So, it is Thursday night already, and whether I like it or not, I need to have a blog post up here by Friday. I have spent a large chunk of the last week thinking about what to write, how to write it, what tone to use, what to say, what not to say etc. In my head, I have about twenty odd bits and pieces of posts and introductions and mildly amusing anecdotes, but when I sit down to write everything sounds overly composed and unavoidably insincere. One of my professors called it constipated writing, and I feel that in attempting to write this entry I finally understand what he really meant by that. Blogs are strange things, irrespective of the fact that the setting and mood is seemingly informal, the fact that any one can read what you write makes everything you say seem more significant than you meant for it to be, and you tend to scrutinize yourself way more than you usually would. For this reason, it has been difficult to begin, and once a beginning has been achieved, its been even more difficult to continue.
Anyway, at some point during this process of writing, rewriting and unwriting, I decided to step back and figure out why this has been such a struggle. I thought about the fundamental words that this blog has been created around, and the word ‘bodies’ in particular is what struck me as the most foreign. When I think about bodies, I think about headlines news and civil war and collateral damage- and thats about it. Although I am fully aware of the centrality of our bodies to our experiences and nuances and joys and melancholy, I am also aware of how distant I feel from such conversations. My body and I havn’t been on talking terms since about the fifth grade, and I dont see that particular relationship going places anywhere soon. And so here I am, in a complete dilemma situation, experiencing my first set of heart palpitations this semester as I am too much of a scaredy cat to write anything real with very little understanding of the subject that I am supposed to be talking about.
Normally, when I am faced with sinking feelings similar to the ones I am experiencing right now, I tend to watch the following video to you know, ease the tension: (I apologize in advance for the graphic and often strange imagery)
What you are currently watching, is a montage of famous Pakistani actresses in what I guess are meant to be alluring and inviting poses. The song that goes with the pictures, is well, terrible and infuriatingly addictive, as bad songs often tend to be. But at the same time, this song identifies some of the main dynamics that occupy discussions about Pakistani women, and thus often inform the basis for what the Pakistani woman is supposed to be. On the one hand, we are supposed to be ‘sweety’, and are often used as examples of our nations modesty and strong moral standing. But on the other hand, we are nothing more than gyrating pelvic thrusts and breasts jiggling without care or concern, waiting for marriage so that our lust can finally be catered to in ways we have dreamt about since puberty. We are a nation that rests heavily on contradictions, and this is obtusely evident in the way my life as a woman has been experienced so far. In the past, Pakistani women have been leaders, pioneers and activists. But at the same time, we have been victims, crooks and general good for nothing type characters. In my own family, I have seen these contradictions manisfest themselves in the lives of my female relatives, and as the state of the motherland goes from bad to worse, the situation of women at home sinks deeper than it already has. Irrespective of the sheer volume of bullshit that we have had to face, we are disconnected from our bodies and any conversation about such topics have been crushed to a point where they seem unworthy of mention. Our stories are hushed and our ideas are consumed by forces that are larger and scarier than us, to a point where we turn on each other instead of turning on the forces that have reduced us to these inctincts. Some of the women I know have dealt and continue to deal with religious extremism, patriarchy, violence and judgment on a regular basis, and it is their stories to which I strive to stitch my own story and it is from their bad ass defiance that I draw my own strength. I guess what im trying to say is this:
My body, like the body of my grandmother and my mother and my aunts and my cousins, is involved in this perpetual struggle to not become what the rest of the world expects us to become. We are not your sweetys, we are not your maids, we are not waiting for you to save us. Our pelvic thrusts are for our enjoyment alone.
Case in point, the original rockstar, my grandmother circa a long long long time ago:
And on that note, I will end the rambling that this post has become.
Till next week, when I promise something more substantial,
Peas out and keep hydrated,
Oh oh and also, a shout out to the lovely ladies that I am doing this with: we got this, or uh atleast, we got this together.