Zaid Ali's video 'My Wife Is Ugly' exposes Pakistan's gora complex

Zaid Ali's video 'My Wife Is Ugly' exposes Pakistan's gora complex

One person commented: "This is how she looks cute? Cheap, black monkey."
26 Mar, 2019

Zaid Ali's wife Yumna has been the center of social media hate ever since the YouTube comedian introduced her to the world, and it has all been targeted towards her physical appearance.

Since their marriage a year and a half ago, Yumna has featured in many of Zaid's videos but the hate just hasn't stopped. In fact, it has only become more aggressive.

To highlight this issue, the duo made a video My Wife Is Ugly in which they read the worst comments directed towards Yumna on social media. Unfortunately, the comments expose more than just our gora complex.

We break down some of them to explain why one should never say such things to anyone, ever.

"This girl looks like our maid, by the way, good choice."

.... nothing negative here, except the person's obvious use of the word 'maid' as an insult. Ridiculing people based on their job is not okay. Equaling their job to their physical appearance is absolutely not okay. Why is it that maids are not seen as good looking? Or smart? Or ambitious? Or even... human. A person's social status in society should not be parallel to the respect they're given.

Let Momina Mustehsan explain: "... resembling your maid isn't offensive, I'm glad I have lookalikes who work hard, even if it's a maid at someone's house #RespectAll."

Also read: Why is calling someone a 'maid' considered an insult?

"This is how she looks cute? Cheap, black monkey."

Our society thrives on colourism. From childhood, girls and boys are told that their skin colour, which they have no control over, is one of their ultimate defining traits. If you happen to be born with dark skin, it sucks to be you. We equate beauty with fairness despite the fact that it's not genetically possible for many of us to be born with light skin. This kind of self-hatred is symptomatic of our deeply ingrained colonial hangover that causes many to suffer from feelings of inferiority when there's no need for it.

Also, using words like cheap and monkey is just plain crass and reflects poorly on the person using them.

Also read: People on social media are speaking out against the toxic side of Pakistan's rishta culture

"This girl is too skinny, please feed her otherwise she'll starve to death. Skeleton."

Body shaming is far too common in our society. It's unfortunate that people with different shapes and sizes are not celebrated; instead, they're ridiculed for looking the way that they do. One is either too skinny or too fat, there is no in-between and there is definitely no winning.

It's also important to know that weight fluctuations can be caused by many reasons like depression, anxiety, PCOs. If one is terribly concerned about someone's weight, the first question should be pertaining to their well-being, not tips on how to work on their weight.

Also read: The plus-size Pakistani woman exists, and now she's speaking up

"I hate Yumna not because she's ugly, but because she took Zaid away from his mother."

If this was a sorry attempt at a joke, there was simply no need to introduce the saas-vs-bahu narrative here. Society has long been pitting the two against each other, even though any reasonable person would recognise that the two have important but different roles in a man's life. Our plea at this point is: Stop demonising daughters-in-law. Period.

These comments are just a narrow window into how we perceive women in our society and shred their self-worth to pieces by shaming them for their appearance.

Yumna was criticised like every Pakistani woman in the marriage set-up. Her ambitions, knowledge, personality were all disregarded, instead she was evaluated solely on the basis of her looks. But what we admire most about her is how she brushed off those comments and laughed them off with Zaid.

However, some do not have the same coping mechanism and tend to internalise these hateful comments.

Unfortunately, this toxic rishta culture runs deep in our society and these perceptions of women are constantly reinforced through dramas and films which equate dark = ugly, fair = beautiful, submissive = good, assertive = bad.

The scales will remain tipped against women unless we fight against this narrative. Women are not born to receive approval from all of society. They do not need validation from men. Understand this.


