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2019 was a year of insensitive jokes by Pakistani celebrities

They didn’t spare transgender people or women

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 15, 2019 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Dec 15, 2019 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
2019 was a year of insensitive jokes by Pakistani celebrities

It was an eventful year for Pakistani showbiz. A number of celebrities was constantly in the news, less for their performances and more for their inappropriate statements.

Here’s a timeline of all the times they let it rip.

April – Yasir Hussain thought it’s okay to crack a transphobic joke

Yasir Hussain posted a series of photos of himself dressed as a transgender person for telefilm Help Me Durdana, in which he played one.

Someone commented on the photo series and asked why the producers hadn’t cast an actual transgender person for the role. Yasir replied to ask whether the person who commented wanted the job instead. 

Once the internet reacted badly, he clarified by saying he was not playing the role of a transgender person and by no means had he ever wanted to disrespect a gender that he had immense regard for.

“Once the show is out you will be able to understand the character better and will know that my role has nothing to do with humiliating or mocking anyone,” he said.

Somehow, he did not seem to understand that it was his initial remark that was inappropriate.

May- Body shaming and classist jokes

Saboor Aly’s classist joke

Saboor Aly and her co-actor Saheefa Jabbar came under fire for an Instagram story Saboor posted in which they made fun of a man cleaning a window. In the now-deleted video, Saboor and Saheefa can be heard making jokes about the man. “His mother had better dreams for him when he left his house,” chuckles Saboor.

Another actor Affan Waheed was also in the video and seemed a little uncomfortable with the mockery. He tried to deflect the conversation and was praised for doing so.

Saboor said that she wasn’t making fun of a window cleaner at all. The man in the video was their assistant director, Ehsan Shaikh. The actor went to defend her video, which she says was missing context. She said it was an inside joke with the assistant director and that she never made fun of the profession.

People pointed out, however, that making fun of any profession is not okay.

Sadaf Kanwal fat-shamed a woman on Snapchat

Model Sadaf Kanwal uploaded a picture of model Alyzeh Gabol on Instagram. In the image, Alyzeh can be seen holding up her cellphone with a picture of a woman.

Sadaf chose to caption the image as “future”, hinting that Gabol could at some point in the future look like the women on the screen. Journalist Alia Chughtai tweeted: “So we have another fat shamer so-called celebrity who thinks it’s funny to make fun of fat people, Sadaf Kanwal.”

Yasir mocked Hania Aamir over skin insecurities

Hania Aamir took to Instagram to get real about her skin and the unrealistic standards of beauty. In an Instagram Q/A session, one of Yasir’s followers asked him to describe Hania in one word. He answered by calling her ‘danedar’, in reference to her post about her acne.

Hania was quick to respond and called him out while also dragging him for his comments. “Muaaf kijiye meray dost ko. Inko aaj kal inappropriate jokes marni ki aadat hogayi hai [Please excuse my friend, he has a habit of making inappropriate jokes nowadays],” wrote Hania on her Instagram story.

View this post on Instagram

So I have always struggled with mild acne. Always had these bumps on my forehead that JUST WOULD NOT BUDGE! I had gotten used to them. But the journey I have been on for a couple of months has been quite a painful one. I’d just come back to chitral from a day trip to kalash and after I had washed my face it started to burn and my skin went red. Didn’t take it seriously but the next day I had these tiny red bumps ALL OVER MY FACE.I freaked out but didn’t let it get the best of me because I was at work. They would show on camera, everybody started to ask me, started with the totkas and then came the anxiety.. khair when I got back they kind of calmed down.My skin looked clearer than before. But some three months back it started to act up again and it was even worse this time! I kept it clean,toner,creams,dermatologists,everything! Nothing seemed to fix my skin and I had my night AND days of crying. Feeling insecure. Anxiety. Makeup wouldn’t help. I was a mess but I went through it and got out of it too. I went to a different doctor and he prescribed me some meds. My skin has been better than before. But it made me wonder.. Why is my skin defining me? Who has made these beauty standards that we always feel the need to match? The society? Clear skin is beauty? I know that the idea of being “perfect” is appealing to majority but you don’t need to be an airbrushed flawless image to feel beautiful. Nobody should feel the pressure of matching the ridiculous societal beauty standards.Have your own.Beauty is within and anybody who makes you feel small because of what you LOOK like shouldn’t be around you! To all the brothers and sisters out there! Being a celebrity does not mean perfection; it only means we have chosen a profession that makes us and our lives public but certainly not that we do not go through issues in life; Every individual has their own. Perfection is not what we should be seeking, being comfortable in our own skin is the key. This is my skin at the moment. Better than before but still not quite okay. But till I tackle it am I gonna hide myself from the world? Shy away from people? No. Yes I am struggling but my skin DOES NOT define me. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Hania Aamir (@haniaheheofficial) on May 12, 2019 at 4:15pm PDT

