“Taarna Band Karo – Mard Bano” – Challenging Gender Stereotypes

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The idea behind the series of pictures, starting today, is to question social issues and perception relating to gender rights issues in Pakistan. The  topic of the post”Tarna Band Karo – Mard Bano” or (non-literal translation) “Real Men Don’t Stare” is intended to start a debate on the whole notion of being “real men”. The picture in itself questions “Kya yehi hai teri mardangi..”   raising questions at gender stereotypes.

It is a jab at the notion itself, that we hear, across cultures,the idea of “being a real man..” which usually entails certain characteristic most of which have to do with a show of power and strength. Not only are these ideas a false sense of gender identity but they perpetuate emotional and (sometimes) physical violence and gender discrimination.

The idea doesn’t only impact women but primarily men, where society sets standards on ways in which they should behave and interact. The whole concept of “men will be men..” and that “men stare because that’s what they do..”  only reinforces harassment and objectification of both men and women.

Social perceptions and traditional character attributions need to be challenged. The perceptions around gender roles are striking similar across different cultures. These need to be questioned, sometimes reclaimed and definitely debated.

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