"What will people say?": An Autoethnographic Look into Desi Women, Voice-Finding, and Not Living for Others



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How can we explain the transformation of misogynistic ideals into violence against Pakistani women when Pakistani culture has hoped for the emergence of modernity? National and international news media from Pakistan and America reveals that sexual violence against Pakistani women is rampant. However, there is little scholarship on these issues of agency and sexual violence and Desi women. Therefore, I wished to explore what occurs when these women are denied modernity and subjected to violence despite the apparent progression of society. The sources that are explored in this autoethnographic work consist of sociological and journalistic sources, literary narratives, and personal anecdotes that will all work together to bring different perspectives. Firstly, the sociological and journalistic sources consist of news stories, which serve to establish a social and contemporary view for a greater understanding of violence against Pakistani women today. Secondly, the literary narratives include creative nonfiction and poetry, which provide insight into the personal experiences of the women from a subjective point of view, as well as some pre-existing literature that work to inform our understanding of how culture shapes violence and misogyny. Finally, there are my personal anecdotes that bridge the gap that sociological analysis can create between the researcher and their work or the reader and the data provided. Until we identify and understand the cultural logic that makes subjecting women to these horrors thinkable and normalized, whether or not they conform to the plans and expectations that others have for them, we can't protect these women.