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Shameless Proposals’ Second Episode Crushes Toxic Masculinity Like Never Before

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Sadia Jabbar Productions’ satirical take on the arranged marriage scenario in our society goes far and beyond the standards the conventional web series have set before. Shameless Proposals is an accurate and funny portrayal of the prevalent rishta culture, of how women are put on a pedestal and are bombarded with irrational expectations. Written by Saji Gul, it hilariously explores the decades of internalized misogyny, social issues, toxic masculinity, and gender roles in our country.

The second episode “Tharki” is a hilarious take on most men’s lecherous gaze and the low bar of expectations we have set for them. In the 11-minute-long episode, we see the potential husband of the girl trying to flirt with every woman within a 5-meter radius. As he winks at Dadi and flirts with the mother, they scrutinize him, noticing his transparent loose character and go on to say, “A real man is lecherous (tharki), who makes sure the woman always feels feminine.” It sadly depicts how women, at the hands of internalized misogyny end up being part of the larger social fabric of toxic masculinity. If a boy is there to ask for your hand, he will not be judged for his lewd remarks or gestures, for these gestures simply communicate his masculinity, and girls are expected to marry such men, because “Men will be men!”

It hilariously highlights how a woman’s wardrobe is conveniently cited as the cause of the dirty male gaze; how they are meant to cover up instead of asking men to control their eyes. The tharki in the episode proudly claims how they don’t spare any woman from their perverted eyes, be it an unmarried girl, a married or a divorced one.

Though, the “modern girl” is not ready to accept this sorry excuse of a man, and retreats with cusswords showing him his place.

This episode makes you wonder if society will ever hold men accountable for their perverted eyes, or women would always have to suffer because of them. The episode does a hilarious take on the whole scenario, but it leaves you with some serious thoughts regarding men and women’s place in our society. Parents hide their daughters from the “tharki” men all their lives, just to marry them off to the same kind under the label of ‘asli mard’? It seems that in a polarized climate where the traditional views have lost credibility and authority, media outlets are really telling it like it is, using satire and comedy. The sarcasm is blunt, and the stupidity and vices are quite obvious for all to see. Shameless Proposals does a brilliant job in being culturally sensitive, feminist and inclusive, while simultaneously speaking every sane man’s mind. In a society that has not yet accepted that patriarchy and misogyny is a much bigger issue than simply getting your girls married, we hope Shameless Proposals can help in leading this discourse forward.

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Weekly roundup

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Here’s all the latest scoop you need on what’s been happening around town and across the globe. (June 8th – June 16th)

1 – It’s more than just a game – Fans around the world are tensely hoping the weather stays clear during the most anticipated World Cup 2019 clash between Pakistan and India 

2 – The newlyweds, Iman Ali and hubby Babar Bhatti are on their honeymoon in Istanbul 

3 – Photos of KP Minister of Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and his fellow officials sporting cat ears and whiskers went viral on Friday night after the social media team running the live broadcast on the official PTI KP Facebook page forgot to disable the cat filter

4 – Instagram accounts turn blue as people all around the world Standing in solidarity with the people of Sudan who are being forced to endure countless horrific atrocities

5 – North west turns 6!

6 – On Saturday, Notre Dame Cathedral held its first mass since the devastating fire that tore through the building two months ago on April 15.

7 – It has been seven years since the Ghazal King Mehdi Hassan passed away but his absence failed to fade away and his ghazals rule over many hearts even today

8 – Mawra Hocane met Rishi Kapoor in New York 

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GAME OF LAWNS Summer is Here

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On a cold February night while mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a lawn advertisement. The next insta post showed socialites wearing sleeveless lawn suits at a launch event. Now I see these same women smiling into the camera almost every hour featured in different elitist magazines and posts. I could have sworn they were wearing jackets and carrying designer bags just yesterday at a polo match.

For those of you not familiar with lawn it’s a fabric to be worn in summers. It’s the finest form of cotton weave which has a soft almost luxurious feel to it. Its comfortable, airy and breathable to give women (never heard of men wearing it) much needed respite from the sweltering heat.

Some of the top brands which are magically sold out at Cinderalla time on their prebooking dates are Elan, Sana Safinaz, Faraz Manan and Sobia Nazir.

 “Please take care of yourselves, don’t put yourselves or others in harm’s way, be happy and stay safe.” Khadija Shah, designer of Elan addressed her customers on Instagram, preparing them for the battle ahead.

Lines are formed outside flagship stores the day of the pre-booking only to be broken as soon as doors open. Social media gets flooded with videos of violent women destroying anything and everything that comes in their way. Salesmen scarred both emotionally and physically.

 “A furious customer smashed a salesman’s head,” said Tahir who works as a driver and was an eyewitness to the incident.

 The disgruntled man had queued up for Elan 3A since 6am. When he finally reached the salesman, he was told they had run out of stock.

Now why do a certain class of people, mostly educated, behave like this is beyond human comprehension. Pushing and shoving are considered milder forms of aggression when it comes to buying their chosen design.

There is method to this madness. First the social media campaigns start. Then you see pictures and videos of unbelievably tall and beautiful women with fair skin and European features wearing long shirts, flared trousers and flowing silk dupattas (long scarves worn traditionally in Pakistan). Some are basking in the sun on a cruise in Italy with their fluttering dupattas following them everywhere. Others lying on a sofa in a French palace and some staring blankly while walking in a forest. The designs and campaigns of different designer brands each year have started looking eerily like each other.

