Feminism & The Modern Muslim Woman

Feminism & The Modern Muslim woman

I could write about this very topic every day for the next year and it still would not be enough.

Not all feminists think or act the same.

Well isn’t that news. It might surprise you to hear that it is my religion which has inspired me to want to speak up against the subordination of women. I know it’s hard to believe whilst living in a world painted with dominant western culture that a religion being tarnished as barbaric and a threat to modern civilisation was one of the first to recognise inequality and grant women with rights.

I’m not here to list a dozen ways that Islam liberated Muslim women, nor point out that Muslim women were emancipated from being the property of men fourteen hundred years before women in the west saw any light of such rights. All that I wish to make clear is that Islam, does not support the ill treatment of women.

The patriarchy which has governed most nations for centuries and manipulates laws, both theological and social, to their own advantage has allowed the largely prevailing misogynistic culture to impose certain rulings that feed hegemonic masculinity; by oppressing women.

Unfortunately, it is the misuse of religion which has created the notion that the Islamic faith is the enemy of the modern woman. However, it is also true that in certain ‘secular’ societies that claim to be ‘forward thinking’, women are still not treated as equals, in pay, under laws and by culture itself.

As a Muslim woman, it is devastating to see the hypocrisy practiced by the Muslim community and the wider non-Muslim society.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-1.png Are there problems with the feminist movement? Absolutely.

However as a young participating member of society (regardless of my gender), I believe that referring to a supporter of equal rights as a ‘feminazi’ is the modern day digressing of human rights as a whole.

Why? Well, the movement itself holds the weight of the struggles and sacrifices made by women (and men) from whenever you believe feminism arose, up to present day. By calling someone a ‘feminazi’, you are undermining an entire era of change. Not only is the term degrading to feminism, I take it as multiple steps back for society. Whether you call yourself a feminist or a humanist is besides the point.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.pngDo I see flaws in the feminist movement? Yes. No movement is perfect and most are prone to criticism, particularly one that is represented by people who are seen as ‘minorities’ or ‘inferior’. Insulting a struggle which was (and still is for many) an identity for equality and an advocate for awareness of inequality – is, for me, and should be for any living breathing member of the 21st century, is a ludicrous call to pull.

For me, the fact that some (yes, not all) feminists believe that most Muslim women are oppressed by their religion is a problem. Women, muslim women that are living under misogynist regimes ARE oppressed, yet little, or dare I say it NOTHING is being done to help them.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-3.pngWe ought to see more coverage on sexual harassment, on FGM, on child marriages and the daily tenacity that women and girls go through – as well as attempts to help.

Yet all that is ever highlighted, all that I do see mainstream media debating on – is whether a veiled women is free, ‘oppressed’, or harbouring terrorists.

Come on.

A muslim woman does not need to lift her veil to prove that she is not oppressed. The fact that muslim women are forced to prove on a regular basis that they are not oppressed, to me – is real oppression.

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Of course, this claim would be unfair if I didn’t point out the fact that I am speaking from an advantaged point of view. I do recognise that not all women are born under the same circumstances or under the same situation as me. Which is why I believe that our efforts need to be put to effective use, we should stop analysing a free walking Muslim woman, and use our privileges to create aid to those that DO need it. 

| do keep in mind, that me talking about Islam, does not in any way undermine or insinuate disrespect towards any other faith. Comments suggesting things of such a nature will be dismissed. Bigots will not be entertained. |

*you guessed it, this was a self-illustrated blogpost*

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To contact me regarding a collaboration, or to simply get in touch – drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

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Mangobaaz Feature

Yesterday evening I arrived home and began to flick through my email inbox, it was quite a fast and aimless skimming, until I came across a link to my feature on MangoBaaz!

I guess you can imagine how ecstatic I was (and still am).

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@MangoBaaz

 It’s such an amazing feeling to be recognised and appreciated by a news platform as hot as MangoBaaz. I was interviewed by Haadiya, I talk a little about my journey as a writer/blogger and embracing my ethnicity. I also mention a little about my photo’s *and my lack of expertise in the photography department*

Needless to say, it was a surreal experience.

If you read the article, let me know what you think of it.

http://www.mangobaaz.com/tea-in-bed-goals/

I pray that you have a lovely week ahead!

