Malala and the Media: Not Black and White

Malala Yousafzai. [Source].

This post was written by guest contributor Ossob.Looking back at recent media attention on Muslim women, the story of Malala Yousafzai stands out because it simultaneously inspired and frustrated me. A young Muslim woman had captured the attention of the global media for, it would appear, all the right reasons. Malala Yousafzai, the bright 14-year-old activist brutally attacked by the Taliban, has not fit neatly into the dominant narrative of Muslim women as oppressed, feeble, and silent. … [Read more...]

Zero Dark Thirty: A Tale of Bias and Burqas

Zero Dark Thirty - Maya

This post was written by guest contributor Emaan Majed.The scene opens on a bustling Peshawar market. The street vendors peddle ripe oranges and bananas. Decorated rickshaws bustle through busy streets as Maya, the determined female protagonist of Zero Dark Thirty, makes her way to her destination. But in contrast to actual Peshawar markets, the only Muslim women on the movie screen are two briefly seen, unnamed extras wearing sky blue Afghan chadris.The central narrative of Zero Dark … [Read more...]

Pakistan: A Country of One Color?

Fair & Lovely ad. Source:

 This post was written by guest contributor Emaan Majed. On my grandmother’s dresser, there is a pink tube of cleverly marketed whitening cream. She applies it daily, despite being quite pale, despite claiming to hate the colonizers from whom it stems, despite being a health-freak and knowing that it contains hints of mercury. My grandmother is not unlike many Pakistani women in this aspect. My progressive, liberal, ‘I have never done a racist thing in my life’ aunts each own a bottle. Th … [Read more...]

A Woman’s Quiet Revolution: An Interview with Journalist Zubeida Mustafa


Several weeks ago, I wrote a brief profile on Zubeida Mustafa, recipient of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF).  My initial coverage of Mustafa's achievements was based on snippets I had read from a number of profiles online.  Since then, however, I have had the unique privilege of interviewing her on behalf of Muslimah Media Watch.  Although much of our conversation took place on email and telephone (she resides in the south of the co … [Read more...]

Writing from Pakistan: Zubeida Mustafa

Zubeida Mustafa. Image via IWMF.

“A reporter must ignore critics and write the truth, Mustafa said. ‘Even if it is a tiny little drop in the ocean, you know you have made a contribution,’ she said. ‘So then you can have a clear conscience.’”- From an article on Zubeida Mustafa by the International Women’s Media Foundation The past couple of weeks have been difficult for Pakistan's newsrooms, particularly in terms of the law and order situation in the country.  In addition to the monotonous rhetoric leading up to the 2013 Pr … [Read more...]

Film Review: Unveiled Views

Moshagan Saadat. Image via Women Make Movies.

“When someone wants to be an artist, because they cannot let what’s going on around them stay the same, achieving fame in the world of art becomes unimportant.” –Alma Suljevic I am a lover of all art forms, including cinema; the Women Make Movies initiative, and the kind of varied and thought-provoking cinema they help produce, has always captured my interest.Alba Sotorra’s 2009 film Unveiled Views was a movie I could sit and proudly watch on my own, or even watch with family. … [Read more...]

Malala Yousufzai: A Story of Education, Drones, and Foreign Policy

Malala Yousufzai. Image via Dawn.

On a recent grocery store run, my father and I overheard an interesting exchange between two male store attendants about Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old activist from Pakistan's northern Swat region who was targeted recently for her outspoken views on education.  While one of the attendants bemoaned her fate, his friend, a young Pathan, speaking with the tell-tale lyricism of Urdu in a Pashto accent, proceeded to comment on how many girls like Malala are being killed by drone attacks in South … [Read more...]