Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 18, 2015 · Page B4
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version
October 18, 2015

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page B4

Publication:
Location:
Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Page:
Page B4
Cancel
Start Free Trial

Page B4 article text (OCR)

LAHORE , PAKISTAN I t’slargelytaboofor womentowalk aloneonthestreet here.Thosewho dareoftensu er disapprovingglances, scoldingorcatcalls. Nowsomeyoung womenare fi ghtingthat discrimination, oneteacupatatime. LedbyPakistanibloggerSaa- diaKhatri,24,thewomenphoto- graphthemselvesat dhabas — roadsidestandssellingfoodand teathattraditionallycatertomen throughoutSouthAsia—and posttheirpicturesonsocial mediawiththehashtag #girlsatdhabas. Khatristartedpostingtheim- agesinMayonalark,aftershe graduatedfromMountHolyoke Collegeandfoundlifeathome stultifyingcomparedwithher NewEnglandliberalartsschool. “Whatinspiredmewassimply thedailyfrustrationsoffacingre- sistanceindoingthemostordi- narythingsinourcities, ” said Khatri,wholivesinKarachi.“It startedwithjustventuringoutin thecity,amongourselves. ” Thewomen’scampaignwent viral. “Ithasbecomeacollectiveef- forttoreclaimspacestraditional- lydominatedbymen, ” Khatri said.“Wewanttoencourageand facilitatewomento fi ndtheir ownvoice. ” KhatriandanotherMount Holyokealum,NatashaAnsari, 25,startedaTumblrblogandin- vitedwomentopostphotosof themselvesat dhabas .Theblog nowfeaturesthousandsofpic- turesofwomensippingtea,chat- ting,eating,readingandsmoking inpublic—routineactivitiesin theUnitedStatesbutrebellious behaviorinPakistan.Womenin India,BangladeshandNepalalso havesubmittedphotos. “Womenhavetoreclaimtheir spaceinevery fi eldinPakistan, beitentertainment,sportsorany other fi eld, ” saidcivilrightsactiv- istFouziaSaeed,whoalsoisexec- utivedirectoroftheLokVirsa museuminIslamabad.“Initia- tivesliketheseareamustfor society. ” ShenotedthatPakistanhas grownmoreconservativeand hostiletowomen’srightsinre- centyears. “Historically,thespacefor womenhasbeenreducedinPaki- stan, ” Saeedsaid.“In1960sorbe- forethat—eveninourmothers’ era—therewasmorespaceand openness.Irecallbikingwasn’t consideredataboo.Thespacefor womenhasshrunkoverdecades. ” KhatriandAnsarialso launched#girlsplayingstreet- cricket,referringtothepopular bat-and-ballgame. “Mostofuscouldnarrate childhoodinstanceswherewe wereeithertoldbytheboysplay- ingstreetcricketthatwecan’t playwiththem,ordiscouragedor notallowedbyparentstoplay cricketonthestreetsbecauseit wassomethinggirlsaren’tsup- posedtodo, ” Ansarisaid.“Sothe ideacameverynaturallytous, andweorganizedacricketmatch inKarachi,where15younggirls cameouttoplay. ” Menhaven’topenlyresisted lettingwomenentertheirtradi- tionalturf,Khatrisaid.Butother womenandsomerelativeshave expresseddoubts. “Thisisanovelidea,andmany fi ndithardtoacceptitopenly, ” Khatrisaid.“Thishasledtosome discouragementandsafetycon- cerns,especiallyfromfamilies aboutputtingourselvesout there. ” LubnaKhan,23,ofLahore,is typicalofthecampaign’scritics. “Ifyouaskme,Idon’tfeel comfortablesittinginamen’s- onlydhaba, ” Khansaid.“It’smy choicetonotbeinaplacewhere menaresmoking,crackingvulgar jokesamongthemselves. ” “Idon’thavetoprovemy‘exis- tence’throughsuchaninitiative, ” sheadded.“Igooutandworkfor mywell-being.That’senoughfor meto‘reclaimmyspace.’ ” WomenlikeKhanhaveevery righttodislikedhabas,Ansari said,butsheshouldhavethe righttopatronizethemifshe wants.“We’vefacednegative criticism, ” shesaid.“Manytimes itisfrompeoplewhodon’tfully understandourstancebehind initiatingthisproject. ” Thewomenarenowraising moneytoopenadhabaexplicitly forwomeninKarachiinthenext year.Theyenvisionthedhabaas aplaceforactiviststomeet,share experiencesandplanforthefu- ture,aswellashavefunandrelax overacheapcupofhottea. “Wewanttofacilitatewomen tocometogetherandaddressis- suesofpublicspaceaccessand harassment, ” Ansarisaid.“Andto plotmorewaystocreateresis- tancearoundtheissueofwom- en’smobilityandvisibilityin publicspace. ” WOMENINPAKISTAN JUSTWANTTOHAVEFUN –LIKEMENCAN PHOTOSBYSAADIAKHATRI SaadiaKhatri,ata dhaba in Karachi,startedhercampaign viaablogonalark.Itnowhas goneviral. NailaInayat l SpecialforUSATODAY “Thisisa novel idea,and many fi ndit hardto acceptit openly. Thishas ledto some... safety concerns, especially from families about putting ourselves out there. ” Blogger SaadiaKhatri Khatrihopestoopena dhaba forwomen. 