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Beneath the burqa
May 14, 2009 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Shuttlecock burqas to fetish wear. Some snapshots of Pakistan's struggles with its sexual identities.

Sex, love, dating and marriage* in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In Peshawar, a vibrant porn scene coexists with conservative Islam and tribal traditions. Writers talk about being gay in Pakistan. In Lahore, where the Mela Chiraghan festival celebrates a Muslim sufi poet's love for a Hindu man, openly gay women have just launched Chay, the country's first magazine dealing with sexuality. Begum Nawazish Ali, a bisexual transvestite TV host, uses her transgressive persona to throw politicians off balance on air (previously). Meanwhile, there is a long history of hijras belonging to the third gender in Pakistan and neighbouring countries (photographs) (previously). This is also the country where Mukhtaran Mai was gang raped to punish her brother for a sexual transgression, the historical sex trade is no longer a respectable occupation, the Taliban flog a teenaged girl on film (warning: graphic), bans a Bollywood movie for "propogating homosexuality" and women are still killed for honour and subject to acid attacks.

* Alys Faiz, the foreign wife of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the greatest poets in the Urdu language, on marrying a Pakistani, just before the Partition
posted by tavegyl (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oops, left out the link to the Bollywood movie.
posted by tavegyl at 8:48 AM on May 14, 2009


I couldn't get the fetish link to work in FireFox, but it worked in Safari. (Yes, of course it was the first one I clicked.) Snickering aside, it's a fascinating story.
posted by now i'm piste at 9:06 AM on May 14, 2009


The video in that third link is worth its weight in gold.
posted by Sova at 9:08 AM on May 14, 2009


Sova, agreed. I loved how unwilling the factory manager was to admit he, a respectable man, knew what he was manufacturing. Compared to the woman later in the video who was perfectly ready to admit that she'd like to try on some of the things she designs. A great illustration of Pakistan's old and new urban middle classes.
posted by tavegyl at 9:11 AM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


My best friend in high school's folks hail from Pakistan, and he always came home from visits with awesome tailored threads acquired on the cheap. I wonder if that fetish gear is a bargain.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:17 AM on May 14, 2009


"This is one of our famous Spanking Suits."

Oh my.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:27 AM on May 14, 2009


My best friend in high school's folks hail from Pakistan, and he always came home from visits with awesome tailored threads acquired on the cheap. I wonder if that fetish gear is a bargain.

Probably not after S&H, and a few middlemen. But off the factory floor, certainly. In Kabul a quality shalwar kameez can be had for $20-25 in materials and $5 labour. Retail.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:57 AM on May 14, 2009


Oh man, the beach chair! So good.
posted by orme at 10:46 AM on May 14, 2009


These guys are awesome. Of course, awesomeness is no defense if the Taliban takes over.

It should be though. If you are persecuted due to making fetish wear under a fundamentalist Islamic regime, then Optimus Prime himself should descend from the heavens to shoot lasers at your tormentors. Then, in order to forestall further trouble, he'd leave behind several guard dinosaurs that he carries around in his semi trailer. Dinosaurs ridden by ninjas.
posted by JHarris at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, in their defense, Bollywood movies are pretty gay.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:39 PM on May 14, 2009


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