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Ms JANUARY 19, 2014


A Touch of Silk



Domestic Disturbance



inside mother superior —

Are artificial sweeteners safe for expecting mothers?

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Italian indulgence



Section In-Charge: Batool Zehra Sub-Editor: Amna Hashmi

The Blue-eyed Beauty



the buzz


Rise against domestic abuse Ms T looks into this grave social evil and how we can overcome it by Mehreen Ovais



Honestly, I had never thought much about it. I knew what it meant and I knew it existed but that was the extent of my thoughts on the matter, probably because I have never experienced or witnessed it and so couldn’t relate to it. Or probably because, like so many of us, the bubble of my privileged social setup never gave me a window into this terrifying reality that engulfs many women. But the biggest myth that I believed until recently was that domestic violence is something that is born out of poverty and illiteracy and therefore only exists in remote villages and uneducated families where people don’t know any better. This myth was shattered when I spoke to a certain someone — a girl of about my age, highly educated, quite well-off, belonging to the same social class as myself, and yet often beaten up by her spouse. It was a shock for me, after all it brought into question the naive understanding I had of this practice. And that’s when the obvious hit me. How could domestic violence and education have any direct relation? It’s not like our schools teach us how to deal with any battering that may or may not occur. I now believe it is in fact a set of social and cultural sanctions in Pakistan that lead to domestic violence. A certain mindset is passed down generations by both the transgressors as well as the victims of this kind of abuse. In Pakistan, it is said that 80% of the women suffer violence of varying degrees in their homes and the matter persists primarily because society condones and defends it either directly or indirectly. It is a learned behaviour, absorbed into our lifestyle through generations following the same pattern. Young girls see their mothers going through physical abuse and unknowingly adapt to the system. This does not imply that they approve of it but they accept it as something that is not open to debate or alteration. Girls come to identify their mothers as the victims of aggression and expect similar fates for themselves when they grow up, without any control over what happens to them. Domestic violence is normalised within the families via two major forces: the patriarchal set-up where men enjoy unlimited and unquestionable authority and the rigid gender roles that are responsible for their stringent control over women’s actions. Pakistani society is a male-dominated one where power and control is central to men and women have a normative and traditional responsibility to obey these men at all costs. Unfortunately, education often does little to break this age-old way of thinking that still exists in many families, even if implicitly. Women, from a very early age are instilled with tolerance and acceptance of the fact that their lives are completely controlled by men in all spheres of their lives and that they are not to question that system. What is domination by fathers, uncles and brothers later transforms into blind subjugation to the commands of the husband. In order to lend strength to the patriarchal system, women are taught to be obedient, docile and placid whereas men are equated with authoritarian control and violence. In such a framework, violence and assault against wives is naturalised and women are moulded into the character-description of domestic violence. Through this justification of domestic abuse using gender roles, women are tutored throughout their lives to behave in ways that complement the power structure and therefore they consent to their own subordination. They come to accept beatings inflicted on them as just another male ‘gender trait’ enforced on them by ‘destiny’. Often, women try to explain their position by claiming

In order to lend strength to the patriarchal system, women are taught to be obedient, docile and placid whereas men are equated with authoritarian control and violence. In such a framework, violence and assault against wives is naturalised and women are moulded into the character-description of domestic violence

The cultural interpretation of the institution of marriage may also be largely to blame for the acceptance of this social evil. It is a general belief that marriage is for life and must be preserved at all costs. Therefore, it becomes culturally unfeasible to escape a marriage and this inflexibility affords obligation to remain tolerant of conflict or assault. Furthermore, wives are considered responsible for the outcome of a marriage and pressure to conform to a successful marriage forces her to be forbearing, even in the face of adversity. Our society views divorce or separation with scorn, especially if it is initiated by a woman. It therefore becomes highly crucial to uphold the family and the marriage and this leaves no option for suffering women. They must stay silent about their ordeals and accept them as a part of life. As this notion is absorbed into their marriages, they tacitly consent to beatings and violence. Religious connotations are also applied to justify domestic abuse. A lot of men as well as women believe that it is un-Islamic to rebel against a husband and his will as it implies the violation of the principle of female modesty. Patience and humility is what the religion teaches and according to some people these principles only apply to women. Speaking or acting against the husband or going to the police is widely labeled to be anti-religion. Furthermore, a particular religious verse is widely misinterpreted to propagate that Islam has permitted husbands to beat up their wives if they do not obey orders. This verse is construed to entail that it is the religious duty of women to blindly comply with the demands of their husbands and accept their punishment. Alternative verses underscoring the equality of relationship between the spouses and emphasising the good treatment of wives are conveniently ignored. Many still argue that with better education, socio-economic development and awareness, these women would be able to wake up to their condition and change will come. While this does stand probable more often than not, the fact remains that

