that she didn’t want to be one of those women screeching on and on about how men are horrible and how you hate men. I often forget how often, and how easily, feminist women are stereotyped as “man-haters” or my personal favorite, “man-hating lesbians”. What’s even more amusing is that feminism isn’t a system that promotes inequality of the sexes, it strives to bring a balance between the genders, removing men from their disadvantaged, male privilege, women from their inferior chattel status, and putting them both on equal footing. It would stand to reason that any attempts to discredit feminism can only stem from a desire of male privilege prevailing. After all, many women do prefer to be “taken care of” in a patriarchal system. (What, you thought only men were misogynists? Some of the biggest misogynists I know are women.)

The kind of thinking that would lead to many women who would actually serve as excellent feminist role models viewing feminism with contempt is best illustrated by a hasty illustration, courtesy of Shumaila from Mellow Creativity. Originally made for an article she contributed to my final year project, I’ve been itching for the chance to share it.

Image

(I had the idea to do this on Teacher’s Day but then I forgot. I’m going to write a series of blogs about teachers that have impacted my life in a significant way.)

The first time I met Sir Azfar is quite comical. I was exiting class when I narrowly avoided running into a –tall-extremely tall- guy. What struck me about him was that when I apologized, he mumbled it away in a  rather preoccupied manner, which is not something you see every day in a university with an abundance of creepy men. And thus, I noticed him. When he was gone, I asked my best friend,

“Dude, who’s that hunk, omg is he studying with us, is he a transfer student, do we have any classes with him?!”

Eyeing me in horror, she responded,

“Ghausia, that’s the new creative writing teacher everyone is talking about!”

Disturbing as it may sound, the man was in his early 30s, had long curly hair, and was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Trust me, in my university, that’s quite the anomaly.

Two years later, I can hardly believe that I actually had the chance to be under the tutelage of that mythical being. The new creative writing teacher, they all said. He’s so cool. He’s so funny. He’s so smart. He’s a really good writer. He actually teaches.

(Of course, they all hated him after mid-terms when they found out what a stern grader he was)

It wasn’t till the next semester that I too, studied creative writing with him. Sir Azfar remains, to date, the only teacher who actually taught me to write. Others had encouraged me, yes, but never precisely taught me. The highlight of that particular class was when he gave us a descriptive writing assignment, in which I crashed so badly, that he never forgave me for it. No matter how many donuts I brought for him.

He would energetically scrawl across the whiteboard, and it was always a challenge to read his writing.

I still remember that one assignment, where he asked us to write about any event that had changed our lives, changed us a person. I titled my submission “Why I’m So Loathsome.” To date, it remains one of my favorite pieces, despite lacking the finesse that I now possess. And that assignment opened up the floodgates to some of my best writing, as I learned from Sir Azfar, how to draw from personal experience and write. I had kept a diary since I was 13,  yes, but it was nothing compared to what I began writing then. My personal life was in turmoil that semester, and I had no adults to talk to about it. Until I started writing about it in my assignments. I actually did not realize until after a while, that my mentor had easily figured out the truth in my writing, and once I did, he made it clear that he didn’t judge me in any way. That was my greatest fear; to have everyone turn away from me because of my mistakes. He didn’t. He still hasn’t.

Every time my thoughts are muddled, I sit down and make up a cluster/mind map to sort out my ideas for whatever it is I’m writing. I always recall his lessons every single time I write.

It’s funny that as I attempt to write about the man I feel so much regard for, the man who was, is my mentor, I find myself at a loss for words. But then, that’s Sir Azfar for you. Beyond words, beyond descriptions, he simply is.

