Wednesday, November 20, 2013

We BEAR our BREASTS



I so often hear comments on my topless boobful drawings from brown guys.... things like,

"Her breasts don't look accurate because brown women's breasts are never that perky"

"Brown women never have nipples like that"

or I've even once heard

"Brown women never have nice breasts"

I mean WHAT. THE. FUCK. Breasts come in all kinds, regardless of geographical fucking location.

I don't ever hear judgements on how brown penises are worse than other international penises. Why do some men have to be such assholes? Because they were fucking raised to be. Misogyny is part of the package that comes with our colourful culture. The problem is, we refuse to acknowledge it and change. Its not always men either. Some of the worst misogynists I have come across are other Pakistani women... who have told me how women should sit, how they should behave... and where their place in the world is. They have told me what I can and cannot wear, obviously I have disregarded it all (for those who aren't regular readers, I assure you I am a woman myself (happily married) and not just trying to get boob pics for stroke material).

Now I ask you Pakistani women, and other women and men who wish to assist me in my goals of increased equality in Pakistan to support me in my upcoming art project. I know, its a stretch....I don't know how many will want to participate...and I don't blame you, we live in a culture of fear. Especially as women, we barely have the freedom to walk down the street by ourselves in a country like ours, let alone show ownership over our own body parts. If you feel you cannot participate, at least support by sharing the FUCK out of it, all over your social media.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves (please click to enlarge and read text) :












1) No faces at all. I don't want you identified.

2) Remember to include a sentence or two about discrimination you have faced.

3) SHARE on your social media

4) All participants must be 18 years of age or older

5) Submissions from trans women are welcome!

6) send all emails to nicemangosDOTblogATgmailDOTcom  

7) Do not worry about your anonymity, I have never in the history of my blog compromised anyones identity... please take a look around to see what kinds of things people have shared with me. I will put pics up in a random order after I have received a fair amount.

8) the above are just samples - made from googled images.


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yes there might be pervs excited by the idea of this. But i refuse to live in fear of sex hungry pervs desperate to catch a glimpse of bare skin.

obviously there will be some people pissed off by the very idea. How boring would it be if there weren't?

Now lets get some diverse breasts out there ladies!

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UPDATE: some awesome submissions have started coming in. I am truly truly grateful for you participation. Lets pick up the pace ladies, this is going to be infuckingcredible.... and I cannot do it without you. 

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SECOND UPDATE: You can view the launched project here!!






Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pakistan: The Heterosexual Nation


Inspired by other flag mashups I saw on the interwebs. 


Hey Eiynah,

This is Jawaad - A 21 years old university student. I've been following your blog for about a month or so and I found it really interesting. Firstly, I would like to tell you straight away that I'm a heterosexual male and by saying this I don't mean to disrespect homo/bisexuals. I just said it so you wouldn't make any presumptions on my sexual orientation. LOL.

Any ways, I've read a lot on the internet and heard this from a lot of people that from every 100 men, 5-10 are usually gays. I usually see a lot of western TV shows, Movies and in them you can see from a group of 10 friends usually 1 turns out to be a gay.


So right to the topic, I personally have a very large friends circle (male/female both) but i've never come across any one who claimed *not* to be a hetero. Usually in Pakistan, whenever a male starts to earn, everyone in his family considers for him to marry. I mean like its all natural, no one could just change their sexual orientation. Its just the way we are created. And if the above statistics are somewhat legit, we see that EVERY man in our society marries a WOMAN once he is capable of supporting his life partner. I mean, what if the guy turns out to be a gay? Does he suppresses his feelings and is too shy/afraid to admit even to himself that he is a gay? I have a friend, who was my school mate and when we were in our teens and discovered about this SEX thing and PORN we used to talk about it a lot in school like every other person. We were really good friends back then, and we used to visit each other's houses alot. Once i went to his house and just checked his porn collection on his computer and i was really surprised to see that he also had a collection of men fucking men videos other than the normal pornography. I was literally shocked to see this and when i confronted him he just kind of admitted that he is actually bisexual and turned the subject. You might be considering what actually is the point of all this fuss i just wrote but honestly, it just keeps bugging me sometimes. I mean, why people are too afraid here, what's causing them to not admit it or maybe every male in Pakistan is heterosexual which is not true obviously. Any thoughts?


Oh....well.....I have a lot of thoughts on this matter, Firstly; there is no such thing as 'normal pornography' - there isn't much normal/average sex in straight porn either. Porn is a big show, gay or straight....And secondly; the demographics of sexuality have always been difficult to pinpoint exactly. Sexuality is fluid, and labels can be too vague or not entirely accurate for people to identify with. That is, just because someone is attracted to the same sex on occasion, doesn't necessarily mean they identify as gay. The usual 10% estimate might actually be higher depending on whats included in your definition of 'gay' - does it mean someone who has had a gay experience? (If thats the case, believe me Pakistan's percentages would soar!) 

