Feminist Issues presented in short story The Tallest Woman

Feminist movement is divided in three waves; first wave feminist movement, second wave feminist movement and third wave feminist movement. All three waves of feminist movements worked for the female rights, right to vote, gender equality, sexual harassment and power relations. Maham Javaid presented few feminist issues that prevailing in Pakistani society in her short story “The Tallest Woman”. Feminist issues that presented in short story are as following.

Marriage is an important issue especially for women in Pakistan. In this short story the marriage is main issue in beginning of the story that Zainab becomes taller and taller day by day and her mother was worry about her, she said, “What kind of man will agree to marry a woman that taller than himself?” and when become a giantess her mother know, “no sane man would ask for the hand of a giantess”.

Domestic exploitation is major issue in many societies, mostly, male exploit the female as generally father or husband exploit his daughters or wife but in this story a mother exploits her daughter whether she did for her well-being, it is in ignorance but it exploiting Zainab. Actually her mother did each and every trick to control her growth, by using bricks at her feet, banning sugar and exercise for Zainab. She was disturbed by bricks when touch with her foot at night, due to this her sleep was also disturbed.

Identity is also issue in this story; Zainab was considered non-human that people said her Diyoni, Zaraffa and Jin ki bachi. Diyoni a non-human species, Zaraffa is one animal and Jin is also a non-human species. All these nicknames were given to Zainab which shows her a non-human or other species. She has no identity as human.

Zainab was also exploited by the society. She was warned by young peoples of the town and then assaulted by young peoples. She was locked in the last house on the last street in the town for years. When she was assaulted they complaint to Mullah Shakir a clergyman, who recited the verse of modesty by seeing direct in the eyes of Zainab and told to her mother that she keep eye on her jawan (young) daughter. Then they complaint to local leader whose son was also one of them, he questioned that why a young girl found alone along the canal with five men?

Most important issue in feminist point of view is sexual harassment, which is also presented in this short story. Zainab nose was needed to stitch for that reason, she and her mother visited hospital and a young doctor behaved with kindness to Zainab. He sent her mother to outside the room and stitches her nose and after stitching and putting on soothing balm on her face, he asked her to undress and show off her huge and beautiful figure for that he is very curious, so that she could repay him for his kindness. When he tried to touch her, she took him away with one hand and slapped with other hand. Doctor said, “You giant bitch, how dare you push a doctor? I stitched your nose and fixed your ugly face and this is how you repay me?” and Zainab replied, “You dirty man, you touched me first”. Sexual harassment by the doctors is common in Pakistan. Time to time this type of news found in newspapers.

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