What makes a teacher really stand out is when he teaches you beyond the course requirement, and that’s exactly what Sir Azfar did. With gentle mockery and quiet, almost non-existent encouragement, he continuously pushed us all to do more than we were capable of, more than the best of us. In one class, seeing the almost extremist mentality of the students, he set them to work on a project promoting interfaith harmony. In another, he supported me in doing a project on LGBT Pakistan even as he mocked (and still mocks, to this day) my efforts and the end result.  In another class, I was working with a group of friends when they rudely kicked me out for no reason. Sir Azfar was the one who, in that very class, quietly said, “This is  your chance to prove a point, and prove that you’re better than every single person here.” You have to understand, I suffer from lack of confidence and low self-esteem for a reason. I have never, ever, ever had the kind of encouragement that I need and crave to be comfortable in my own skin. On the contrary, I have always felt as if there is something wrong in the way I am. A manufacturing default, as Wasio would say. To have someone put so much faith in me was quite overwhelming, and the biggest morale boost I have ever had.

I snickered throughout this entire lecture. He never scolded me, even once.

He was a harsh instructor, but never unfair. It’s funny that a lot of students hated him because he said words like puberty or absent-mindedly cussed sometimes, other students complained that “all Sir Azfar does is come and talk, and never teaches anything”, and yet, it was those same students who not only wanted to study with him later, but remembered him fondly, saying, “At least Sir Azfar would teach us something, he would answer our questions.” Another student once said, “Sir Azfar taught us how to work on impossible deadlines otherwise I could never have finished my work.” There was one semester when even I was angry with him for his workload, but astoundingly enough, when we confronted him about it, he actually eased up on it. He made fun of a friend of mine because I told him he made her cry after being a bit mean to her in one class, but when he realized I was serious, he apologized to her immediately, then and there. My experience with Pakistani teachers is that they are extremely arrogant, and have the lowest opinion of students. Thus, they are often quite offensive and abrasive. After the horrible teachers we had all studied with, it was almost an honour to have a teacher not just acknowledge his mistake, but actually apologize for it.

I think the best part of my life in the past four years were those creative writing mornings when I would stop at Dunkin Donuts before class for an egg&cheese sandwich and coffee. I was allowed to eat in class only if I brought donuts for Sir Azfar. I would always sneak them in the rostum before class, simply because of how amusing it was to see him putting his things in there, and looking up in delight at me when he found his paper bag. To this day, every time I see a Boston Kreme donut at DD, I find myself wistfully saying, “Man, I miss Sir Azfar so much.”

Amusingly enough, though he claimed I was his favorite student, he was the meanest to me. I got the toughest grades, the harshest treatment, and don’t get me started on how he found it amusing to continuously send me up and down the stairs on errands, knowing I was out of shape enough to get easily winded. But he was my teacher, my mentor, my friend. I could quietly go up to him, tell him some problem, embarrassed and waiting for him to mock me, only to be met by kindness and understanding. I could whine about juvenile issues, only to hear, “Just get over it, move on, and get back to your writing, because you’re much better than this.” I could let things slip about my problems, or infer to them vaguely, and have him quietly pull me aside later, ask me if I was okay, if anything was troubling me, if I needed help.

We never had to follow any rules with our work. This was something my friend made for her project, a rough mockup I believe, and it was untidy, vague, and the people looked like fishes, but he just wanted to make sure we understood what we were doing, regardless of our methods.

Of course, I’m going to block him from seeing this blog when I share it on my FB. He’d never let me hear the end of it, after all. And he wouldn’t be Sir Azfar if he didn’t mock me relentlessly even when we both know he appreciates the gesture. That’s Sir Azfar for you. He taught us to write, he taught us to think, to value critical thought. He pushed us to become the best person we could possibly be. He told us that we would never be all that we wanted to be, but it was okay. What we wanted to be, was nothing compared to what we could be, and what we could be, we would not have been without his guidance and support.

Doesn’t make sense, does it? It isn’t supposed to. You can’t understand, if you haven’t been taught by Azfar Rizvi. You won’t understand the myth if you never experience the man’s company.

He didn’t give us wings to fly, or any other sentimental crap. He clipped our wings, and forced us to manage life hopping around without wings. And who needs wings, when you have Sir Azfar?

