Guleraana Mir, 25 January 2015


Karen, Mufrida, Eve, Beatie, Amie Taylor, Kara Wilson, Anna Cottis, Milli Bhatia, Ilrish,

Kensenhuis, Frances Reftan, Jiaxuan, Dee Insishani

Summary of discussion-

In recent years we've had hashtags such as #whyimnotafeminist

#idontneedfeminismbecause and it's confusing, infuriating and an affront to what I

stand for. I tried to start my own counter hashtag #redefiningfeminism but it didn't take

off. And then I thought, wouldn't it be nice to explore why people feel differently

towards the word feminism? and what does that word actually means in 2015? Why

do we judge each others ideas of feminism, telling each other we're wrong?

As as British born Pakistani, there are moments when I feel that my initial reaction to a

situation reflects my “Eastern values” and then I reprimand myself, thinking, “I thought

you were a feminist, I'm disappointed in you.” That said, I was surprised at how

confused I felt when my cousin's wife who wears the Hijab said she was a feminist.

How can she be? The veil is the universal symbol for oppression, isn't it?

When you have so many questions, there's only one way to begin to collate the

answers- call a session and use it as research to write a play I've been working on

People trickled in. Some listened, some shared stories of their own experiences and

those of people they know.

We heard the story of a lady called Yasmin who chose to take off the Hijab after a trip

to the UN where she met educated, respectable Pakistani women who didn't feel the

need to wear the veil. Her conclusion was that if powerful women like them didn't need

to, then neither did she.

There were other stories of women taking the veil in protest of Islamaphobia, or as a

political statement, in support of free speech. Some women find it liberating as

opposed to oppressive.

What we kept coming back to was this- Feminism is about presenting yourself in

whatever way you please. It's about choice, and for women being respected enough to

choose something and not being judged for it.

Apparently, there's a very simple checklist of feminism-

1. Do men have to do it?

2. Are the women enjoying it?

Which, really if we apply to the Hijab, it fails on both counts. BUT there are women all

over the world, CHOOSING to wear it, so who are we to tell them, you're not a


Someone said, “the very fact that we're questioning this is good. As long as we keep

asking questions, we're ok.” And that was the biggest take-away for me. The idea that

as long as we keep questioning the world around us, and why things happen, they we

continue to grow as a society. We can make way for new ideas, and embrace “other”

cultural practices that we may not be used to, and may not consider fair.

We should end the notion of “I'm not a feminist in the way that you are” and appreciate

that there are elements of our cause that we all share.

We moved onto discussing pre-set gender roles and I learnt that they are alive and

well in many different cultures, so when my grandmother tells me my marriage will fail

if I don't cook my husband his dinner every night, it's not because she's brown, it's

because she's a traditionalist! People of all cultures shared stories of their parents and

grandparents, or marriages, celebrations and close call disownments.

We finished with recognising that feminism is a provocative term and in order to reach

true equality, we need freedom from patriachy. For women and men. Once we move

past the notion of what a man “should be” we can begin to inhabit a comfortable and

shared space.

I don't know what my play will be called, but be certain that it will involve the following-

-the ghosts of Betty Friedan, Simone De Beauvoir and Maya Angelou

-brown people

-white people

-every shade of person in between


-gender stereotypes

-references to Miley Cycus

All by March 3rd.

Wish me luck!!



discussion, equality, deadlines, feminism, Feminism, playwriting, Playwriting,

patriachy, Equality

Comments: 3

German Munoz, 26 January 2015

Good luck with the play!

Amy Clare Tasker, 27 January 2015

Good luck Guleraana! Just shout if you need an early draft reader. xx

Amy Clare Tasker, 28 January 2015

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