Published: Bringing Forth the Male Gaze in ‘Preeto and Other Stories’ (PopMatters)

My latest book review is of an anthology translated from Urdu to English, edited by Dr Rakhshanda Jalil. Preeto and Other Stories comprises of 13 short stories written by male Urdu writers and examining the male gaze in contemporary Urdu fiction. Through these short stories about women, we see how male Urdu writers have viewed women and their place in society. I've often said and written how many male writers — both in the East and in the West — struggle to depict women well in fiction. It's hard enough for women writers to do justice to all that is unsaid

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2018: A Year in Writing

Here is my annual roundup of freelance and book writing highs, lows, and other projects in 2018. I also share a list of 12 writing-related essays by other writers that kept me inspired me each month of the year. And, of course, some writing goals for 2019. Here's wishing you all a happy and productive writing year in 2019. Stay tuned for updates and please do share your own goals and progress (here or connect with me on social media).

Published: What Commands Your Behaviors? ‘On Rule Makers, Rule Breakers’ (PopMatters)

Gelfand's thesis is that a culture is shaped, primarily, by its perceptions of internal or external threat. The greater the sense of threat, the tighter it gets with rules and norms and vice versa. Threat-driven tight cultures seek order and unity and do not allow for the ambiguities or risk-taking that loose cultures revel in. Throughout, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, Gelfand gives many examples — both historical and contemporary — to prove how the customs that have shaped worldviews, behaviors, identities, and personal lives in any particular culture, have originated from underlying perceptions of threat. Whether a culture embraces diversity or division, its tolerance for norms deviation or permissiveness depends largely on whether it's a rule-making tight culture or a rule-breaking loose culture. (And within any given culture type there will also always be pockets of the opposite type.)