Rimsha

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To contact me in regards to a collaboration, or to simply get in touch, drop me an email at – rimsharasul8@gmail.com

Halal Nail Polish: Tuesday In Love

Picture this, you’re wearing the perfect nail colour, your make-up is surprisingly flawless and you just generally feel ‘on point’, until you check your watch to see that its time for prayer, and wait what’s that on your nails – oh, you’re still wearing nail polish.

Any Muslim girl reading this would understand why nail polish can prove to be a problem; which is why when I heard about tuesdayinlove, I just had to test their halal nail polish out for myself. The team were kind enough to send me some products to review, and I have been waiting to do this all month!

A little about Tuesday in Love:
Tuesday in Love, is a Canadian company specializing in water permeable nail polish. In case you were wondering what makes the nail polish ‘halal’, it is its micro-pore technology which allows water molecules to penetrate through the semi-permeable colour membrane. You can view their halal certification and statement here

Tuesday in Love products are – free of harsh chemicals (such as formaldehyde, toluene and DBP) and they are not tested on animals! 

What attracted me the most to TIL as a company, is their commitment to giving proceeds from every sale they make to Plan Canada’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign, that helps underprivileged girls all around the world. Plan has been supporting children and families for over 75 years, by providing scholarships, school construction, skills and nutrition – “when a girl is truly valued, she can reach her full potential, bringing clean water, agriculture and health care to her community”.

What I received:

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-1.png1 matte liquid lipstick – in the shade ‘toronto’

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-4.png4 water permeable nail polishes, in – yolo, cotton candy, love me harder & love potion

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-3.png1 top coat

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-7.png Instructions for the water permeability test

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~

Now, for the moment of truth.

Water Permeability Test

  1. place 1 – 2 coats of nail polish on a small area of paper towel and allow to dry completely.
  2. using an eyedropper (I did not have an eyedropper so I used a small spoon), place one or two drops of water in the centre and observe for 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. confirm results by checking bottom of paper towel – it should be wet or damp.

It worked! The water did seep through the nail polish.

The matte liquid lipstick is the perfect deep berry shade for winter.

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And when Tuesday in Love say matte, they mean matte!

Along with its socially conscious attitude, I would recommend Tuesday in Love – because it certainly does deliver what it promises. I love being able to turn the bottle to the back to see only a handful of ingredients being used. Its good to know that my body is not absorbing in the harsh chemicals that are usually found in nail enamel.Oh and there polish as well as lipstick all have a pretty pleasant smell, not strong at all.

You can find them on Instagram too @tuesdayinlove, or contact via email: info@tuesdayinlove.com

*It’s the first couple of days of snowfall here, well it snowed at night and then rained all morning and there’s a mixture of sleet and rain going on right now. I hope your winter is just as wintery!*

Rimsha

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To contact me in regards to a collaboration or to simply get in touch, drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

The Daily Diaspora 

I talk of colour,

to render all that is misunderstood
Because brown,
Is plaited, scarred, pigmented and hyper,
It is rushing through the subway and laying in fields
To a beat pounded on the dhol
And amplified by bass.

//
It is imbued in the richest coriander
and tumeric pastes,
my lok
my virsa,
skips between
salwars n’ sneakers,
folk and green,

//
drenched in mother-tongues sung in the East
but synched by lips that tilt a little to the west.
It is sand-root kids
on a jean-clad quest.
And mauve lipped girls,
Dreaming in gold.
Brown is.
// The Daily Diaspora

//
*lok/virsa: cultural heritage

This is my somewhat free verse take on the #PoetsOfColorChallenge – which was originally created by @_salvinc on Instagram.

I nominate all poets and writers of colour to participate in the challenge!

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To contact me regarding a collaboration, or to simply get in touch – drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

What’s In My Bag

I can’t think of a more fitting introduction to this post, than to tell you that I officially go ‘back to school’ tomorrow! Which means the official end of summer and the official kick start to getting things organised.

I was inspired quite a few months ago to do a ‘what’s in my bag’ when I saw aclockworkhafsa‘s version on her (ever so wonderful) blog. This may not be half as interesting as I thought it would be initially, but to my trusted readers that stay tuned till the end – answer this weeks question in the comments (the quirkiest answer will have their blog/site/Instagram page shouted out at the start of my next post or the next respective Monday.)