The cultural interpretation of the institution of marriage may also be largely to blame for the acceptance of this social evil. It is a general belief that marriage is for life and must be preserved at all costs. Therefore, it becomes culturally unfeasible to escape a marriage and this inflexibility affords obligation to remain tolerant of conflict or assault

that, “It is in the nature of men to resort to violence and so women should be understanding and patient.” Moreover women who endeavour to stand up against this system are labelled and stigmatised as ‘loose’, ‘rebellious’ and ‘disrespectful’ — thus impeding their struggle. Their own parents and even the police deem them as wrong to complain about their husbands: the supposedly hardworking husbands, who toil away all day to support the family and resort to violence either due to stress or inability of their women to fulfill their responsibilities. In the end, even women who resist gradually come to accept that protesting against domestic violence is an appalling or futile act to commit.

even education and greater resources cannot deter family expectations and malecentered beliefs imbedded so deeply in our minds. Unless the workings of our society are modified, the custom of wife beating will continue. In order to bring about change and liberate our women from this malevolent activity, it is imperative to bring about a shift in popular opinion, social norms and the cultural beliefs. We must change the mindset of people so that they accept and become conscious of the immorality and injustice of wife beating and not justify it or condone it for any reason. Only then can our women gain control over their lives, use education to enhance their status and identity, and break the shackles of male domination and exploitation.



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Cool & Contemporary

Dress to impress with Maria B’s latest line of silk formals, perfect for winter nights out


Coordination: Umer Mushtaq Hair & Makeup: Mairum Khawaja Designer: Maria B Photography & Styling: Muhammad Azam Model: Rabya Butt




Sugar Shock

mother superior


– Artificial sweeteners and pregnancy

Ms T finds out if artificial sweeteners are safe for consumption during pregnancy and how an expecting mother can regulate her intake Nayab Najam

As people become increasingly health-conscious, terms like ‘low fat’ and ‘low carbs’ are being accepted as little more than marketing gimmicks for powerful multinationals to sell their products. Reduced sugar or sugar-free foods are the latest in the markets. Everything from sodas and junk food to fruits and even chewing gum is now available in a healthier version of itself, catering to those who appease themselves that just because what they are eating has ‘25% less sugar,’ it is healthy. This is where artificial sweeteners step in. Many manufacturers do not actually reduce the amount of sugar in their product — they simply replace it with artificial sweeteners. After all, what could be greater than having sugar that isn’t really sugar? Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners pose certain threats to the human body which are only likely to be aggravated during pregnancy. There is plenty of concern regarding diet and nutrition during pregnancy and many expecting mothers cut their sugar intake by replacing it with foods and drinks that are sweetened artificially. Some artificially sweetened items like low-calorie yogurts, juices and milkshakes can indeed provide nutrients essential for a sound pregnancy and can help curtail weight-gain. Although there is limited research on the matter, most brands of sweeteners have been given the green light for consumption during, just so long as it is consumed in moderation. For instance, Aspartame is one type of sweetening ingredient — commonly found in diet sodas — which most experts have deemed to be harmless so long as it is consumed in limited amounts. Large quantities of Aspartame can cause an upset stomach, sugar cravings, increased