She went on to explain why such jokes are extremely problematic and said that exploiting people’s insecurities for humour is downright degrading and disrespectful. She ended her note by saying, “Degrading is not funny. I’m not laughing, no one is.”

June- Yasir questioned women’s clothing to prove a point

In an interview on Waseem Badami’s Masoomana Sawal in June, Yasir said: “Red carpet pe hum backless dresses pehn le ge, lekin hum Oscars wali mazaak nahin bardasht kar sakte (We will wear backless dresses on the red carpet, but not tolerate Oscar-level jokes.)”

In response to a question regarding his remarks, Yasir said Pakistani celebrities are too sensitive. In order to prove his point, he said that if one took Anwar Maqsood, Moin Akhtar and Umar Sharif’s comedies, they would call them racist and inhumane. Yasir refused to have made a joke about child abuse in 2017 (despite apologizing for it earlier). “I didn’t say that. And there is no video to prove it,” he added.

July- Firdous Jamal’s ageist remark against Mahira Khan

Firdous Jamal, while speaking on Faisal Qureshi’s morning show, remarked that Mahira Khan looks old on screen and should play a mother and not lead. Jamal has been under fire ever since.

August- Urwa and Mawra made an ignorant statement about mental health

The Hocane sisters appeared on Nida Yasir’s morning show to promote their new clothing line, U X M, and somehow the conversation shifted to talking about mental well-being. In the video, which was viral, it’s clear that the celebrity sisters think depression is solely caused by your diet.

Urwa went on to make a blanket statement: “There are so many problems these days, we hear someone say that they’ve got depression or mental ‘disease’, but its all because of food! There’s no other reason.”

October – Ushna Shah belittles a pizza delivery guy

Ushna Shah came under fire for using demeaning and sexist language towards a pizza delivery person. She tweeted that she passed ‘demeaning’ and ‘sexist’ comments to a pizza delivery guy at 2:30am. 

She told the man “mard banein” (be a man), “Aap ek chaar saal ki bachi nahee hai,” (you are not a four-year-old girl) and “Mardaangi peida karein” (try to be manly).

The delivery guy, she wrote, was scared of her growling pitbull dog.
Twitter was having none of her elitism and told her to apologize. In response to the outrage, Shah tried to defend her tweets: “To everybody crying about my rant to the pizza guy. I was holding the dog. He refused to come in.”

She added: “None of that encouragement worked. But as soon as his masculinity was challenged my pizza was inside. Says more about society then it does me [sic].” 

November – Khalil-ur-Rehman thinks women should rape men

Khalil-ur-Rehman opened up about his views on gender equality in a recent interview and what he thinks a “good woman” is. “When people ask me about equality, I ask them if they have heard the news of five men kidnapping a woman, to which they reply yes,” the screenwriter said. 

“But then I ask them if they have heard the news about five women kidnapping a man,” he said. “If women want equality, they need to do the same things men are doing. Go and rob a bus, abduct a man and gang-rape him. Only then I would know there is equality.”

The writer went so far as to say that women don’t know their rights, they wanted a share of men’s rights, “which they can never have,” he said, adding, rather strangely, that they will “never be allowed to wear shorts in the Subcontinent”.

We get that our celebrities are always in the spotlight, and are overanalysed for what they say. But some of them have over a million followers, which means they have the power to influence people. We think they should use it for something positive, rather than spreading hate or negativity.

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