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Pakistani Society Doesn’t Accept High-Achieving Women, But Praises Harassers: Hareem Farooq

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Last week, actress Hareem Farooq complained about the situation of women in Pakistan. She said that Pakistanis constantly put their women down, which was in reference to Mehwish Hayat’s Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.

Hayat received criticism from various circles who claimed that she did not deserve the award. Mehwish Hayat said that while speaking at ZAB Media Festival. Hareem said that women are questioned when they received prestigious awards, but when a harasser gets an award (possible reference to fellow-actor Ali Zafar), everyone stands up and applauds.

Hareem then went on to talk about objectification of women and asked whether an ‘item number’ would still be called an item number if it was performed by a man. Her question was met with utter silence.

Osman Khalid Butt said the Pakistani society has zero tolerance for women owning their sexuality, and that they are objectified. He said as a society we completely repress a woman’s sexuality, yet in our cinema that’s what we love to parade. He said that Pakistan had a long way to go as far as representation of women was concerned.

Actress Mansha Pasha said that the society thinks women don’t have agency, and in a lot of ways TV represents that women don’t have the authority to make decisions. But she also said that Pakistan was slowly and gradually leaving the stereotypical thinking behind.

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