Qandeel Baloch and the other 'Modest' Women

July 31, 2016 Written By Harnidh Kaur

I love the sudden spurt of articles about Qandeel Baloch. She would've been so happy. Supremely confused, sure, but super happy. And I'm going to take this moment to point out the hypocrisy of a lot of people.

qandeel-baloch

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These people derided Qandeel Baloch while she was alive, and are now painting her as a political mascot. Apparently her death has given meaning to her shenanigans now, and now it's 'okay' for her to be defended. Her worth is now static. She can't make another video to laugh at, and hence cause a deficit in people's 'socially aware' kitty.

She's now READY to be a martyr.

If she were alive, we'd still be laughing, still be sharing, still be calling her a slut in our living rooms because 'yaar sach hi to hai'. Our convenient appropriation of someone's brutal murder makes me sick because this is another thing we'll tack on our online persona. It's terrible because we've efficiently passed on a message. 'We'll love you if you're dead, because you're then a hero.' What about living women, LGBTQA people, atheists, and anyone who in real and active duress? Dawn and Pak listicle websites that made fun of her and called her 'problematic' suddenly love her because 'aww she's dead!!!!'

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Let's talk about the fact that we care about honour killings because our monthly dose of entertainment just died. Let's talk about the fact that our first reaction was 'I don't put up such shit' or 'yeah thank God mom doesn't see my provocative snaps'. Let's talk about the fact that there's a CLEAR intersectionality of privilege even amongst women in ‘3rd world’ countries, and we don't see it.

But our conversation is LIMITED TO BUZZFEED ARTICLES and sad tuts and tchs. We're a part of the problem with our platitudes. Our platitudes stem from a 'this can't happen to me' bias. We've created an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ demarcation in our heads. 'I'm a good girl from a good fam.' We forget that when the claws of the defenders of the moral fabric come piercing through it, they will, most definitely, prick us too. This is about us too. Our privilege is still weaker than the fact that we're living in a country where honour lives in a woman's chastity.

If nothing else makes us rise up in arms, this needs to. We're living in a country where there's no place for ANY women, let alone *bold* women. South Asia is not safe, and we can't kid ourselves by believing it is. If we don't accept the faults how will we improve? Step one: realising there's a problem. People think online trolls aren't real. People think they're okay. And they will KEEP THINKING THAT till they're hit closer home, right?

That's tragic because I really hope none of us have to face it. That it doesn't hit home. Because loss and pain, no one deserves that.

The fact that the conversation is limited to a 'provocative' woman, and is not filtering down to every vulnerable party is worrying because now there's a demarcation. A typecasting. That's the first step to an ingrained sense of victim blaming.

This narrative needs to be changed, and we're the only ones who can do that.

So write about Qandeel Baloch. Write about her as what she was, with her flaws and realities. Creating a halo of heroism around her doesn’t help forward any cause or narrative. Write of her an unapologetic woman whose actions, often without motive, challenged existing paradigms. Write about her as a human being. Humanizing is the first step towards creating empathy.

And today, at this time, of all the times in history, we need a whole lot more of that.

Qandeel Baloch and the other 'Modest' Women

July 31, 2016 Written By Harnidh Kaur

I love the sudden spurt of articles about Qandeel Baloch. She would've been so happy. Supremely confused, sure, but super happy. And I'm going to take this moment to point out the hypocrisy of a lot of people.

qandeel-baloch

Image Source

These people derided Qandeel Baloch while she was alive, and are now painting her as a political mascot. Apparently her death has given meaning to her shenanigans now, and now it's 'okay' for her to be defended. Her worth is now static. She can't make another video to laugh at, and hence cause a deficit in people's 'socially aware' kitty.

She's now READY to be a martyr.

If she were alive, we'd still be laughing, still be sharing, still be calling her a slut in our living rooms because 'yaar sach hi to hai'. Our convenient appropriation of someone's brutal murder makes me sick because this is another thing we'll tack on our online persona. It's terrible because we've efficiently passed on a message. 'We'll love you if you're dead, because you're then a hero.' What about living women, LGBTQA people, atheists, and anyone who in real and active duress? Dawn and Pak listicle websites that made fun of her and called her 'problematic' suddenly love her because 'aww she's dead!!!!'

Image Source

Let's talk about the fact that we care about honour killings because our monthly dose of entertainment just died. Let's talk about the fact that our first reaction was 'I don't put up such shit' or 'yeah thank God mom doesn't see my provocative snaps'. Let's talk about the fact that there's a CLEAR intersectionality of privilege even amongst women in ‘3rd world’ countries, and we don't see it.

But our conversation is LIMITED TO BUZZFEED ARTICLES and sad tuts and tchs. We're a part of the problem with our platitudes. Our platitudes stem from a 'this can't happen to me' bias. We've created an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ demarcation in our heads. 'I'm a good girl from a good fam.' We forget that when the claws of the defenders of the moral fabric come piercing through it, they will, most definitely, prick us too. This is about us too. Our privilege is still weaker than the fact that we're living in a country where honour lives in a woman's chastity.

If nothing else makes us rise up in arms, this needs to. We're living in a country where there's no place for ANY women, let alone *bold* women. South Asia is not safe, and we can't kid ourselves by believing it is. If we don't accept the faults how will we improve? Step one: realising there's a problem. People think online trolls aren't real. People think they're okay. And they will KEEP THINKING THAT till they're hit closer home, right?

That's tragic because I really hope none of us have to face it. That it doesn't hit home. Because loss and pain, no one deserves that.

The fact that the conversation is limited to a 'provocative' woman, and is not filtering down to every vulnerable party is worrying because now there's a demarcation. A typecasting. That's the first step to an ingrained sense of victim blaming.

This narrative needs to be changed, and we're the only ones who can do that.

So write about Qandeel Baloch. Write about her as what she was, with her flaws and realities. Creating a halo of heroism around her doesn’t help forward any cause or narrative. Write of her an unapologetic woman whose actions, often without motive, challenged existing paradigms. Write about her as a human being. Humanizing is the first step towards creating empathy.

And today, at this time, of all the times in history, we need a whole lot more of that.

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