insulin production and even mood swings and broken sleep! Sucralose is a whopping 600 times sweeter than sugar itself and largely considered safe while expecting. Saccharin — 300 times sweeter than sugar — is also accepted although research on the latter have shown varied reports of the ingredient passing through the placenta and on to the foetus. A derivative of coal tar, Saccharin is not only slow to leave the uterus but exposure to it can affect the unborn baby adversely and cause cancer in otherwise healthy human beings. Sorbitol, a staple in some diet products, especially chewing gums, is generally considered safe but leads to bloating and/or diarrhoea in pregnant women. We must remember that foetuses and babies are much more vulnerable physically than adults and so, the chemicals found in artificial sweeteners can affect them severely, at times leading to neurological disorders such as autism and ADD. Considering this, it is best if you avoid sweeteners during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition to this, most artificially sweetened products, such as fizzy drinks, contain none of the nutrients the baby or the mother need and so, it is best if one refrains from them altogether. An excellent alternative to artificial sweeteners are natural, unsweetened foods such as fruits which not only add sweetness but also afford many nutrients and other health benefits crucial for the human body, pregnant or not. For example, next time you are having plain yogurt, add some honey or strawberries or bananas instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners for added sweetness. Another alternative would be to make your own fruit smoothies at home using fresh fruits and vegetables — nothing can be healthier than that! Artificial sweeteners can be found in a variety of products including medicines, diet supplements and even toothpaste so make sure you give the labels on these products a read before purchasing. Remember: moderation is the key to a healthy pregnancy.

domestic goddess 7



Add some zing to your life with my recipe for tangy pasta salad which is not only healthy but makes for the perfect side dish at any time of the day. If you are more healthconscious, replace your meals with it and indulge in the earthy flavours of everyday vegetables doused in vinegar and feta cheese. I promise you will love it!

Pasta Salad Arooj Waqar runs a Facebook cooking page called Mona’s Kitchen and aspires to convert her passion for cooking into a career


Method • Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic paste. • Add ketchup, sugar, vinegar, salt and black pepper to the pan and allow the mixture to cook until the sugar melts completely. • Turn the flame off and allow the mixture to cool. • Add the boiled pasta to the pan and toss well. • Add the sliced vegetables to the pan and toss. • Sprinkle oregano on the salad and allow it to cool. • Serve chilled. Your salad is now ready.

Boiled pasta (any Sliced carrots ½ kind) 2 and ½ cups cup

Sliced onion ½ cup

Garlic paste 1 tsp

Sugar 2 tbsp

Ketchup 4 tbsp

Vinegar (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Sliced cucumbers 2/3 cup

Oil 4 tbsp

Oregano 1 and ½ tbsp

Black pepper (to taste)

hottie of the week 8


Status Born

Unknown Lahore, Pakistan



Hareb Farooq



Who is he? You may recall Hareb Farooq from his exquisite magazine spreads and perfect photographs but did you know that this blue-eyed beauty is one of Pakistan’s most sought after male models? Despite having joined the Pakistani modeling fraternity just a few years ago, Hareb has already worked with renowned men’s wear brands such as Cambridge, Amir Adnan and Lawrencepur. He was also selected as Gul Ahmed’s G-Man of the Year in 2012. Initially hesitant about acting, Hareb remained true to modeling for a long time before venturing out onto the silver screens and boy, are we glad that he did! Hareb set our TV screens ablaze with his stellar performances in the hit Geo TV serial Aas and the A-plus drama Baraf and has left us counting the days to his next project. Let’s hope he doesn’t keep us waiting for too long!



Why we love him Considering Hareb’s chiseled cheekbones and well-toned body, we cannot help but love him. His sandy blonde hair just begs to be ruffled and if we add his bronzed complexion to the picture, we will have our very own Pakistani version of the famous Argentine actor Sebastian Rulli. But perhaps the most striking quality about Hareb are his eyes. Deep blue with a mischievous twinkle that makes our hearts flutter, they are unique and have cast a spell across the women of the country. This angel-faced young man has won millions of fans around the world. Hareb is as popular internationally as he is in Pakistan and hopes to walk the ramps at the New York, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks sometime soon.

What you didn’t know about him Hareb is a graduate from the University of Manchester with a degree in Mass Communication. The meaning of the name Hareb is ‘one who runs fast.’

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The Express Tribune hi five - January 19  

The Express Tribune hi five for January 19th 2014

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