Pakistani Women Are Responding to a Law That Allows Their Husbands to 'Beat Them Lightly'
Pakistani women are taking to social media to fight a controversial bill, thanks to the help of one photographer. After the Council of Islamic Ideology proposed a bill that would allow Pakistani men to "lightly beat" their wives when necessary (for example, if they refuse sex, speak too loudly, or decide not to bathe after menstruation), many, like photographer Fahhad Rajper, were outraged. Rajper felt inspired to take action, so he banded together with a number of women and committed to telling their stories through the photo series and social media campaign #TryBeatingMeLightly.
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) May 31, 2016
Rajper began by photographing Pakistani women of all ages and professions. He then asked them to complete the statement, "#TryBeatingMeLightly … " — a prompt which garnered a variety of responses. Some women offered threats like, "You won't survive to see the morning," or, "I'll run a car over you with my seven years of driving experience." Others turned the question around, asking, "And tell me if you would like yourself to be beaten up lightly?" And others used the hashtag as an opportunity to create beautiful poetry. "Beat me with your intelligence, if you may," one women wrote. "Beat me with your wit. Beat me with your smile. Beat me with your kindness. But if you dare to beat me even with a feather, I'd really beat the shit out of you. With love."
Rajper kept each portrait simple — de-saturating to black and white — thus capturing each woman's unique personality. Some smile, others smirk, and others cross their arms to show strength, but each image adds another layer to the conversation surrounding this bill.
#TryBeatingMeLightly and I'll run a car over you with my 7 years of driving experience! Priyanka Pahuja, Product Designer turned Digital Marketer - #TryBeatingMeLightly - A Portrait series of Pakistani Women reacting to Women Protection Bill presented by #CII [Council of Islamic Ideology]. Where they proposed quite a number of bogus points regarding women and the most imbecile one being; husbands should be allowed to 'lightly beat' their defying wives. ---- Ladies, Upload your pictures using #TryBeatingMeLightly with your reaction to the billl, give them a shut up call. Link to all the stories in bio.•
The Council of Islamic Ideology is an organization that advises the Pakistani legislature on whether laws it plans to pass are counter to or in accordance with Islam. Though the CII works closely with the government, they don't have the final say on what laws are passed (they can merely suggest). There's no word yet on whether the Pakistani legislature plans to pass the bill. But in the meantime, it will remain a proposal (so no one can actually enforce it — thankfully).
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Photo Credit: Fahhad Rajper