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Word Count: 1,162
Unveiling the Sacred Reading the Gendered Female Body in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction is not simply a study project undertaken to fulfill the requirements of a degree nor is it a quest for the satisfaction of some academic curiosity rather it is a very personal yet critical engagement with the representation of the female body in Pakistani literary discourse It is an engagement born out of the experiences of growing up physically mentally emotionally and professionally in a developing country where my existence as a woman is on one hand valorized as the symbol of piety purity love and honor while at the same time it is demeaned shamelessly defiled and tortured in the name of morality tradition and religion It is born out of the experiences of walking down the streets while being fully clothedcovered and yet made to feel I am walking naked reduced to the sum of my body parts- breasts hips and vagina - by the leering hungry eyes of the men around me It is born out of the constant professional struggle to prove that even if a woman I am as intelligent as capable and as qualified if not more as my male colleagues while having to juggle career and family at the same time But more importantly this project results from the realization of an agency and strength to stand against this discrimination sexism or bodily abuse that draws its inspiration from a long tradition of sacrifices resistance and subversion overt as well as covert of women who as poets writers mothers wives political activists teachers doctors academics journalists and workers have in their own ways stood against patriarchal hegemony It symbolizes the effort to make sense of my identity as a middle-class professional Pakistani woman which is being continuously reshaped by cultural religious and political discourses local as well as internationalHowever personal this agenda though I am by no means alone in these efforts
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