Fahmida Riaz Response (2)


I drew this picture in response to the theme of menstruation as impure in Fahmida Riaz’s poetry. I drew this out of makeup, partially to recognize the privilege that I have in choosing how I look everyday, and not facing serious backlash for it, and because we discussed in class how makeup can be a form of hijab, covering. In my picture, I have a woman, surrounded by blood and barbed wire, to represent how much menstruation can be isolating, as “a woman impure [is] imprisoned by her flowing blood”. In her poem, “Chadur and Diwari”, Riaz claims that the men calling women impure should have to cover themselves, and says that their white beards are covered in blood, keeping with the theme of impurity. In “Akleema”, she points out that the only differences between man and woman are physical, yet they have such vast ramifications and again lead to imprisonment in a woman’s body. It’s really easy to connect to Riaz’s poetry, as throughout the world women are shamed for things they have no control over or things that aren’t bad. Menstruation is an incredible and natural thing that allows for childbirth! Elsewhere, we are shamed for our clothing, sex lives, and many other “offenses”. Riaz’s poetry powerfully asks that we stop shaming women.

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