Women fighting against casual sexism, one smart quip at a time.
Women fighting against casual sexism, one smart quip at a time.

Casual sexism is everywhere.

Whether we're talking about the workplace, in the news or our everyday lives; latent sexism so ingrained in our culture that it often passes by unnoticed.

Headlines about women and their achievements often end up objectifying them, critiquing outfits and makeup instead of saying anything remotely substantive.

Not anymore, though. These students noticed how sexist most headlines can be and set out to do something about it;

Every year, Habib University hosts a club fair to introduce the new batch to existing clubs and societies; it's when the students decide which clubs they would be joining for the coming year. One such community is the Habib Feminist Collective.

Talking to Images, Rida Khan, the club's current secretary shared, "Habib Feminist Collective stands out among other clubs because it is the only one that receives a lot of love and hate at the same time. While most students enjoyed correcting sexist headlines, there were some who were averse to the idea of focusing too much on something as basic as headlines in a newspaper when 'we have bigger things to worry about.'"

"The fact that a woman's own name is less significant than her relationship with a man is the very reason we had to hold this activity, it's small things like these that lead to bigger realisations, like the fact that we live in a patriarchal world where a woman is a mere object rather than a person of her own."

What they essentially did was show the batch of 2023 a few samples of headlines and asked them to identify the misogynistic language used and change the text. Umama Ishtiaq, the marketing manager said she was surprised by the first year students.

"Not because i didn't expect them to be able to do it but because we've internalised patriarchy so much, sometimes it becomes difficult to see through it. I absolutely loved how students were able to challenge the dominant narrative. I'm so glad the first years slammed these headlines, rightfully so, and I've never been so proud!"

"My personal favourite "fixed" headlines were; Taylor Swift, topping charts again and Maisie Williams, attending a charity event. The original ones explicitly show that when women use their art to express themselves, they are over sharing, dramatic and playing the victim, or how they are being objectified for doing something as simple as attending an event."

She added, "The media does not focus on their work or contributions to the industry but finds reasons to drag them. They are stripped off of their right to express themselves while simultaneously praising and celebrating men who do the exact same. If you don't see how that screams sexism, you're not paying attention."

Fatima Durrani, who's the vice president of the society chalks it to up to clickbait.

"Young people active on social media get most of their local, world and entertainment news updates on either Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Instagram. Ruffling through newspapers and squinting at the tiny print is an activity long gone and extinct. Even the news article links that do pop up on one's social media feed, the clicking open of that link depends extensively on either personal interests or the headline."

"Cognizant of this behavior pattern, news editors and writers have stooped to absolutely insane lows to ensure that their works are read and shared online. Even dignified journalists and online publications have resorted to using the female body as a clickbait, and honestly, high time tactics this disgusting were brought to the attention of the public and young adults, who are the largest consumers of this literary garbage."

Casual sexism is hardly harmless and we're so proud that young women are calling it out for what it is; we must accept that someone who is casually sexist only needs to make a small leap to get to full-blown misogyny.

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