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20 Aug

Does this image promote #rapeculture?

Scandal of the day: this image from the Saira Shakira for Crimson campaign (and a few other pictures) have been received with shock, dismay and a lot of condemnation for promoting rape culture. Here’s my two pennies on the subject and they may not be what you want to read:



  1. Generally speaking, women being harassed don’t just stand there with a smile on their face. In fact they tend not to smile at all and nothing in the picture suggests that she is upset or trapped in a space that she is unable to break out of.
  2. The men definitely are tharki looking and they absolutely do not serve the purpose of appearing to be suave admirers (as I think was the intention of this shoot). The brief that came with this shoot was ‘Head Turner’ and well, no one wants to turn those kind of heads. Would people have reacted like this if the men were replaced by Fawad Khan, smiling at Sanam Saeed in admiration? I think not.
  3. Harassment is a very serious allegation and literally means ‘aggressive pressure’ and ‘intimidation’. The model looks neither intimidated nor under any aggressive pressure. Have we become intolerant to harmless flirtation or admiration from the opposite sex because that’s not what we say or project.

I agree that there are fashion shoots that do cross the line of decency or ethics and morals but this is not one of them. The biggest mistake Saira Shakira may have made here is in the casting of these men. They could have been less lecherous-looking and more civilized, which then would not have been a problem.

Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.