Dawn News

Book exposing double standards launched

ISLAMABAD, Nov 24: ‘Forgotten Faces – Daring Women of Pakistan’s Folk Theater’ Fauzia Saeed’s book focusing on themes of marginalised women and attitudes they face in the society was launched in a ceremony held at Lok Virsa on Thursday.

Fauzia Saeed’s ‘Taboo: A PhD Girl in the Red Light Area’, has won acclaim from the cross section of the society.

Unlike the ‘working women’ of Red Light area, this time her subject is the women who have performed in rural folk theaters and won appreciation of their audience to become legends.

However, a stigma towards their profession continues to haunt them and when off the stage, they experience heart aches, violence and rejection.

They are patronised and economically exploited by the society.

Ms Saeed’s thesis, not much different from that in Taboo, is that our society is afraid of creative expression as they would go and watch women performance but would never allow their daughters to become performers. She explained that the book is her salute to these female artists and to their greatness who built a career in the performing arts in the 60s, when, even today, it is almost impossible to adopt this field.

Ms Saeed finally explained that the book also highlights the discriminatory attitudes of society towards these performers, since women are stigmatised while men are rewarded.

In a chapter that talks about the children of performers who have made a name for themselves, she highlights how the children will brag about the successful fathers but rarely the mothers.

The event had different panelists who commended the book and its value in the anthropological study of our culture. But in the end, the thing that struck the most was Ms Saeed’s rejection of those who pretend to appreciate the historic arts. She said, “Only if you bring your daughters in the field, I can believe that you really hold this art sacred.”


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