Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

The image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media. (Photo courtesy: UN Women)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At this year’s Pantene Bridal Couture Week, the king of putting on a show, Ali Xeeshan, used his platform to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of child marriages in Pakistan.
Hand in hand with UN Women, Ali’s finale had a young, school-aged girl dressed in a school uniform outfitted with bridal trappings, like borders and embroidery, walk the ramp. Adorned in the traditional jewels that, for generations, have marked one as a bride and with henna-painted hands, the image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media.
Last year, Ali used his platform at bridal week to highlight the issue of forced marriage in Pakistan. This year, the tackling of the issue comes from the lack of improvement in the circumstances surrounding child marriage in Pakistan, even when there are countless organizations and groups fighting to change laws regarding it.
According to the UN Women’s official press release on the collaboration, Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) sets the legal age of marriage as 16 for women and 18 for men, but it is still estimated that more than 20 percent of women are married off before the age of 18 and three percent overall do not even cross the age of 15 before they get married. There have been efforts to increase the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18 for women across the nation, but this has faced criticism and resistance.
Jamshed Kazi, country representative for UN Women Pakistan, said: “It’s astounding how women aren’t allowed to drive or vote before the age of 18 and at the same time, they’re forced into this lifelong commitment way before they reach that age.”
The show was followed up by UN Women’s website directing people to head to www.thebridaluniform.com and urging those stopping by to learn more and sign a petition urging Pakistan’s Parliament to push the issue and have the marriage age for women to be upped to 18.
Proceeds from Ali Xeeshan’s collection will be donated to Pirbhat Women’s Development Society and Sujag Sansar, organizations striving to end violence against women and working against child marriages in Pakistan.


Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

Updated 21 October 2018
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Gigi Hadid hits back at paparazzi ‘stalking’ as photographer threatens legal action

DUBAI: US-Palestinian celebrity model Gigi Hadid is hitting back at a paparazzo who she says threatened her with legal action over a photo she posted on Instagram.

The model took to the social media platform over the weekend to reveal that she is being “legally pursued” for reposting a street style photo taken by a paparazzo, a snap which she has since removed from her social media feed.

“The photo is by a paparazzi and is of me on the street outside an event last week,” the 23-year-old told her 43.8 million followers. “I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job,” Hadid wrote.
“These people make money off us every day, legally stalking us day in, day out,” she continued.
“It is not spoken about enough the mental/emotional toll that this kind of pressure has on people, days I (and countless others) have stayed inside because I don’t want my photo taken or to have that attention/suffocation while just trying to live as normally as possible,” the model added.

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Hadid went on to reveal the dangerous position some paparazzi put celebrities in on a daily basis.
“They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo (I and many people I know have gotten in car accidents in cabs/car services because of paparazzi) and it seems that they can never get enough,” she wrote.
In the post, Hadid wrote that she found the uncredited image on Twitter and reposted in on Instagram, adding that she “had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos.
“If the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give you credit,” she added.
“To the paparazzi, I understand that this is how you make your living, and I respect that this is something I must accept with my job. But there is a line. We are human beings, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to engage with you because of the resentment I feel for the negative parts of these experiences.”
Hadid’s statement garnered support from celebrities and models alike, with reality star Khloe Kardashian sharing her own experience in the comments section.

“I was sued for hundreds of thousands for posting a picture of myself. I don’t understand how it’s right that they literally stalk us and taunt us and they are allowed to sue us for posting our own photo,” she wrote.

Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowksi Candice Swanepoel and Olivia Culpo also left messages of support on the Instagram post, which had more than one million likes as of Sunday afternoon.