Does your definition include only those who 'openly' identify as gay? And in that case, how does one account for the reasons they might have to remain in the closet - such as; homophobia, religious intolerance, persecution, family pressure, no resources or system of support, etc. 

Jawaad, Pakistan is simply not a very gay-friendly country. People that don't fit the mould are often punished, severely. Why would they come out of the closet in such an environment? Where they can be harassed and abused, both mentally, physically - where they could potentially be killed... So I hope this answers your question of, 

"I mean, why people are too afraid here, what's causing them to not admit it"

Such factors should always be considered when you wonder why there just aren't that many gay people in Pakistan. 

They are there, but just not open about it. In our culture, young people are sadly still not given much independence regarding major decisions in their lives. Others decide who they will marry, when they will marry, when they will lose their virginity, etc. This is why, gay men in Pakistan often marry women, because that is simply what is expected of them, and there is no feasible alternative....without the fear of discovery. I assume this addresses the part in your email where you ask,

"we see that EVERY man in our society marries a WOMAN once he is capable of supporting his life partner."



"I mean, what if the guy turns out to be a gay? Does he suppresses his feelings and is to shy/afraid to admit even to himself that he is a gay?"

Its very sad for both parties in this situation, but especially the one who has no knowledge about their partner's orientation. I find that to be one of the saddest deceptions ever. Often in these situations, a gay husband is free to sleep around with whoever he pleases, because he still does have the male privilege that comes with owning a penis in our culture. No denying that. "Men will be men, they have high sex drives, and shouldn't really be held accountable if they have extramarital sex. Must be something the wife is not doing right, perhaps she is unable to satisfy him..." < ------ these, fawaad, are often things said when such a situation becomes public. I have heard them being said more than once about wives who's husbands just happened to be gay, through no fault of their own. 

I have not heard many stories of gay women marrying and having same-sex affairs with women. Though I'm sure it does happen. Equally sad, and equally deceptive, but sometimes in our intolerant culture there truly is no option. If there is an option to stay unmarried, I would recommend that for sure. 

But to answer your question, yes, they must have to suppress their feelings, and go through with a life changing decision they have no control over. I would say the word 'afraid' is more accurate than 'shy' - there is fear of losing loved ones; friends, family.... there is fear of persecution, harassment, shaming the family etc....all these fears, that should not be a part of our world in this day and age of science. Where we know variety in sexual orientation is a perfectly natural occurrence and not some symbol of a curse or whatever other ridiculous shit people say. 

I was in fact recently speaking with a desi gay man I know, who is 'out' to his family, and is very confident in who he is.... but even his family is 'praying' for his conversion to hetero-ness. Clinging to the hope that he might marry a woman some day. I just don't get it. Pakistanis often have trouble accepting things different from 'the norm'. 

We really must evolve past our witch-hunting phase. We witch-hunt all types of people.... in the 21st century. We have to sign a bloody declaration of idiocy on our passports, that should tell you something about our levels of tolerance.

1. I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad the last of the Prophets.
2. I do not recognize any one who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or any description whatsoever, after Prophet Muhammad or recognize such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer as Muslim.
3. I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor prophet and an infidel and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori, Qadiani or Mirzai groups, to be non-Muslims.

----For any non-Pakistanis reading this, yes...this is a real thing we have to sign before we can get a Pakistani passport. We have to denounce Ahmadi Muslims and call them 'imposters'. Just a little glimpse into our state sanctioned discrimination of minorities. Imagine what Pakistani Ahmadi Muslims feel, when signing this...just to get a passport. :( -----

Now, back to your story Jawaad, you were shocked by the discovery of gay porn on your friends computer. Ok.

I can understand the shock if you have never been exposed to different sexual orientations before. But really, its not that shocking.... people should be allowed to be attracted to and jerk off to whoever they like - as long as both parties involved are consenting adults, and no one is being forced to do something they are not comfortable with, then what does it matter what kind of porn he watches? Hopefully it will not change your friendship. I'm sure he felt uncomfortable too, acknowledging something that is so frowned upon in Pakistani society. Kudos to your friend for having the balls to admit it. 

I hope this clarifies some things for you. And thank you so much for addressing this topic. I'm sure so many people wonder the same things... but don't want to ask. 

Cheers, 




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

White People Objectify Me....

and so do brown people, black people, mediterranean people, men, women...

Its what humans do unfortunately. 

In my life experience, I've had more than my fair share of objectification. For several reasons;

a) I'm a woman
b) I'm a person of colour
c) for much of my young adult life I had very visible subcultural affiliations. 