So, the bag.

I’m quite a fashion wimp when it comes to bag type accessories, as I tend to go for the most comfortable for university (because I commute, hence – walk around..a lot). I cant bring myself to purchase any colour other than black for my rucksack/backpack. I fear an alternative colour would get a little too mucky for everyday use in the winter.

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The bag is of a velvet feel, with gold zips and (faux) leather straps – I bought this from New Look not too long ago.

The basics I need in my bag (minus my books and crumpled assignments) are,

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screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-4.png A lip balm, because I’m not a fan of chapped lips. Ok that was too scripted a reason, the truth is, I just love the smell of it. I mean its blackcurrant flavoured, do you blame me?

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-3.pngA mirror

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-5.png A roll-on, ehem. I am human and therefore I sweat. That sounds like a philosophical quote (it flows with the rhythm of – I think, therefore I am). I prefer roll-ons over spray deodorants, as certain fragrances can sort of make me travel sick. Or at least, add to it.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-2.pngA travel cup/mug, some mornings – I prefer my tea on the go.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-7.png A notebook/journal, because a girl needs a little paper in her bag!

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-8.png Speaking of paper. My wallet. I keep everything in here. Up until last year, I was in denial about large mum-ish wallets – it wasn’t until I got one that I realised just how much easier it makes life. I keep everything in here. You can even find my keys stuffed in one of the pockets.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-1.png An umbrella. British weather is as unpredictable as my mind on a Thursday morning. It tends to rain almost everyday in autumn. All day. Did I mention everyday? eh, I’m not complaining.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-6.png Lipstick/lip crayons, you know as well as I do that uni days can drag. I hate the look of a long day on my face, especially when I still have a lecture to go. For times like that, I need an emergency ‘pick me up’ to feel fresher and more motivated to continue. I find, pops of colours are like Paracetamol for my drained mind.

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Now I do have a tiny confession to make. I never use the mirrors I keep in my bag, I just buy them because I cant resist the pocket-sized cuteness. Who can?

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Being a student is synonymous to balancing larger than life text-books without toppling over. I don’t like to fill my bag with text-books, firstly; I doubt they would even fit in and secondly; I may not be strong enough to carry 8 + giant books on my back. Which is why I carry this …

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A pouch that contains a plastic/waterproof reusable bag. It may not be the most glamorous thing to carry books in, but it does the job!

and that is all that’s in my backpack. I have this very grey feeling that I have missed something crucial, but if it wasn’t in my bag and it was that important – I’ll realise when I’m frantically looking for it at the train station tomorrow morning.

Now tomorrow is Tuesday and the first day back to university for me – but I LOVE Mondays. I know I know, I’m probably one of a rare few. Share the Monday love with me by answering in the comments –

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MONDAY QUOTE/SONG, ROUTINE OR SNACK THAT KEEPS YOUR MONDAY MOTIVATION AT ITS PEAK?

I hope you enjoyed this somewhat overly-descriptive log of whats in my bag,

Thank you for reading.

Rimsha

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To contact me regarding a collaboration or to simply get in touch, drop me an email at – rimsharasul8@gmail.com

Self – Help

Hi,

Before you read on, I would like to make a couple of things clear (in the most non-disclaimer tone possible). What you’re about to read today is a collection of thoughts and feelings collated through the experiences of many lovely individuals who shared their stories with me – in hopes to help somebody else. I am not an expert.

If you’re familiar with my work on Instagram, then you might be aware of the fact that this is not the first time I am writing about mental health, well my reasons for that are because I strongly believe that the lack of attention towards mental health is a global issue that affects most nations – one that has not yet been properly addressed.

We are often under the misconception that mental health is linked to the ageing body and we class it as an issue that affects the elderly. Well, we couldn’t be more wrong. Although the figures cannot be measured exactly, mental health disorders as well as issues such as anxiety and depression have been known to affect children as young as five years old.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

People that are affected by mental health issues tend to suffer in silence, for many reasons. They fear that people would start to look at them differently, or that they would be treated differently, or they simply feel that nobody would be able to offer them the support they deserve without being judgemental.

The first step in helping yourself, is recognising that their is some sort of a problem. Often times, we’re in denial about our health – be it mental or physical, and we’re so caught up in our urban lifestyles that we lock any health concerns in to a tiny corner of our mind and some even throw away the key.

