Pakistani #Social media star Qandeel Baloch was shot dead by her brother in a gender based violent attack. Qandeel rose to super stardom by posting videos of herself dancing, posting selfies like everyone else in this world and giving her reaction to politics and social events in Pakistan. This is the norm in the Western world where stars like Kim Kardashian can became famous and rich through self-promotion. But in Pakistan this is considered 'vulgar'.
Qandeel courted controversy from conservative and narrow minded Pakistanis. However, she relished the controversy and media buzz, and used it to her advantage. She wasn't stupid, in fact, very clever. She used her public platform to talk about the hypocrisy of her critics. They watch her videos, like her selfies and keep her famous, but then they say she is vulgar and shameless. Qandeel also used her platform to promote sisterhood. She would show support to women in Pakistan breaking down barriers.
Pakistanis think that a girl wearing a short dress is vulgar, but men abusing power is not. They need to get their priorities right. It is completely fair enough that you think that shorts or dresses are vulgar. You don’t have to wear such items. Nobody is forcing you to do so. People in Pakistan however, see this as an act of defiance and a conspiracy to somehow destroy the conservative Pakistani culture. If your culture and religion can be destroyed by a woman wearing shorts then your culture and religion are very weak.
As a liberal I used to rejoice every time Qandeel would push the social and cultural boundaries and annoy close minded people. I would think 'you go girl!' However I did not realise that her life could be taken. If a female celebrity can get killed then just think about the life of a normal woman in Pakistan.
A woman is killed in Pakistan for being educated or uneducated, for being dark skinned or light skinned, for being young or old, for being liberal or conservative, for wearing jeans or a burqa. Women are killed for being women. Pakistani men hate the idea of women existing. If a woman sat quietly in the middle of a crowded street she will be killed.
Yes there is gender based violence everywhere in the world but the reaction to it is very different. On average 2 women are killed in the UK by their partners. The difference between this murder and those in Pakistan is that when a British man kills his partner he tries to run away, he tries to hide his crime, he tries to manipulate police and the courts into thinking he did not do it. But in Pakistan when a man commits a similar crime he dumps the woman's body outside the house for everyone to see. The whole neighbourhood gathers and starts filming on their phone. Many of them congratulate the man about how he is so honourable and how he did the right thing. If, and this is a big if, he is arrested his other family members can 'forgive' and there is nothing the police or courts can do. This is Pakistan's law.
It is devastating to hear that another young woman has paid the price for a fragile male ego in Pakistan. Please don’t let Qandeel die in vain. Stand up for the basic freedom that every woman is entitled to. Rest in peace Qandeel. You have gone from hell to heaven. #Celebrities #Youth