When Karachi-based dhaba-frequenter Sadia Khatri posted a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #girlsatdhabas, someone suggested she start a series.
Soon, women from different parts of South Asia began sending in their selfies by direct submission, or by hashtagging them #girlsatdhabas on Twitter and Instagram.
Khatri's motivation to start the hashtag was to reclaim dhabas as a safe space for women. Like several other public spaces, they are typically frequented by men or by women accompanied by men.
"The idea was to reappear on the streets. Access to public spaces is restricted by class and gender primarily. Dhabas are just one place," Khatri told BuzzFeed in an email.
"We'd like to see more women on the streets and in spaces we are not traditionally thought to occupy. It's not just what spaces we occupy but how we occupy them, and social media is also an extension of that public space," she further said.
Moreover, Khatri said the reason women feel discouraged to hit the dhabas also has to do with the fact that they don't usually see other women there.
The curators of Girls At Dhabas say one of the main goals feminists advocate for is freedom of mobility, and an initiative like this takes a step towards that by doing the groundwork the theory aims for.
"We can’t end patriarchy and capitalism overnight, but we can make dents, even if within our small, niche circles," says the curator.
The blog has so far featured photos mostly from women in Lahore and Karachi, from women travelling up northern Pakistan, and from those who've heard about it on Facebook or from friends.
Girls At Dhabas is mainly a blog for women living in South Asia but submissions from every region are welcome.
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