Minahil Malik was targeted with leaked photos but her support system’s protection is inspiring
With millions of followers on TikTok and thousands more on Instagram, Minahil Malik is no stranger to social media fame. Supposedly only 17 years old, she has created a space for herself in a very short time.
Recently TikTok star Minahil Malik saw photos of herself leaked online leading to a lot of distress for the social media star
There are videos circulating where she is alleged to have accepted that the leaked photos were hers, this has only caused for more fuel to the fire. Minahil is also alleged to have made an apology video where she was seen in tears trying to both apologize as well as ask people to stop the hate, the trolling, and the blackmail. There is no proof if the alleged apology video is actually the one about this incident or if it’s an out-of-context video as other such videos have also been circulating about her, after the leaks.
It is being said that an ex had leaked the videos, although, this is not confirmed yet.
However, more than the tragedy of invasion of her privacy what’s come as a very interesting phenomenon is the unexpected reaction shown by people regarding Minahil Malik and her leaked photos
Before we dive into the various aspects of the reactions, it’s important to note that the reactions we’ll be examining are from three different parties; (1) friends of Minahil, (2) social media in general and (3) Minahil herself. The reason we’re dividing reactions into these three parts is because the way people have reacted to these leaks is not typical of how things have unraveled for famous women in the past. Therefore, the way reactions for Minahil have evolved require a little bit of examination in order to understand if this evolution is a positive journey in our collective understanding of women’s agency and their space in the online world or if this was just a fluke.
So let’s dive in.
Firstly, friends of Minahil Malik have reacted to the leaked photos in an overwhelming display of support
Her close friend and rumored boyfriend, fellow TikToker star Haris Ali, is supporting her during this time.
Haris Ali posted multiple videos of the two on TikTok with captions such as “no one will break you”, “be strong”, and my personal favorite – “you are a liquid gold, stay calm”.
Many of their fans have noticed this and thanked Haris for being sympathetic and caring during this time
The reason people have found Haris’ reaction to be such a breath of fresh air is because it’s not common to see this kind of support being shown in a public manner in Pakistan, by men. In a society that generally shuns and looks down upon Public Display of Affection, especially for men, the support that Haris is showing for Minahil is definitely unique, it is also loud and a strong example of how the modern young man may actually be more evolved.
A lot of women’s worth is also attached to their being marriageable and if they do something that goes against the limitations set for them by society, like expressing their sexuality in a public manner, they are deemed as not somebody that men can find “appropriate” to marry. Our society expects women to not be sexual beings and anyone who embraces her sexuality is slut shamed (remember Qandeel Baloch?). For Haris to stand up to his alleged girlfriend at a time that would be very terse for them is a display of modern masculinity that reveals a secure man.
Other friends of Minahil Malik also spoke up in her support after her leaked photos circulated
TikTok stars like Dolly, Sharjeel Awish and Shahzaib have been putting up TikToks featuring Minahil ever since the leaks. They’ve been showing their support for her by what appears to be their way fo flooding TikTok with positive videos of Minahil, instead of the negative reactions by some incels.
Now, while one expects friends to react in support when something like this happens but there is more at play in this particular incident than just the existence of friendship. Because in the past, in the face of massive public onslaught many a friends have had to stay quiet for fear of being dragged into the court of public opinion. Women like Rabi Peerzada are proof of having been left alone by any vocal friends they may have had during a time of distress.
So why are Minahil’s friends vocally supporting her? The answer probably lies with the fact that the platform they all primarily exist on is one where community runs superior. The thing is, TikTok has a very strong community, clearly. It has been known to help many marginalized people find their voice and a safe space to express themselves. It’s inclusive – age, race, appearance, isn’t important as it is on other social media platforms such as, let’s say, Instagram. Because of the strong, positive emphasis on communal support that TikTok reinforces in its ecosystem, these TikTok stars understand that the only way to keep someone afloat at a time of distress is to show how supportive the community is.
Help from her close friends as well as the majority of fans is also imperative to Minahil’s mental health. It needs to be clear that people don’t hate her, that her future isn’t ruined based on someone violating her privacy. It’s great to see how clearly her friends say that they stand with her. For young people, parents tell them to not be friends with people who don’t have a “good reputation” but seeing that these kids (and adults) aren’t confined to what definition of a “good person” is by society’s rules, is refreshing, to say the least.
The general public on social media has also given a surprisingly humane reaction to the whole situation
What the heck is wrong with Us?
Yes, she did wrong but what if she attempts suicide?
Whoever Leaked her Data:- man you the biggest loser , Cheapest person! At least look at her, she was just a kid!
