To stare or not to stare


Pakistan has a bit of a problem, ok that’s the understatement of the year. Pakistan has a huge problem and it has nothing to do with guns or terrorists or politics or anything of that nature. No this problem is limited to our social behavior or perhaps we should call it lack of it,  upon coming into contact with a woman.

One would think while walking through a Pakistani market, be it any market here that Pakistani men have been kept locked up in a padded cell somewhere where they have never come into contact with a member of the opposite gender. As they stare at them like a dog stares at a bone after being hungry for a couple of days.

Now correct me if I am wrong but there are plenty of women here in Pakistan and plenty of very good looking ones,  so its not like we are not used to them or have not been around them. Also with the advent of first the satellite dish and then cable tv and now broadband we have had unfettered access to the woman of this world with and without clothes so what’s the big fuss about?

I could still come to terms with it in the 80’s as the cultural paradigm was a bit lets just say starved for entertainment at that time. However in the Pakistan of now where everyone gets their daily dose of skin from the top end to the bottom rung of our society why are we still so hung up on staring at women like we want to tear of their clothes and have them on the road then and there? Obviously I am being crude here but lets just face it looking at a woman like she is a piece of meat isn’t very sophisticated either.

Oh by the way before you trot out your lack of education and not used to exposure culture vulture theories let me  cease them here and now by telling you that women wearing head to toe burqas face the same kind of treatment in Pakistan as their more sleeveless sisters. No one and no class is spared from this disease as you see the same expression on men’s faces in a hi fi mehndi or in the corporate environment as you do when a woman walks by an under construction building. Whoops did I just do a sana safinaz there? No really you get stares even if you are a man walking past one of them construction sites but thats a whole different issue.

I believe the cause of this is is not the second coming of the dajjal or the Amreekan/Indian/Zionist cultural invasion but the fact that people seem to think staring “poondi” is a lesser  form of harassment. This mindset is often reinforced by their peers with statements like “yaar dekh hi tu raha hun” but really we are taking the look and dont touch policy to another level already. Even women and many of them take this treatment without standing up for themselves. However we tend to subdue and turn our women into submissives from the get go with the constant dont create a fuss go home, dont start a tamasha brainwashing which by the time they turn 16 renders them utterly devoid of understanding when they are being harassed. Those that do get it are referred to by most of us as feminists which is actually pakistani slang for cat loving lesbians who have nothing better to do then dare to raise their heads to a male dominated vicious society. Down lesbo down!!!

So how can we stop this?

a) Start early and start at home, make your boys comfortable with female company, stop telling them things like oh this is not for you this is what girls do and crap like that so they stop distinguishing from an early age between the sexes

b) Stop telling your daughters that you should bear this in any way shape or form, inform them of personal space and what they are supposed to do with their knee when someone intrudes in it.

c) Talk to them when they are of an appropriate age of the birds and the bees, in these times it should be a lot earlier than you think it is so read up a bit on it, yes on the internet will do!

d) Try to get them to study in a co education environment. Many lessons can be learnt at school other than the curriculum

e) Also teach them the much forgotten points of Islam, how women are respected in it to the level that heaven is supposed to be under your mothers feet. This may be reinforced if thought appropriate with examples from history when needed.  Teach them about parda e nazar as well as draping them in black.

f) Try to keep an open mind when your kid asks you questions, usually they ask them because they want to know not because they are trying to ruin your super efficient day.

g) Try to put a stop to or raise voice against cases of harassment prevalent around you in the work environment and in public. Which means if someone is bumping against a person in a lift you are standing in put a fucking stop to it rather than look towards the door. If you ignore this you are part of this.

h) Last but not the least please kindly stop judging people, wearing a burqa does not make someone an angel or a cold fish and wearing a sleeveless kamiz does not make someone a whore. Look at people’s characters rather than their physical attributes it proves a little bit longer lasting in life.