ahmad Mar 26, 2019 01:05pm
as if he hasn't milked the issue enough.
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Mani Mar 26, 2019 01:26pm
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think she's cute. It's possible the hateful comments have other motives.
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Wahid Mar 26, 2019 01:35pm
These derogatory comments and attitudes must change and people must accept the fact that spouses are physically different does not make them unequal. In fact we must embrace the Islamic concepts that regard the man as a King and wife as a queen of the household; they are different,their roles are different but they are not inferior to one another and society must not see female gender as inferior to man .
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Shakeel Mar 26, 2019 01:36pm
She's beautiful. They're in love and they're married, wish them happiness and leave them be. One thing is for sure, those leaving bad comments are definitely ugly - on the inside.
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Rashek Mar 26, 2019 01:49pm
Let’s all just appreciate her inner beauty
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Farhan Ahmed Mar 26, 2019 02:06pm
The more educated thing is to have a beautiful mind rather than a figure.
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Aisha Mar 26, 2019 02:32pm
So social media is behaving like In- laws. Yumna is pretty girl , people might be jealoused because of her confidence.
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Haque Mar 26, 2019 02:39pm
I think she is very beautiful.
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Iram Mar 26, 2019 03:45pm
Zaid wife is pretty. and the people called her ugly must me women and just saying such things in jealousy.
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Asad Mar 26, 2019 05:49pm
Its really sad that we hate our own brown and coffee skin tones and want to look white. A quick glance at the media, news achors and actors/actress will tell you how deep these white complex run when they look nothing like ordinary brown pakistani man on street. Whitening injections sell like hot cakes and tons of whitening layers of foundation are rage for weddings. Sad indeed.
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Sameer Mar 26, 2019 06:06pm
I think she’s gorgeous! He’s a lucky guy.
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Farooqi Mar 26, 2019 06:32pm
To me she is gorgeous cute kid.
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Indian Mar 26, 2019 09:01pm
What's wrong with these people???? She is beautiful and funny!
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Ali Mar 26, 2019 10:00pm
She is beautiful. What are these people talking about? Even if she were not, do we really think we have a right to criticize the creator for his creation? The more I hear my fellow countrymen, the more disappointed I get.
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Marvi78 Mar 26, 2019 10:12pm
This toxic culture against women in different ways is part and parcel of our medievil style patriarchy, and will unfortunately not change significantly until we do away with this kind of patriarchy. It teaches women to hate each other and keep each other in control.
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Sabir Pakistani Mar 26, 2019 10:19pm
It’s wrong to say while Pakistan, it’s mostly Punjab and sindh where people worry about fair skin grooms and brides not rest of Pakistan .
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Vijay B Mar 26, 2019 10:37pm
@Rashek You say to appreciate her inner beauty, by that are you insinuating she does not have outer beauty? I think she looks gorgeous.
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Pak Khan Mar 26, 2019 10:50pm
Why would Ali make this wife go thru such a mean segment? She is a headturner, prettier than most of our actresses, very charming and lively. She does not need to prove or explain it to anyone. Those writing such disgusting comments should also share their own pics, infact pics of their partners first. And Ali should have not made such a video where his wife actually has to read such mean comments, written pure out of jealousy .. by girls who are not as pretty as her and by guys not lucky as Ali.
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Vipin Mar 26, 2019 11:15pm
Why is he talking too much about his wife's appearance?? I think She is very beautiful . It seems he needed some topic for his videos.
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YesDude Mar 27, 2019 12:45am
It's very brave of Yumna to go public with these comments! Good job! Plus, you're beautiful!! perfect couple!
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a Mar 27, 2019 12:52am
Weird. She's a fairly good looking girl. What's going on ???
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N_Saq Mar 27, 2019 03:21am
I am not sure what is the issue with people with her but she is beautiful. Zaid is one heck of a lucky man. Keep going Zaid and don’t worry about haters because haters will be haters no matter what. You go girl!
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Laila Mar 27, 2019 03:25am
I have seen women and men of great beauty in all colours, shapes and sizes. Beauty is subjective. An attractive man to me is somebody who is protective and kind. I can not emphasize how I love these qualities in a man. Obsession with white is a disease rampant among Muslims not just Pakistanis but especially Arabs. It's a shame. It's just melanin for havens sakes.
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Laila Mar 27, 2019 03:27am
@Asad totally on the mark. Agreed. Just look at our entertainment industry. We see no drk skinned actresses. And those who may have a bit more pigment going on get covered in makeup and only their hands and neck reveal their true skin colour. Toffee or cream. It's beautiful.
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Laila Mar 27, 2019 03:30am
You hate her because she "took Zaid away from his mother"?? Is Zaid a toddler or under age kid because ehe sure looks like an adult in the pictures. It's called growing up, dear. You marry and move in with your wife in yout own home while still caring for your respective families.
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Asif Mar 27, 2019 10:39am
I'm a boy with dark skin, there is no difference in criticism by the society which faced. Its not women Vs society instead its skin color Vs society
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Syed Nazim Mar 27, 2019 10:48am
In Pakistan colour and beauty are important due to segregation of male and female at almost all ages. Looks are not only feature that makes personality of any person ,girls and boys. When male and female freely meet each other, other qualities are exposed and importance of looks goes down. In western countries for this reason looks are not given too much importance while selecting life partners
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illawarrior Mar 27, 2019 12:21pm
That is considered ugly in Pakistan? Wow! I think she is extremely attractive!
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Anita Mar 27, 2019 01:00pm
She is cutie and Zaid loves her. I see their beautiful chemistry. What a nice and understanding girl! Have fun to the hilt, guys!!!
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Anita Mar 27, 2019 01:05pm
I miss Zaid's friend who acts so well as a mom with dishevelled hair and clothes. Please make more of those videos.
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Ishaq Sohag Mar 27, 2019 02:17pm
She's beautiful MA
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DrShahid Mar 27, 2019 08:22pm
As the least likely person to comment on news stories, this one is just too infuriating to let it slide. Have never been a follower of Zaid Ali's videos nor of the news of his marriage, but I am truly disgusted and horrified that people have the gall to make such hateful comments on any one person and even more so of the gentler sex. Have we become so morally and intellectually bankrupt that we can make these rude statements publicly on/to another person? Or is it the anonymity than emboldens them? I shudder when I even imagine people 'thinking' these negative and hateful ideas and am distraught how one can say/write these out. Shameful indeed! The only positive lining is how the couple handled these despicable quotes without malice and spite, and rather with good humor interspersed with love and mutual caring. Kudos to their love and effervescent spirits. I wish them all the happiness in the world and they truly deserve our respect.
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Sumayyah Mar 27, 2019 08:58pm
A very postive way to challange discrimination !! Love the video clip! Definately other motives for the negative comments .... jealousy perhaps !!
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Nahida Samji Mar 28, 2019 02:21am
Yumna, You are too beautiful to believe me. Stay strong and kill them all(negative minded people) with sugar not with poison
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