This is from the second session of the last class we ever had with him. Obviously, it makes me quite nostalgic.

(I had the idea to do this on Teacher’s Day but then I forgot. I’m going to write a series of blogs about teachers that have impacted my life in a significant way.)

I went to a pretty basic school. It’s one of those old schools that was wonderful in its time, but while I was there, there was a steady decline in its quality. The friends I made there, are the friends who are always there for a chat and never judge me for the person I am now, but really, the place didn’t really do much for me. It wasn’t until college that I experienced what it was like to be in the presence of a teacher, a real teacher.
I had three elective courses, and my favorite one was English Literature. My teacher’s name was Ma’am Kaukab Tariq, she had apparently taught at my school as well when I was younger, and left when it went down the toilet. She was this elegant, classy, amazing lady who was nothing short of magical for her students. My class consisted of nine students altogether, but I’m sure that even if the class strength was more, she’d be on the same personal basis with even 30 students.

Our course consisted of a collection of essays and a play on Abraham Lincoln. I still remember the very first essay we studied with her, titled The Golden Drugget. I don’t think I can ever forget her musical lilting voice, transporting us to that dark night, with a ray of gold shining out of the inn, as if to say, “come in, and I’ll give you shelter from the storm.” She drew pictures on the whiteboard so we could picture it exactly in our mind’s eye. When I read that book of essays today, I wonder how we endured such dry, dull writing, and then I remember. It was Ma’am Kaukab that made them the exact opposite of dry and dull.

Our classes were filled with laughter and eager discussion. We never got any notes or handouts. We didn’t want them; we wanted to do our own research. When Ma’am Kaukab would tell us of notes she had, we would refuse to have them because we were always in this race to have the best research to show her, and come up with obscure facts and impress her somehow. I still have all of my notes, the quotes from war generals illustrating exactly how horrible the Battle of Somme was in The Somme Still Flows, complete with battle strategies and maps, the essays we wrote on various themes, and how could I ever forget the essay Refuge From Nightmare, which I’ve quoted on my blog several times? I can still remember how quiet we were in that class, how depressing it was for a bunch of college kids to read about the same depressing sentiments in post-WW1 era that we felt at the time. Then we reached the ending, that magical ending, and hearing Ma’am Kaukab explain it filled me with such indescribable hope and joy. To this day, I carry that memory with me, and those ending lines, recalling them in my darkest moments.

Not that our classes were formal in nature. Not by a long shot. I would excitedly tell her about my current favorite TV show, Supernatural, how cute the two actors were, how sad I was when their father died, I related anecdotes of my niece and nephew who still pretty much own my soul. I remember once, when I brought my nephew to school, she was the first teacher I introduced him to, because of how much she heard about him.

My school had been so small, and my life so sheltered, that college was an extremely jarring experience for me. Its very size alone had me in the grips of panic attacks several times. In my school, everyone knew each other, it was a small school and we had all been there since kindergarten, I was popular as one of the best writers, the best debaters, the best at English. Suddenly, I was just another face in the crowd. No one greeted me in the corridors, there was no one smiling in recognition every which way I turned, teachers didn’t really know me, and so what if I could speak English fluently, so could the entire college population! But Ma’am Kaukab’s classes gave me something to hold on to, to steady myself and say, “No, I am no longer special, but I am still exceptional and I am still worth quite a bit.” She would refer to us as her gems, and we probably aren’t, but she certainly made us feel that way. I never knew what knowledge was, until I met her. I never understood what learning was all about until I experienced her classes. That one year was filled with magic and wonder for all of us, and the embodiment of all that was Ma’am Kaukab Tariq.

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Feminism, Uncategorized

I’ve never shared this publicly for some reason, even though its a blog I frequent often. This is my favorite go-to website when I want to explain feminist concepts to people but don’t know how to simplify it for them.

Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

Short answer: Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.

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