Generation seems to be stuck amidst another controversy. The brand is known for its unique cuts, prints and its timeless approach towards fashion. However, yesterday while hosting a farewell event for its employees, Generation used the image of a Hindu deity in one of its “artsy” posters. After the story was posted, many Pakistanis were upset and reasonably so.
The Controversy Isn’t That Big Of A Deal, Right?
While many might argue that this controversy isn’t such a big deal, I’d like to disagree. Using religious symbols in a laissez-faire way isn’t only disrespectful to the sentiments of minorities living in Pakistan but it also highlights how we’re ignorant towards the ‘other’. Be it any religion, race or gender, etc. That we as a society are only concerned about things when we are wronged, when our sentiments are hurt. When it comes to others, we tend to turn a blind eye and brush it under the rug.
Let’s End Religious Tokenism
It’s not that difficult to understand that religious symbols, relics, attire, etc. aren’t there to fit your ‘aesthetic’. There is sacredness attached to them and it’s important that we respect them, instead of using them as ‘accents’. We’ve seen time and time again that brands use religious symbols, texts, etc. to improve their overall brand recall or just to get people talking because let’s be honest, any publicity is good publicity. Therefore, brands and most of their consumers don’t take into account the ideological meaning behind the symbols and use them as an accessory to elevate their look.
However, I think it’s time we leave religious tokenism in the past. We are very vocal about rising Islamophobia in the West but we don’t call out discrimination when it’s on our turf. We as a nation can only move forward if we talk about difficult things and accept our mistakes, and moreover, learn from them as well.
Generation is a brand that claims to be inclusive, and for the most part, we can see that in their campaigns and social media posts. However, while we’d like to assume that there was no malice behind the poster, it is difficult to imagine why anyone thought it would be a good idea to do that.
Minorities in Pakistan are already underrepresented and at constant risk of harm. When we pull gimmicks like this we’re only marginalizing them further instead of including them in our communities. After being called out towards their insensitive approach Generation was swift to apologize and issued this statement on their social media:
The Awaam Is Not Happy
However, the Pakistani awaam is still upset and called them out on it.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I believe it’s important to call out injustice when it happens and educate the masses on how to be more tolerant and respectful towards others. We need to create safe spaces for everyone so that we as a society can progress and unite. It’s far too late to be ignorant. Its 2021 people, we’ve lived through a pandemic, let’s try and be more considerate towards others.
Areesha Khan harbours a burning passion for writing. This is what she has to say for herself:
I’m your average Pakistani Millennial who loves binge watching trash-TV. When I can, I try to widen my horizons and watch profound works of cinematography as well. In the wild, I can be found sniffing my weathered paperbacks. I regularly obsess over true crime (much to the chagrin of my friends) and love discussing it unprompted. I’m currently working on my undergrad and would love to have a profession in print media.
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