I also took the liberty of taking a little twitter survey on this of which the results are given below. In the hope that perhaps reading through these tweets rather than my post will help more people understand that women like to be listened to not stared at when in the company of a man.

Usman Khaliq ‏@usmankhaliq

@faisalkapadia people have a staring problem. woh gender nahin deikhtay, bas insaan hai tou chalta hai uun kay liye.


SairaYasmeen ‏@SairaYasmeen1

@MehrTarar @faisalkapadia @omar_quraishi but in pakistan women consider this as harrassment regardless of whatever they are wearing

Ayesha Hasan ‏@AyeshaHasan

Staring pandemic RT @faisalkapadia: In your opinion do people in pk have a staring problem or is it the woman’s problem?

Sami Ur Rehman ‏@Sam_pk

@faisalkapadia its only pakistani’s problem 🙂 whr ever they will go , thy will show pakistaniyat.

Zehra ‏@DrZehra

@faisalkapadia are u kidding me? Our problem? First of all u should look for a better term than ‘stare’ – more like ‘penetrate via eyes’ etc


Salman Latif ‏@SalmanLateef

@faisalkapadia People have a staring problem in Pk because of the sheer hypocritical morality that is socially enforced, thus repressive.


Qızılbāš ‏@Alihaider33

@faisalkapadia staring is a way of taking out frustration without physically hurting someone and unintentionally becoming a pervert

Sara Nisar ‏@SaraNisar

@faisalkapadia A bit of both. Varies according to the city/area you are in.


Komal Ali ‏@Komalali92

@faisalkapadia People in Pakistan have this problem.


Sahar Ahmed ‏@Sahar_Ahmed1

Its def a Pakistani trait to stare RT @faisalkapadia In your opinion do people in pk have a staring problem or is it the womans problem?


Zainub ‏@BuzzOff_Bozo

@faisalkapadia depends on who’s being stared at.


Ahmad Malik ‏@Ahmad_Malik

@faisalkapadia This will not end well.


Nida Khan ‏@nidak_

@faisalkapadia People are generally overly inquisitive.


Aizah ‏@IZ_110

@faisalkapadia People in Pakistan do have a staring problem.


Asif Ali ‏@Alif_se_Asif

@faisalkapadia women problem.

CinnamonCurls ‏@CinnamonCurls

@faisalkapadia Women in Pakistan have a major staring problem.


Samra Muslim ‏@samramuslim

@faisalkapadia People in PK have a major staring problem! Even the ones in a burqa are stared at … How can it be a women’s prob then?


AR Rafiq ‏@arrafiq

@faisalkapadia I think it’s a desi trait – both women and men stare for not apparent reason


Awais Sultan ‏@awais 

@faisalkapadia As for staring, overseas Pakistanis do it as well. Even those who are 2nd and 3rd generation. But only at other desis.


Awais Sultan ‏@awais 

@faisalkapadia The staring is one thing, but what I find more bothersome is how they slowly scratch their groins whilst doing it. Eww!


SaraLee ‏@Sarstastic

@faisalkapadia South Asian people have a staring problem.


Hajira Mahboob Faizi ‏@hmfaizi

@faisalkapadia its a common problem here.Every single person stares like there z no tomorow.Girls boys everyone has got this horrible habit


Ilmana Fasih ‏@ZEEMANA

@faisalkapadia till ur floor or the next woman specimen to be scanned arrives he is a ‪#DESi


Ilmana Fasih ‏@ZEEMANA

@faisalkapadia gold standard test for all desis.Stand in an elevator with a person next to u.If he scans head to toe till .. 1/2


Pic taken from this tribune blog


One comment
  1. its not just a male problem. Those ‘aunties’ find strange entertainment in staring too. Was at the airport 2 weeks ago and this middleaged lady had been staring at me for a good constant 5-10 minutes. got really uncomfortable and asked her if she wanted something, she gave me the most disgusted look. like i had taken away some sort of staring right away from her. and looked away. awkward much? Yes it was.

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