Then the catalogues come out. Hype is created and countdown to online pre-booking starts. Women look through endless pictures while holding their breath and write the codes to their favorite designs for pre-booking. Its status symbol and the race to wear it first rather than the love for lawn that drives sales. There is frenzy around this time. Girls try to ask their friends which one they will buy while casually mentioning they will not buy any designer lawn this season as not to disclose the codes of the suits they are trying to get.

I vowed not to get into the designer lawn trap but unfortunately succumbed to buying just one suit. When I went to collect it, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who took me to the side and started whispering that she had the ‘out of stock’ lawn joras. She handed out her number on a piece of paper and disappeared as swiftly as she had appeared.

Out of curiosity and partly because the design my mother liked was also the first to run out, I called that number to ask about availability. To my horror, the woman quoted almost double the price for the same suit! Talk about creating a business opportunity out of women’s desperation to wear their favorite design before their friends do.

Now I know, designer lawns are nowhere in the affordable range. Most are around Rs 7,000 for a three-piece suit which include unstitched fabric for a shirt and trouser, a dupatta and some random patches (with little to no information given where each patch belongs). But paying double of that seemed unreasonable and wrong.

If you thought the ordeal ends here, wait till you take this lawn suit for stitching. The otherwise friendly tailors during winter months start showing attitude during this season. The prized packet comes with a paper indicating contents in English (I wonder why not in Urdu) and a picture of a model wearing it. When you open it, random cloth pieces much like a jigsaw puzzle keep coming out. Surprisingly this baffles the customers, but the tailors exactly know what fits where. For their services, they charge exorbitantly. Appliques, patches, hem, trimmings, home delivery, stitching early are some of the add-ons included in the final stitching bill which is not meant for the light-hearted. Stitching costs can go up to Rs 3000 or more for a suit.

The Pakistani rupee hit an all-time low of around 146 against the dollar and further devaluation is expected. People are complaining about inflation and rising food prices but there is silence on the topic of exorbitant designer lawn prices. How can so many people afford something so expensive?

More and more textile mills are collaborating with designers to come up with their lawn collection each year. This year low-priced alternatives by coveted designer brands like Muzlin by Sana Safinaz and Zaha by Elan were seen in the market but not met with that much enthusiasm by the seasoned lawn buyers. The whole concept of designer lawn works on looking expensive and showing off otherwise the veterans of lawn like Al Karam, Gul Ahmed and Nishat Linen still have the softest and purest form of the fabric.

Lawn mania doesn’t end here. Now that Eid is around the corner, all the brands are coming out with their formal collection. Did I mention Volume II and III will follow?

The saga never ends…   Maha Shah is a freelance writer, journalist and HR professional who has worked for Google and Bloomberg and has lived in Jordan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar and now Pakistan

By Maha Shah

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Nation Supports Green and Stands United

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The Green Jerseys kicked off the World Cup season in a disheartening way by losing to the West Indies, which raised a plethora of topics to debate on for cricket fanatics. As the biggest extravaganza of cricket proceeded, the more humorous community of the nation joined in by making satirical social media posts and changed blazing emotions to somewhat light humor and sarcasm. Despite all the grief and angst, the team showed improved performance and won against England, which most cricket analysts have placed as the best team in World Cup ‘19.
Greens have always had it in them to win back their place in the nation’s heart and despite another hiccup (Pakistan vs. Australia), the entire country prays for their victory against India – possibly the biggest rivalry of any sporting event. Let’s see how nation is supporting their team here and abroad:

Cheering for Greens in the greatest rivalry:

Sarfraz 11 will once again face off with arch rivals, Kohli 11 on June 16 in Manchester, England and will attract a huge crowd to the stadium to witness unexpected boundaries and wickets. While the team can expect celebrities and other renowned faces from the entertainment industry, they surely can expect Chaudhry Abdul Jalil AKA Chacha Cricket, who is also to be honoured with Global Sports Fan award by PCB. Another group known as “Stani Army” (name derived from latter part of Pakistani), that represents the support of people of Pakistan in UK, will also be seen cheering in the crowd.

When Entertainment Meets Cricket:

Nothing connects the nation of 207 million like cricket does and while fans are already cheering for their team in upcoming matches, entertainment industry has also used this opportunity to show their support.

Similarly, entertainment industry also shows the power of music in different genres.

•            Ten Sports channel where the nation currently enjoys watching all the World Cup matches, launched a hip-hop song “Humaari Bari” which is a depiction of fervor and hope to bring back the trophy this time.

•            Junoon also reunited after 15 years to use their music to bring people together with an inspiring “Choolay Aasman” song.

•            Coke Studio launched a more vibrant and patriotic remake of “Hum Ek Hain” by giving it a touch of some new lyrics which makes it a perfect number to listen and dance at.

•            Stars from TV and drama industry including Hania Aamir, Asim Azhar, Iqra Aziz and Nadia Hussain also showed their support on twitter and Instagram.

Social Media Memes:

Although the Green Jerseys are not short on talent, their unpredictable performance so far has started a chain of mixed emotions all over the social media. Trollers always have something instant to say and all they need for social media is a visual to support their joke and make it more interesting and relatable. Memes like “92’ k World Cup main bhi yehi tha” actually let optimists think that history can be repeated and once again we will be able to lift the cup up high.

Show Your Support:

We all can support the team by watching the biggest cricketing rivalry on June 16th in cafes, university screenings or at a friend’s who has got the biggest screen in all friends on Ten Sports in high definition quality. One can also use props and face paint to show their support here as well.

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