Either speak to somebody you can trust, yes you may not have much to say at all and you feel that you might sound ‘crazy’, but the matter can only escalate if you never let it off your mind. You don’t need ‘help’, if the four letter word scares you then don’t use it. What you do need, is to talk it out.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-22-05-1.png(tip: if you like to write, record your thoughts in a journal – scribble therapy can do wonders)

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But…what is ‘it’?

There is a lot of controversy about what mental health is and the cause/symptoms of certain disorders. Some of the most common problems associated with mental health are; anxiety, depression and OCD.

OCD, which stands for obsessive compulsive disorder, is an anxiety disorder (which according to the oxford dictionary definition) is a disorder in which a person feels compelled to perform certain stereotyped actions repeatedly, to alleviate persistent fears or intrusive thoughts’. I don’t like to dwell on the intricate definitions of issues that can’t be identified or defined absolutely.

However, over the past few years, I have seen the term OCD being thrown around unconsciously and the disorder has been, what I like to call – glamourized. I myself, am not sure whether the humour that has been associated with the disorder is a good level of awareness, I often feel that the ‘jokey’ nature that has been created, takes away from the severity of the issue. Regardless of what you see OCD as, it is one of the most common disorders – 2.3% of the world’s population of adults aged 18-54 suffer from OCD.

“There will be days when getting up and going back to sleep will be all you do and the guilt of being usless will eat you alive – but don’t give up! You are important, your intentions are important” 

Anxiety, is known to lead to people unable to coordinate simple day-to-day tasks, making ordinary decisions can seem daunting and cause distress.

The build up of anxiety and stress can lead to panic attacks,

An anonymous contributor said,

“people should know that there are breathing exercises and techniques to monitor and trigger their attacks.” 

This is where the idea of ‘self-help’ may get tricky for some, the thought of having to manage something as terrifying as a panic attack alone seems impossible, but the truth is that a lot of these attacks can take place when you’re alone, and certainly have no ‘professionals’ around.

(reminder: if a therapist is not available, you can speak to your gp or family doctor – there is no shame in getting help)

What Can You Do?

If you are driving, pull over and park. Trying to get home during an attack would be dangerous, your attention does not need to be diverted, it needs to be relaxed. Focus on your breathing, panic terrors can lead to short quick breaths but try to take deep breaths and focus on your inhaling and exhaling. Most importantly, do not try to fight the attack as this can increase the anxiety and panic.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-21-15-1.png(tip: try to focus on one thing that you know will always be around during these attacks, for example – count your fingers)

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Depression

Most people that offered me their experiences, said that they found that keeping their minds occupied in certain crafts is what helps them. Finding a hobby shouldn’t be an escape, but should be seen as a safe way of expressing yourself by realxing.

Some find solace in prayer.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-22-58-1.png(tip: take time out of your day/week to do what you love, be it writing, painting or photography – what ever channels your positive thoughts)

For further advice or to talk, here are some helplines dedicated to easing the percussions of such issues

United Kingdom (TheMix.org) 0808 808 4994

United States (Teen Health and Wellness) 800 784 2433

more

South Asian Society & Mental Health.

Whilst writing this post, I searched for helpline numbers and sites that people could contact should they feel the need to reach out to someone. As a large number of my readers are from Pakistan, I searched for helplines based in Pakistan but unfortunately, I found nothing.

It is slightly upsetting to think that mental health is disregarded in the South Asian and Middle Eastern community. At first, I was disheartened but soon realised that mental health has only started to be recognised as an issue by leading nations fairly recently. The older generation (worldwide) are not properly educated to understand that mental health does not need to be kept ‘hush hush’, it is not something to be embarrassed about.

I urge anyone reading this in Pakistan to get in touch with healthcare organisations/youth centres/or anyone that you think could do something about the matter and create some sort of a helpline that young people, or people of any ages can call or email and know that they are not alone.

The ignorance towards such issues can only be changed by the younger generation. Change does not need to be something substantial initially, even if it is to simply raise awareness, we need to accept responsibility in ensuring that something is done.

screenshot_2016-09-05-18-46-54-1.pngWhilst speaking to someone about their experiences, they said: “..one must get help about mental health, but in case you can’t, remember how important you are”

You’re not alone.