I AM SORRY #MINAHILMALIK FOR THE SOCIETY WE HAVE
— Baseerat Fatima (@oye_daktar) July 13, 2020
My Request to FIA Director or all Intelligence Agencies or CEO Secret Services to plz work on this case. Who is the criminal, who demolish her dignity. Criminals are targeting youth and girls@ArifAlvi@ImranKhanPTI@OfficialDGISPR@cybercrimefia@UsmanAKBuzdar#Minahilmalik
— Raja Sultan (@Raja_Muj_244) July 13, 2020
— 💞 (@chalak0oo) July 13, 2020
— Shahzad Akbar (@Shahzad20859265) July 12, 2020
Just remember this. If the other person has no shame then we can't be same. It's their deed. And we have to focus on ours. We're only responsible of our deeds.
And if we keeps ones secret, Allah will keep ours and We'll get rewarded on the day of judgement. ❤️ #MinahilMalik pic.twitter.com/AkK36tVSCV
— A B D U L L A H 🔥 (@iAbdulShakeel) July 13, 2020
Even other TikTokers, who aren’t necessarily related to Minahil, or her friends circle have been voicing their support for her
It’s so refreshing to see people stand up for her and support her during this difficult time. This reaction is definitely a marked improvement, overall, and an evolution in the positive direction from the way Rabi Peerzada was bullied to such an extent that she had to completely change her way of life to be known for something other than her one leaked videos. The drastic difference in response to Minahil’s scandal could be due to various reasons.
Her age, for one, is a definite factor in how people may have reacted in a more protective manner toward her leaked photos. She’s supposedly only 17 years old. That by all standards, is a minor. This may be as to why many people are showing their support, and understanding that she was young, that it was indeed a mistake or lack of judgement on her part in even taking those photos.
Another reason, one that makes me hopeful is the possibility that society might actually have evolved. From the time of Qandeel Baloch who was brutally murdered by her brother four years ago due to the “shame” that she brought, we’ve definitely come a long way. With Aurat March having become a national conversation and feminism not just a niche, elite topic of discussion, society has definitely moved on. Gen Z, people born after 1995, the generation to which Minahil belongs in her own words, is also more evolved. They’re growing up at a time of extreme connectivity around the world, extreme information overload and progressive ideas being much more common. So it’s not completely unexpected that the majority of social media is not interested in making a spectacle out of her leaked photos. The older people? The vocal Millenials and Gen X-ers aren’t even as commonly on TikTok yet so that’s also another aspect to why she may be safe from the general public ridicule.
Of course there are some incel sections of social media that just don’t get it
Ths is new trend these days.
Inappropriate pics/vids of tiktokers get leaked, & thy bcom stars. Wow. Its way of grabing attention simple. She clicked pic by herself, its visible. Now she is playing victim.
Currency of internt is ATTENTION, not likes/dislikes.#minahilmalik
— Tauqeer Shah (@SydTauqeerShah) July 12, 2020
I Have No Sympathy For These #RabiPirzada Kinda Girls,All I Want To Urge People Not To Share Any Kinda Nudity, Coz Jese Sadqa e Jariyah Hamesha Jaari Rehta Hai Wese Hi Ye Gunah Bhi Jaari Rehta Hai,Dekhenge sb Gunah Tumhy b Milta Rhega,To Muft Main Gunahgar Mat Bano #MinahilMalik pic.twitter.com/HbxbGYM3of
— Qureshy Saab (@qureshysaab_) July 12, 2020
The final party in our essay whose reaction the leaks we set out to examine is Minahil Malik herself
Minahil is alleged to have put out an apology video, as mentioned earlier. There is a video circulating where she says she is taking tablets and is seen gulping down a bunch of white tablets. Another video shows her crying over what appears to be her saying “mujhe aik ghalti ki kitni saza dein gae?“. Minahil hasn’t commented on these videos and they aren’t available on any of her official accounts, therefore it is safe to assume that these videos could very well be edited out of context.
On her official platforms, Minahil appears to be putting up a strong front and instead of hiding from the incident, she appears to be taking the matter in her stride, taking her own narrative in her hands and putting out videos that voice similar sentiments as her friends.
It’s clear that social dynamics are changing, and we’re here for it
This situation has highlighted how our society is changing, albeit slowly, in the way we respond to these so-called “scandals”. From the honor-killing of Qandeel Baloch, we’ve moved on to supporting those who have been wronged. From Rabi Peerzada to countless other girls who have been tortured over their past mistakes, whether it be by specific people or society in general, it is clear that we are taking a step in the right direction. Whether it is the fact that young people are more evolved to understand the nuances of such a leak or whether TikTok as a platform is cultivating an unprecedented positive community, this is a change that is definitely worth the long, arduous wait.
We sincerely hope and pray Minahil, as well as other victims of infringement of privacy, can find the strength to move on from the extremely traumatic experiences.
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Cover image via: @minahilmalik727 / Instagram