When somebody dares to go against the established norms in a culture, they become an easy target for criticism, judgment, and even death.
Qandeel Baloche had over 500,000 followers on Facebook. She even became one of the top ten Google searches in Pakistan. She became a star because she posted sexually provocative videos and openly expressed her irreverent point of view on her social media accounts. This was a risky move for a Pakistani citizen because she became a voice for all the women who were longing to control their own lives, including their sexuality.
As a result, her youngest brother strangled her to death. It was an attempt to restore honor to the family name, he claimed. But her murder was much more than that; it was a clear message that any woman who dared to break the traditions would face a similar fate.
Qandeel came from a large family. There were seven sisters and six brothers. Her given name was Fouzia. From a young age, Qandeel was determined to make something of herself and make an impact. She often told her mother that she didn’t want to get married because he didn’t like her culture’s definition of a woman’s role in marriage at all.
Her father wasn’t interested in sending his daughters to school, but her mother insisted that all the girls get an education.
Everything changed when the family purchased their first TV. Immediately Qandeel decided that one day she would act and sing.
These open-minded ideas caused her parents to marry her off when she was barely 17. As customary, the man was violent and would beat and torture her relentlessly so she took her infant son and fled to a shelter in a nearby city.
Eventually she ran out of money and had to send her son back to his father who forced Qandeel to renounce his custody forever.
It was after separating from her husband and child that she changed her name and decided to pursue a career in show business. Her family lost touch with her because leaving her husband was dishonorable to them.
A series of unfortunate events led her back home where she was murdered at the age of 26. Did she fulfill her childhood dreams? Did her life pave the way for other women to stand up against religious restrictions that have lasted for centuries? Find out now.