"An Imbecile in conversation with a God!"

For those who endure it, slut shaming is hard to conceptualize in a few words. From cold stares, and fixated criticism to blatant name-calling, slut-shaming privileges patriarchal-heteronormative control and domesticity over our bodies and minds. It tries to put us "in our proper places"- places that are designated and assigned by those in power. While it overtly happens in the streets- something we may have become immune to in the context of Pakistan- more slut-shaming happens in our private spaces, often at the hands of our seemingly loved ones. In that, the trajectory of slut-shaming isn't that different from rape: it doesn't just happen out of malicious impulse, rather it is embedded in pre-mediated attempts to trim our wings and cage us, which may result in inducing trauma to the sufferer.

Slut-shaming isn't that different from rape: it doesn't just happen out of malicious impulse, rather it is embedded in pre-mediated attempts to trim our wings and cage us, which may result in inducing trauma to the sufferer.

The person who shames us is often someone we have difficulty denying our love to, simply because we are burdened with love for them. It is one of those contradictions we must come to terms with in our private relationships, which are based in feudal leanings. To tell a male, elderly family member, who stares at our breasts, to keep his gaze off our bodies is disrespectful; to tell an aunt that her malignant comments are unwelcome is deemed inappropriate. Yet, they dampen our esteem in passing, as if the comments and gazes leveled at us bear no consequences to our conscience, to the lives we choose to live. In their roles, they press their love on us, and feel entitled in telling us how to feel, how to respond to stimuli, how to be. Slut-shaming profits from and gains locus in a culture that promotes not only mental subservience to norms established by men in power, but also fosters physical adherence to patriarchal constructs. It says to its sexual/gender minorities: "clean your mind, lower your gaze and slow your breathing because your chest must not throb". Preferring stooped postures over assertiveness, it tells us we invite those stares and comments.

To defeat slut-shaming, you have to endorse shame as shame is, vulnerable and histrionic, and disrobe it to yield the commonness between yourself and it. Here's to poetic-versing the shame out.

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Imbecile In Conversation With a God

She called me Imbecile three times:

(You are an Imbecile! You are an Imbecile! You are an Imbecile!)

Furled my innocence to throw out of the window,
tore my garb off my body
and cut a thousand holed tent out of it,
then hung it on the bamboo for her crows to rest in;

She threw sewage waste on my face to hide my presence,
put burning coal on my palms to deplete my sins,
lashed and whipped me hundred times to do me good;

She exposed my breasts for loafers to feed at,
shucked my clitoris and stuffed it with hessian of poison,
pecked at my organs with needles soaked in piss-dung;

She led me to believe in her
Supreme Beneficence.

But I survived.
I survived to feed her crows.

Poem: Imbecile in conversation with a god from S Janjua on Vimeo.

Image: Lalla Essaydi

Sana Janjua

Sana Janjua

Sana Janjua is a poet, playwright, actor and director who was born in Lahore, and moved to Canada in 2002. She is a Kathak dance student. She is also the Initiator, a Founding Member, and the President of Surrey Muse."


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