Pakistan’s guide to turning personal moments into a public affair

By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: There used to be a time when we were told hard work pays off. That you have to put in efforts to yield results and that being hasty would achieve nothing. Admittedly, the world has become incredibly fast paced but it seems as though we have lost a bit of ourselves in the rat race. In our quest to finding quick fame and earning a quick buck, suddenly all our morals and standards have gone out the window. All is well as long as we become viral and weddings have become the most popular breeding ground for these ideas.

A couple of months ago, a video of a girl, Ayesha, went viral but for reasons unknown. For some, they felt that the dance was silly and even thought she was parodying a frog meme. Others, however, felt the dance which included a semi twerk was inappropriate for a family wedding. Irrespective of what anyone thought, Ayesha shot to fame. Suddenly, the viral dance video got the Pakistani girl modeling contracts, morning show invites and a whole lot of followers on social media.

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A post shared by AYESHA (@oyee_ayesha)

While Ayesha was obviously monetizing off her new found fame, it led to quite a divide. On one hand, her rise to fame irked many because they felt that while most people worked hard to earn, this girl managed to do all that with little to no effort. The same group of people also believed, that people with actual talent weren’t being recognized but a random dance gained so much attention.

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A post shared by Gary Vay-Ner-Chuk (@garyvee)

However, another group saw Ayesha and her viral dance video as an example of quick fame and a quick buck. And so began the trend of people going above and beyond to go viral without really understanding that people didn’t become viral because they planned it, it happened spontaneously. The dance suddenly became a staple for weddings and no matter how silly the dancers looked trying to replicate the dance, they did with the hope that they would become viral.

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A post shared by Khaqan Shahnawaz (@khaqanshahnawaz)

They say bad publicity is good publicity and in the quest to become viral, people began to go above and beyond. And in doing so, all logic and morals went out the window. In a country where we can hardly make our ends meet and basic necessitates seem like a luxury, a video of a family throwing gold coins in the air became the talk of the town. Sure, if you have money and want to spend it anyway you want, that is your choice. But to knowingly be recorded showing such blatant disregard and allowing the video to make rounds on social media, just doesn’t make sense. It angers, frustrates and disappoints. But for those being recorded, at least people are talking about them and that is all that matters, right?

More recently, a video of a young girl, hardly a teenager, spread like wildfire. The girl was dancing provocatively to the item song ‘Saaki Saaki’ while in the background, men twice her age were hooting and cheering her on. Another attempt for a dance to become viral just led to a young girl being exploited and exposed to the dangers of creeps lurking online.  

To add to the mess are the Pakistani photographers who are also on a quest for overnight fame and another viral dance video. They seem to have no sense of privacy as long as their video is shared and reshared and they gain social media followings. And they usually do it at the cost of women whose videos they share only for people to flood the comment sections with abuses, threats and sexualization. What reasonable person would think it is appropriate to share a video of a young girl dancing to an item number unless they had an ulterior agenda?

It seems as though the whole essence of a wedding has been eradicated. It’s no longer about the bride and groom and their big day. It’s now about what can be done to go viral and gain fame. The more shock value, the better the content. The shift in focus from the couple to the fame monger is selfish, to say the least.

As far as the bride and groom are concerned, it seems as though they don’t have the time to enjoy their own weddings because they’re so busy documenting each and every moment to make it go viral! Influencers, especially, are in a rat race to post their pictures, their outfit details and events coverage in hopes of their reels and photos being shared by their loyal followers and getting the likes they need. As of late, the pictures of the events are being uploaded the very same night. What are meant to be intimate moments with their spouses are now being monetized and if not that, then they are being shared to be talked about. How can one worry about uploading their pictures instead of enjoying their event?

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A post shared by Saman Hayat Soomro (@samanhsoomro)

With so many of our questions unanswered and our concerns increasing with each post we see online, it’s safe to say we’re glad shaadi season is over!

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