Feminine Subjects and the Emasculated State: Performances of Gender in Pakistan's Red Mosque Movement

TitleFeminine Subjects and the Emasculated State: Performances of Gender in Pakistan's Red Mosque Movement
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsShaikh, Khanum
JournalFeminist Formations
Volume29
Issue2
Pagination69 - 91
Date Published2017///Summer
Abstract

This case study focuses on women in Pakistan's Red Mosque movement to illuminate the contradictory ways that gender was deployed to serve the goals of the larger movement. In this paper, I analyze the local performances and strategies through which women and girls in the Red Mosque movement 1) articulate and enact a bold and public political subjectivity that defies traditional constructions of femininity in Pakistan and 2) issue harsh critiques of the Pakistani state as emasculated in and through its role as an ally of the US-led War on Terror. My analysis reveals the narrative strategies through which women in this group link their confrontational and "unfeminine" agitations to the failures of the patriarchal state to protect its vulnerable populations from foreign political and cultural encroachments. These contradictory gendered deployments, I suggest, played a key role in amplifying this group's visibility both within and beyond Pakistan.

Short TitleFeminist Formations