And it really pisses me off when people use their race or even gender to constantly point out differences, to highlight the 'Us VS. Them'. If you are experiencing discrimination based on these things, never hold back. Call people on their prejudices. But if you are not experiencing discrimination based on something, there is no need to incessantly, irrelevantly bring it up in every situation.

I had the pleasure of conversing with someone recently who was advocating 'precautionary measures' against being objectified and exoticized. Basically, you're a person of colour-- you can never be in a genuine relationship with a 'white person', because they are the oppressor, they are out to culturally appropriate and exoticize you. You must question the intention of every white person that wants to have a friendship/relationship with you (sounds a lot like the strain of radical feminism that thinks you can't consent to sex with a man if you're a woman...because he's automatically the oppressor).

When I protested this idiotic paranoid assumption for what it is, I got whacked with a 'well you clearly know nothing about your culture or your identity, and you must be one of those people who are thankful/grateful living under the service of their white overlords'.

Though I was thankful for this valuable insight into my own ignorance, I had to come to terms with the fact that I did not have any "white overlords". 

Listen, we were once oppressed and often still are (in a less colonizy way) by 'white countries' - I get it. And I demand that sensitivity from the people around me. No you cannot make fun of the poverty in my motherland, no you cannot make jokes about colonization or how all brown people are cab drivers, no, brownface/blackface is NEVER ok, there are some things that are obviously racist, and there are somethings that are less obviously racist...sure...But beyond that, I am not going to live in hatred and fear the fact that any white person talking to me might be out to oppress me. Because let's face it, that's ludicrous.

(And neither am I that easily oppressed.) 

Sure there are racists out there, plenty of 'em. But you'll probably know one when you meet one. And sure there are people who will fetishize and exoticize other people based on difference. 

I used to believe there was no 'reverse racism', because racism had to be systemic, rooted in power dynamics to be considered 'racism'. Oh how wrong I was...The more of this toxic brand of anti-racist activism I see, the more convinced I am that racism isn't just rooted in power at all. Of course systemic racism is a much larger issue...but I see prejudice and discrimination based on race coming from minorities all the time. What else would you call that, if not racism?

Being prejudiced against someone for something they have no control over... like 'race', is pretty shitty, even without the historical context of colonization/mass oppression. 

Someone on Twitter pointed me to a related article called 'Why I don't Sleep with White Men' -- I'm going to be honest. It annoyed me...a lot. This woman describes Toronto as a predominantly white and male place (Which is really not so true in my observation, but people do have different realities just from one street to the next - and the douchey crack-a-lackin' image of our mayor may lead you to believe Toronto is a crappy place, but really, it is multicultural in all the right ways, diverse and quite lovely - at least I think so). She talks about her experiences of constantly being exoticized by white men, so they could experience what it was like to sleep with a black woman. Now I'm not saying this never happens, but to have a rule like, you will not sleep with white men because they will only want you for your skin colour is pretty offensive.  No, I'm not just saying that to please my white overlords. Sigh. Its your body, do what you want with it, sleep with who you want (everybody has physical preferences), but just try not to make sweeping generalizations based on skin colour/race. If you're consciously making a decision that you'll avoid men of a certain colour...because you assume they will posses a certain characteristic, you're racist.



-----

When I was at the peak of my piss-off-my-parents era, I got pigeonholed by all sorts. When you take away the obvious physical markers of your ethnicity, it leaves everyone confused. Even people of your own ethnicity. You couldn't tell my race by my hair colour thats for sure, because it was every colour of the rainbow during that period of my life. Sometimes it'd be pink, purple and turquoise...it threw people off... that as well as the loads of black eye shadow, the spikes, black lipstick.... what I found was, that people were always asking me what my background was. And I look pretty averagely desi (south asian) in my features I'd say.  But I was so often asked that question that I got sick of answering it. I asked people to guess... they guessed all sorts of things, Iranian, Greek, Italian were most common. I was most bothered by the constant need that everyone had to know.... and it dawned on me, that it was because I had gotten rid of the common physical traits people can box other people with. I used to walk past the group of desis that hung out by the wall in the foodcourt and they would whisper things about me in my own fucking language. Obviously not knowing I'd understand. This 'not knowing who' or where I was from got so extreme, that once in the darkness of the predominantly white goth club I used to frequent - I was being hit on by a neo-nazi. I didn't know he was one, till some of my friends came to me and quietly asked if i was aware he was a white supremacist.  :O 

he probably (obviously) didn't realise I wasn't white. I had a little fun, made him buy me drinks...then told him to fuck off. But generally my experience in that predominantly white subculture was very warm and welcoming. I wasn't treated like some freakshow novelty coloured goth person at all. 