Thank you ever soo much to those that shared their experiences. If you have any advice/suggestions of your own, comment them below to help anyone reading this. 

Rimsha.

*this was a self-illustrated blog post, all doodles were created by me*

To contact me regarding a collaboration or simply to get in touch, drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

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My Fray’d Notebook

Yesterday I received a notebook, which was sent to me by Fray Design Studios. Or should I say, I almost missed it! the rain was relentless as I tried to reach home in time for my sudden delivery which was due to arrive on the 23rd but made it here a day earlier. Oh heck, a prompt parcel delivery service…I’m not complaining.

Although this is the first time that I have reviewed a product on my blog, I would only ever review something sincerely. If it was any other way, I would just be wasting your time as well as mine.

Firstly, the customer service was perfect. I had a few queries about shipping etc., and lets just say – my questions can get a little bothersome. My inquiry was addressed in a polite and friendly manner which is always a plus.

The Notebook:

A5 ring binder – style.

There are two things I love most about the notebook

  • The sheets are lined in black and they do not have coloured margins – I personally do not like to write on a page that has pink or blue coloured lines. I prefer my pen ink to be the only colours on the page.
  • The cover art.

The cover is of a smooth PVC material and although it is flexible, it does not bend or crease. It is sturdy, which I can imagine would not get damaged at the bottom of your bag whilst travelling.

Oh, the cover art! The design/print of the notebook cover is inspired by Pakistani art, more specifically; truck art. The highlight of the cover is the word ‘desi’, which is printed in the centre in Urdu. The colours and art definitely do give off desi vibes. Overall, I am impressed by the quality of the product. It is a beautiful piece to keep around your desk and I would definitely recommend it (it would also prove to be a great gift idea).

The business and the products are based and made in Pakistan.



From a dream to a business

When customer-business interactions are solely based online, they are minimal and it can be hard to get a feel of the personality behind the products, which is why I had a few questions of my own to ask Faran; the founder of Fray Design Studio.

– Tell us about the inspiration behind your brand name.-

Faran: Fray is my nature

The ‘frayed’ edges of a fabric is relatable to textiles as well. That gave me my brand name.

– Where did your journey begin? –

Faran: I was fortunate enough to stand 4th in a competition held by Messe Frankfurt’s Karachi office. 

The guys that arrange Heimtextil, the largest textile expo in the world. I got a chance to visit the exhibition that year. That was a game changer.

We have been always prepared in uni to work for a company and rarely to work on our own, but after visiting the Fair…it was such an impactful journey that I started thinking about turning my studies into a business back when I was in my final year. After graduation I took a break, was jobless for a while and then started working for Alkaram textiles

It was quite a learning experience, but I wanted to do more.. and in the mean time, Crafter’s Expo started to show up in my fb feed.

I have been following a few brands namely Firefly and Ghazal Peerzada Creative Studio.. and I was sooo impressed and motivated by their work that I planned to quit my job and start to work on my brand to showcase at the Crafter’ expo. It boosted me and then I got an offer from a local Interior studio, Pith, to stock my products there.

– As a fairly recent start up, how do you stay motivated? –

Faran: I like to explore things, and I’m always curious to try something new.. sooo.. this is like my catharsis.

 

I love Pakistan.. I try to bring every element of pakistaniat I can into my designs.

It’s been 1.5 years and one hell of a ride, businesses is not easy and I’m very new to it, was a realization that hit me a few months into doing it. I have a full time job, I freelance and run my business alongside this. 

 

– What is Fray Designs moto? –


Faran: To spread happiness.

I love a few people’s vision: Elon Musk, Mir MAK and YouTubers such as Superwoman and Marie Forleo, and a photographer Brooke Shaden.. 

They sort of helped me by sharing their stories and struggles.. which made me believe more in myself. I might be quite an introvert, but their lectures and stories have helped me understand myself better, taking risk now seems fun.
I’m not afraid to fail.. I’m afraid not to try at all.

~

I would like to thank Faran for sharing his unique journey. I feel inspired by his efforts and the success he has achieved thus far, to check out his original range of products, you can shop at:

Fray Design – Facebook

Fray Design – Instagram
~

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To share your story/inquire about my blog, drop me an email on: rimsharasul8@gmail.com