4B E3 USATODAY — DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE SUNDAY,OCTOBER18,2015 BERLIN “Everybody’sinblackor nothingatall. ” That’showClaireDanesre- centlydescribedBerghain,acele- bratedBerlinnightclubknownas adenoftechnomusicandexcess, totalk-showhostEllenDe- Generes.The Homeland actress’s characterizationcouldapplyto allBerliners. Germany’scapitalhaslong beenassociatedwithsexualliber- ty,hedonismanderoticism—a permissiveplacewherepermis- sivepeopledopermissivethings. WhichiswhyVenus,anerotic tradeandconsumerfairthat claimstobetheworld’slargestof itskind,conveneshereannually. Thisyear’sfour-dayevent,which runsthroughSunday,hasdrawn 30,000attendees.“Peoplecome toBerlinforsomethingalittlebit special, ” saidWalterHasenclever, theshow’spublicitydirector. Venus,initseighthyear,fea- turesamixofsexproductsand eroticperformancesinasetting thatcombinestheambienceofan airportterminalwitha fl eamar- ket.Hasencleversaidmostof Venus’patronsarecoupleswho don’tblusheasily. “Thiscityallowsyoutoexplore whoyouare, ” saidCamilleDar- roux,26,apart-timefreelance writerwhovisitsBerlinsexclubs suchastheKitKatClubwithher boyfriend. Darrouxsaidshe fi rstcameto BerlinfromhernativeFrancebe- causeshewasattractedtoitsbur- geoningtechstart-upscene,but anotherscenequicklytookover. “PeopleinBerlinarelessjudg- mentalthaninotherplacesin Europe, ” Darrouxsaid.“Things likesexpartiesareverynormalin Berlin.They’renotsomething thathappenonlybehindclosed doorsorinspecializedsocieties whereyouhavetobeintheknow totakepart.That’snotthecasein Paris. ” Thecity’sreputationforde- baucheryoriginatedintheWei- marera(1919-33),alively, creativeandvolatileperiodwhen pre-HitlerGermansocietyexpe- riencedhyperin fl ation,political extremismandsexualliberation. Thatspiritwasmemorablycap- turedinthesexuallycharged Broadwaymusicalhitand1972 fi lm Cabaret . “Ifyouhaddollarsinyour pocketduringthistimeinBerlin, youcouldbuywhateveryou wanted,whateverexperienceyou wanted, ” saidRoryMacLean,a Canadiantravelwriterwhopub- lishedabookthismonth— Ber- lin:PortraitsofaCityThroughthe Centuries —thatimaginatively documentsBerlin’seventful history. “TheAustriannovelistStefan ZweighasalovelylineaboutBer- lininthe1920s:‘Allvalueswere changed,andBerlinwastrans- formedintotheBabylonofthe world,’ ” MacLeansaid. Anotherwriter,theEnglishpo- etStephenSpender,wasmoredi- rectinhisassessmentofWeimar Berlin:“(Itwas)acitywithno virgins.Noteventhepuppiesand kittensarevirgins. ” DespiteWorldWarII,theCold Warandgenerationsoforderly Teutonicgovernancesincethen, Berlin’ssexualityhasmanagedto survive.Thereason,Venuspubli- cistHasencleversaid,isthatBer- linhasalwayshadawelcomemat outforhedonists. “Evenduringtheseparationof Germany(EastandWestfrom 1945-90),peoplealwayscameto Berlinforexcitementifthey could, ” hesaid.“Andit’sstilltrue today.Theycomefromallover forthepartiesandthesexclubs. It’snotlikethisanywhereelsein Germanyortheworld. ” “It’sbecomingharderand harderasBerlingetsmoreexpen- siveandrentsrise,butyoung peoplearestillcomingheretoex- ploreart,andeachother, ” said MacLean,whomademoviesin Berlininthe1970swiththeBrit- ishsingerDavidBowieandGer- man-AmericaniconMarlene Dietrich. TheVenustradeshowisnot theonlysignofBerlin’slovea air witheroticism.Overtheweek- end,theseventhannualFeminist PornFilmAward,orPorYes,will behandedouttohonor fi lmsthat portrayfemalesexualityinways thatdon’tobjectifywomen,as coarserpornographyoftendoes. “Wewanttorevolutionizethe erotic fi lmmarket, ” LauraMeritt, oneofthe fi lmprize’sorganizers, saidinastatementonthegroup’s website.“Wewilldemonstrate thattherearesensual,wittyand sexypornmoviesthataregoodto women,thatcanbeenjoyedby womenandallkindsofcouples andgivethemthefeelingofbeing inharmonicbalancewiththeir sexuality. ” ForDarroux,thisfreedomto exploreone’ssensualidentity withoutshameneedstobepro- tectedfromoutsiderswhoare justlookingforaone-nightstand. “Idon’twanttoomanypeople comingherecausinghavoc, ” she said,referringtotheincreasing complaintbynativesthattheir cityisbeingoverrunbyforeign- erswhodon’trespectitsunwrit- tenrules. “Ilovethisplacetoomuch, ” shesaid.“Berlinisnotjustaplace togetwildlydrunk,havesexand loseyourself. ” Sexycity:Berlinahotbedofhedonism GETTYIMAGES VisitorsphotographastripperperformingattheVenuseroticfairinBerlin. KimHjelmgaard USATODAY “It’sbecoming harder...but youngpeople arestillcoming heretoexplore art,andeach other. ” RoryMacLean, travelwriterwhohas writtenabookaboutBerlin’shistory Venuserotictradefairjustone exampleofhowGermancapital keepsanything-goesreputation

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page