I was young and overly angsty and had a ridiculous need to wear my expression on my body. When I got sick of being probed about my background I evolved my look to have elements of my culture in it. Alongside my bondage collars, spikes and corsets I wore some hardcore Pakistani jewellery. And a bindi. Always, a black, evil looking one (yes I know its not Pakistani, but we were all Indian once upon a time, and I grew up looking at pretty pictures of my mother wearing bindis in the 70's). Was I trying to exoticize/objectify and orientalize myself? I think not. I was trying to find a way to express cultural diversity within my chosen subculture.



Of course there were always the random men who saw me as a conquest because I was different. Both brown men and white men. Interestingly enough, never black men.  When I was gothed out in my youth... black men* never even glanced at me. Brown men glanced at me with fear or disapproval, or with a gross pervy look as if i was something unique yet familiar. Something they would never want to take home to mommy, but something they wanted to explore. 

*oddly though when I started dressing less extreme and less 'goth' I was often checked out by black guys. Such a noticeable difference. Were they now objectifying me? Perhaps. Based on my colour? probably not. Were they objectifying me before? Perhaps. As someone not appealing to the values/aesthetic they grew up with.  But I cannot make sweeping statements about the preferences of black men, or warn myself against them just because the ones I came across disapproved of my appearance. 

My long commutes to uni were becoming a problem, because of the amount of times I was harassed, I was like a weirdo magnet. I piled on the spikes and became 'more intimidating' - or I learned to take my dog collar off and casually wrap it around my knuckles. The harassment lessened. But I remember speaking to an older relative about it...and she just said, "Well maybe so many men want to talk to you because they think you are a prostitute" -- Was this brown woman trying to exoticize me based on my 'alternative appearance' - perhaps. 

Anyway, that sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. "WTF? why?" I asked. 

"Well because of all that dark make up you have on, and black lipstick, only women of 'bad character' wear so much makeup. And look at the leather accessories/cut off gloves...what else would they think?"

Ummm....clearly, this woman was not familiar with the goth scene. Black trenchcoats and combat boots, are really not what comes to mind if someone was effectively trying to sell mainstream sex services. Anyway, like I said. I've been objectified by all types. 

An arab friend of mine in uni was taking a marketing class with an Indian female professor. And she had an assignment on stereotypes/ misconceptions etc. She asked me to be a 'prop' in her presentation. Was she objectifying me? Perhaps, but for good reason. And I enjoyed it. So she started her presentation off talking about her friend who was of a Pakistani background, grew up in conservative Saudi Arabia, raised muslim, wore a lot of black, etc etc. She asked people to picture what kind of person I'd be... what I would look like (at this point they are all picturing a woman with a head scarf or in a burqa).

No one including the professor had seen me. That was my cue to stroll in and watch peoples JAWS DROP TO THE FLOOR. 

One of my favourite memories, to this day... like.... the reaction was insane!! there was an audible gasp and then pindrop silence. Then a barrage of questions. 

The teacher came to me after class just to tell me repeatedly 'how beautiful' I was. It was sweet of her, but this was another kind of objectification I faced on a regular basis. The need for people to tell me I was beautiful (despite my weird appearance). I could hear it in their voice usually. Hear the fact that they thought i could actually be conventionally beautiful if i didn't choose to dress the way I did. A sort of pity in their tone...

Before that time I was briefly sent to do my A-levels in a fancy pants school in Karachi. I lived with relatives - ones who constantly told me how a 'girl' should/shouldn't behave and who aggressively disapproved of the way my parents raised me to be outspoken, etc. I was actually told that a girl shouldn't eat a banana or a cucumber whole in public, and that I was being inappropriate when I did so. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I was a bloody teenager, eating a banana...way to sexualize everything. Fuck.



It wasn't a great time in my life. I was terribly homesick, and used to multicultural expat surroundings. In Pakistan I was always judged and exoticized for having a foreign accent (when i spoke english). I remember kids in school asking me to say certain words over and over. I mean, it wasn't hurtful, but got annoying to be a 'fascinating object'. 

Anyway I could go on with stories of my objectification by people of different races/ages and genders. But I shan't bore you with more. My point is, its what humans do. Not all of them, but a lot of them. If you come across an offensive version of it, call people on it - by all means. But to have a precautionary rule against one race incase of objectification or exoticization is foolish. It's like me saying, "all men are sexist assholes", and "I'd rather think of their intentions in general as questionable in every interaction, than take each person at face value". 

Yes, racism and sexism exist. But to think everyone is out to oppress you is not only delusional, it devalues the harm done by actual racism/actual sexism. 

In my life experience, the people who have not objectified me are the people who want to get to know me. The people who find me interesting, and see me as a person.  You can usually gauge if someone sees you as a potential notch in their bedpost or if they are genuinely interested in having conversations with you - If they want to know more about the differences between yours and their life, because ... well... diversity.