It's not new to see a celebrity facing backlash from haters over their looks. But that doesn't mean it's okay.
Case in point is model Saheefa Jabbar Khattak, who recently cut her hair short.
Saheefa's haircut looks spunky and bold, making her stand out in the industry. But her standing out is leading to her getting bullied online.
Speaking to Images, Saheefa revealed that she had gone for a shorter haircut before, "but at that time I was in university and I wasn't called out for it in this way. They were a little unsure about it then as well, asking me why I did it, but I guess I was surrounded by better people or people were nicer back then because they wouldn't be so vile."
It was when Saheefa sported this look in recent brand shoots that the haters couldn't handle it. They commented on her looks, saying the haircut looks bad, and went as far as to point fingers at her character and claim she's a bad influence on the society.
We've heard it so many times ─ haters gonna hate. But what about when the hate goes too far? That's when Saheefa decided to fight back.
Said Saheefa, "I saw so many hate comments on my pictures from women, and what would saddened me is that those women had pictures of children on their display picture. These women were claiming I am a bad influence on the youth but I was just wondering about what the children are actually learning when they see their parents being hateful to a stranger on the internet, saying vile and cruel things and getting away with it. These children are learning to judge and say whatever negative thing they want and that it is okay to do so."
Saheefa also went live on her Facebook to call out the hate and point out how such bullying reflects more on the haters and less on herself.
Said Saheefa in her video, "Cutting my hair doesn’t make me a bad person, a bad Muslim, or make me unsuitable for marriage."
Watch the video here.
Saheefa told us that the issue with her haircut is deep-rooted in a patriarchal mindset.
"This haircut is not the issue. For women, hair isn't the only issue. We are facing gender inequality and stereotyping. The issue is also about illiteracy."
She added, "In my defence, I spoke about how I have the right to my views and people took it that wrong way, they started saying I'm bashing the hijab or throwing shade at women who choose to marry early when I didn't do that at all. I just wanted to clarify that it is a person's choice. I may not be in hijab but I speak against hijab bans in other countries because it is a person's choice. And this haircut is my choice and I am not forcing anyone to do the same!"
For Saheefa, speaking out in such a way was not easy. In a society where a voice is easily silenced, where those who do not conform are at risk, Saheefa took a stand. She revealed even her family was concerned about her doing so.
"My father raised me to be a strong, independent woman but with the state of the society even he was afraid of my fighting such haters. He was afraid for my safety. He was unsure if I should speak up because what if someone hurts me because of this. And it's weird to me because, in the end, this is all about a haircut!"
She added, "The situation in this country worries me. Even now at the moment, there are people who think it's a stunt. Just a few hopefully, but for them as well I wonder how they couldn't see I wasn't acting or this wasn't planned."
But Saheefa ended up getting a lot of support for her move too. Many appreciated the model for breaking stereotypes with her new look and many from the industry who knew her spoke out against the hate and stood by her decision.
Said Saheefa about the support, "I had no idea that this will go huge. I just went live to say what I wanted to and then I was planning on deleting the post. But then the support came in. I had people calling me, telling me I did the right thing standing up for myself and to not delete the video. They were sharing my video, making statuses; the support had me stunned. I am so grateful for them."
"There were also many who commented on the hateful messages and now those haters have deleted their comments. One of the ladies who had called me masculine and a bad influence on the younger people deleted her comment, and inboxed me and apologised. I'm glad the support came from all the places."
Saheefa has been in the modelling industry for around two years. She has been the face of many brands, on shoots and ramp. For her, to have such a huge scandal over a mere haircut shows how our society cannot handle anyone who won't conform, especially women. It's about time we appreciate individualism, and let a person choose what they want to do with their life and their hair.