All The Q’s & A’s: Relationship Edition

Image/Art: Gemma Tickle Set Design

It’s hilarious – ha ha ha! – how curious and conflicted people can be over my relationship status and sexuality, especially in liberal art spaces like the comedy community. I mean, I get it. I’m already a confusing creature because I’m a woman. My brown skin makes me an incomprehensible exotic question mark. And I don’t openly discuss or social-media-document my relationship with my partner out of respect for my own ideas of privacy and individuality. So I really throw people off in their quest to make sense of me within their understanding.

But in order to satisfy curiosity and save myself future trouble, here are all the answers to all the questions I’ve been asked lately about my relationship status:

“What does your husband do?” Continue reading “All The Q’s & A’s: Relationship Edition”

Things That Aren’t Better Left Undiscussed: Domestic Violence

parents fighting, kid covering ears, domestic violence, parents yelling

We share links about it, we say its wrong. We speak about it, and often in a condescending way, in a way that is separate from us, and afflicting other human beings. But do we allow ourselves to contemplate what forms of domestic violence may or may not have touched us? We like to keep our image above these things, separate and untouched by these negative behaviors.

Domestic violence isn’t limited to one human being physically hitting another human being. It can be shouting at the top of your lungs. It can be icing someone out. It can be disrespectful mannerisms and statements that become habitual ways of (mis)communicating anger and aggression. Name-calling, threatening, ultimatums. Domestic violence can be breaking things, destroying what you have built.

One of the reasons it is statistically shown that someone who experiences domestic violence in their household is more likely to commit domestic violence, is because…  Continue reading “Things That Aren’t Better Left Undiscussed: Domestic Violence”

Oh, Abu Eesa: An Apology Letter on Your Behalf

Image via

Dear Abu Eesa,

My name is Nida Chowdhry. I only recently learned of you on March 8th, 2014, due to some jokes you made on and about International Women’s Day on Twitter and Facebook, as well as the subsequent explanations and apologies that you furnished on those same mediums.

It seems to me that you’re having a little PR problem. Lucky for you, one of my only transferable skills is writing, so I’ve taken the time to use my services to craft an apology letter (you seem to be having trouble writing one that is genuine). In place of the fapologies (fake apologies), here is one you can feel free to use:

Dear Everyone on the Internet that Has Seen My Posts Between March 8th and Whenever HR over at Al-Maghrib Institute finally asks me to stop:  Continue reading “Oh, Abu Eesa: An Apology Letter on Your Behalf”

Recognizing and Challenging the Male Gaze

tina fey daisy 30 rock male gaze
Classic Hazel moment from 30 Rock.

We are foolish to perpetuate the myth that the male gaze can be averted with the way that we dress. The male gaze is taught to all genders alike. It’s an oppressive system of looking and objectifying, of possessing and othering, of usurping the right to speak, intellectualize, and decide on her behalf. A woman can live inside a house with blackened windows, or be nude at the beach – she is still seen by, owned by, controlled and affected by, framed by the male gaze.

The way a woman dresses is not what is going to change the oppression of the male gaze. The oppression of the male gaze must be challenged as a system. The male gaze is taught from an early age. It’s taught and perpetuated in every institution and form of media, art and literature. It is taught with Quran and Bible in hand.  Continue reading “Recognizing and Challenging the Male Gaze”

How I became a ‘Ramadan Muslim’


‘Ramadan Muslim’ – it’s a condescending, derogatory term used to refer to Muslims who ‘all of a sudden’, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ‘show up’ to attend the mosque for every Taraweeh prayer, stop cussing/smoking/drinking/clubbing/pre-marital sexing, pray all of their five prayers, and fast from sunrise until sunset ‘religiously’.

I grew up playing at the local mosque in the hour leading up to Mughrib prayer while my dad volunteered and socialized. I attended an Islamic School where our classroom windows had a view of the mosque. I’ve attended jumuah prayer for an overwhelming majority of the Fridays of my life. I began volunteering and organizing around the mosque in my early teenage years, and continued well throughout high school, college, and even after. The mosque has been a constant space in my existence since before my first memories, and up until about 3-4 years ago.

I am now/have been for quite a while, for lack of a better term, a ‘Ramadan Muslim’, if I can call myself even that. My mosque-going has dwindled down to special occasions such as weddings and a few days in Ramadan (give or take, mostly take).

Continue reading “How I became a ‘Ramadan Muslim’”