• Tuesday, Aug 04, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:40 pm

A day in her shoes

  • Published at 04:19 pm July 6th, 2019
Shabash 1

Ms shabash takes on sexual harassment

Four years have passed since at least 20 women were sexually harassed during Pohela Boishakh celebrations at Dhaka University’s (DU’s) Teacher Student Centre (TSC) on April 14, 2015.  While the sordid memory is dredged up ahead of the Bangla New Year every year, there has been no progress in the trial of the case filed over the incident. The Ain o Shalish Kendro puts the number of reported rapes in 2019 between January and May at 479. The actual number of incidents is likely to be much higher, as the majority of cases go unreported. Needless to say, our country has a pretty bleak track record when it comes to protecting the fairer sex.

There have been many opinions aired on how to tackle such a problem. There has also been tremendous pushback, as seen in the case of the madrasa student Nudrat, who was immolated for protesting rape. The protests continue in various forms – through articles and music, and art and awareness videos. 

Ms Shabash, the mango-powered super hero who made her Mighty Punch debut on Women’s Day in 2015, has been fighting the patriarchy alongside all the local activists since the very first issue. After taking on the fairness industry and a jealous stalker, she turns her gimlet gaze on sexual harassment. 

Issue #3 opens with Shabnam Sharif, the ‘real-life’ avatar of Ms Shabash, participating in the alpona painting on the eve of the Pohela Boishakh with her friends. She even slips away to switch to her alter-ego and speed things along in secret. As the new year dawns, she gets into celebration gear and joins her friends and colleagues at Ramna. Unbeknownst to them, a small gang of perverts spots the group and follows them around throughout the day. Things come to a boil just when the crowd is at its thickest, and the gang, blowing vuvuzelas to distract attention, swoop in to attack what they think are their hapless victims. To find out how it all goes down, you’ll have to check out the issue yourself.

What is impressive about Samir Asran Rahman’s story is the sensitive way in which he presented the story. There are light moments that don’t take away from the gravity of the situation, but it is not a heavy read. He creates a supportive, empathetic feminist ally in Shabnam’s male best friend, showing the contrast between toxic masculinity, and a strong, sensitive male who doesn’t lead with his ego. The comic makes it clear that the problem is far more complex than one group of miscreants acting out in one isolated event. The beautiful artwork by Asifur Rahman, which includes what is arguably the best Ms Shabash cover so far, brings the story to life. 

At a time when young people are tired of heavy-handed moral and ethical lectures, comics like Ms Shabash, which deal with serious issues in a way that is more accessible and palatable are just the ticket. Ms Shabash #3, which has been sponsored by bbq Bangladesh, Country Natural and Eon Foods Limited, is now available at bbq Bangladesh restaurants, Meena Bazar outlets, PBS bookstore and rokomari.com

    


    


242
237
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail