There’s something interesting, in that facepalm sort of way, about the manner in which the South Asian female form is constructed and seen through the North American media gaze. The characterizations of the South Asian female differ from country to country in the subcontinent, from Bangladesh to Pakistan to India to Afghanistan. Despite these differences, however, their portrayals always rely on what is given to us as the foundation of their experiences and identities: they are victims. And it seems that the recognition and propagation of their victimhood is our means of maintaining our gendered and political superiority as well as our overall humanity here in North America.
On September 8th, the New York Times published an article entitled “Defying Parents, Some Pakistani Women Risk All to Marry Whom They Choose.” The article explores what is, unarguably, a weighty social (and economic) issue in Pakistan regarding a woman’s right in choosing her marriage partner. Many Pakistani women face social and personal challenges when trying to assert their right to choose a spouse in a society where the family remains the stronghold of any (male or female) individual’s life. Decisions rarely come solely from the individual but are usually, if not often, the result of family deliberation or the authority of elders. Yet there’s something missing. There is, in fact, a lot missing. [Read more...]