This sexist behavior needs to stop.
Pakistani dramas are often thought to be portraying “reality” of Pakistan but little do we realize how much sexism and misogyny it keeps encouraging on daily basis. These dramas further fuel the already existing patriarchy in our culture instead of helping to eliminate it. I know some of you are probably rolling their eyes because dramey sirf entertainment ke liye hotey hain, dekh ke bhool jao. No, media influences our choices more than we know and by endorsing patriarchy, they are doing a huge disservice to our Pakistani society. Unfortunately, the more misogynistic a drama is, the higher are the views it gets.
Here are 13 ways in which these dramas have promoted patriarchy:
1. A woman wearing Western clothes is always portrayed in a negative character
She is usually very modern and everything that you wouldn’t want in a bahu – lihaaz, tehzeeb, adab etc.
2. A husband would slap his wife any time and get away with it
Even in dramas like Kankar, whose main idea was that women shouldn’t take physical abuse, had dialogues in which the protagonist affirmed that according to Quran, it is allowed to beat women who are nafarmaan and her explanation for not deserving a beating was that she is farmabardar. You can’t hit another human being no matter what!
3. It’s a norm to marry more than one woman at the same time with no care about actually behaving properly or providing for them
And sometimes the reasons are so ridiculous – she can’t pop out a baby or more specifically, a baby boy! Marrying two women at the same time is such a recurring theme and that’s disturbing for all the right reasons.
4. And then the whole lives of those second, third and fourth wives are consumed with just thinking and talking about their husband
Like they have nothing else that matters to their fully formed minds that function absolutely well.
5. Women can only go out to earn because they have to support their family and not because they just want to be empowered
Hayee bechari ko dekho apne ghar ko sambhalne ke liye kitni mehnat karti hai.
Also, aurtein bechari aur lachaar hi achi lagti hain.
6. Most of the women’s purpose in their lives are to become “good housewives”
How many times have they shown a drama where she has a career? In the ones she does have a career, the focal point of that drama is precisely her career and how she juggles between family life and profession. Why does that needs to be the main plot?
7. A man is never shown cooking, cleaning, changing diapers or helping out around the house chores
This just enforces the stereotype that these duties are for women to perform.
8. Women are expected to tolerate abuse for the sake of “ghar basana”
Dramas like Durr-e-shahwar have their whole storylines based on glorifying this abuse!
9. Men can flirt around but they need seedhi saadhi biwiyan
Consider our beloved Zaroon from Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
10. All a rapist ever did was to commit a small mistake out of “Love”!
11. It is haath se nikal jaana if a woman reads her nikkah naama and objects to some points. Also, in that case, it is okay for parents to forcefully marry her.
Yes, I am talking about “Zid”.
12. Boys will be boys. Men will be men.
This idea is there in God knows how many dramas. Whatever they do can be forgiven and forgotten. They can always repent.
13. A woman is always supposed to be dependent on a man
Without mard ka sahara, her life is incomplete. Even if the marriage is abusive, she is expected to put up with it. If not for herself, then for her kids. Consider Digest Writer and Vasl as an example. These two dramas would have been so good if the women had, in the end, decided to live on their own.
I don’t mean to say that every drama promotes patriarchy but most of them do! I wish we had more dramas that encouraged equality of genders.
Cover image via: Hum Network Limited