Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stereotyping of Women in Pakistani dramas

Once Quaid –e – Azam has said that:

“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless its women work side by side”

It is clearly evident from words of our Quaid that if any nation wants to develop or to touch the peaks of success, the women of that nation must have to work side by side with men. Not only Quaid-e- Azam but all the great leaders have admitted the feminine strength necessary to build up a nation.
We being Muslims follow the paths described by our religion Islam and live our lives according to Quran and Sunnah. The Quran provides clear cut evidence that a woman is completely equated with man in the sight of ALLAH in terms of her rights and responsibilities. 

“O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord WHO created you from a single soul and from it created its mate (of same kind) and from them twain has spread a multitude of men and women” (Quran 4:1)

It is not the tone of Islam that brands woman as the product of the devil or the seed of evil. Nor does the Quran place man as the dominant lord of woman who has no choice but to surrender to his dominance. It is we who are responsible for mistreating the woman and for projecting and promoting negative image of woman. Arts and literature always reflects the pure situations of the society. What are people thinks of the woman that is portrayed in our early literature and drama.
According to Gerbner in cultivation theory, television among modern media, has acquired such a central place in daily life that it dominates our symbolic environment, substituting its (distorted) message about reality for personal experience and other means of knowing about the world. Television is also described as the ‘cultural arm’ of the established industrial order(which) serves primarily to maintain, stabilize and reinforce rather than to alter, threaten or weaken conventional beliefs and behaviors.

There was a time when our writers emphasis more on portraying women as strong enough to fight with all hurdles in life and they encouraged women in society by creating role of women as strong, confident and educated in dramas. But as the time passes this trend changed and the later writers adopted a trend of showing either women as the most mistreated being on the earth or as the most independent, bold and in short a bad girl who is creating problems for her parents. They try to portray just the WHITE and BLACK of the society. There are no shades of GRAY which constitutes the majority of our women. This trend is very popular now days, whenever I switched on television set whether it is GEO TV, ARY DIGITAL or HUM TV all the productions are of same plots and holding same kind of characters.
First major problem which I noticed is that women who are shown from a rich background are portrayed as very fast, confident, wearing jeans is must, dupatta and shalwar qameez is prohibited for the ones who are shown rich, having all sensibilities of spending independent life. Now the thing writers usually do with this kind of characters that they are shown as the VAMP like in drama serial DAAM, PARSA on Hum TV and HAAL E DIL on ARY Digital. Other type that is portrayed is of women who are very compromising, silently facing all troubles, do not speaking up for their rights and are simply passive in nature. Like SARAH in drama serial DORAHA, NADIA of drama serial DIYA JALAY, not only this but also MERI ZAAT ZARRA E BENISHAN.
Another problem is that these dramas are creating stereotype women of upper and lower class. Upper class women are shown very sophisticated, sensible, highly educated and well mannered. The lower class is merely portrayed as uneducated, vamp attitudes, connected with wrong deeds. A great example of this is the drama serial YH ZINDAGI HA on GEO TV. It is portraying the lower class as these women are fighting all the time, throwing shoes on each other, cursing each other in slang language. This is creating far more differences among the lower and upper class of the society and creating very bad and negative impact of the middle and lower class.
After thinking a lot, I came to a conclusion that our media is portraying a negative and a passive image of our women. One woman is shown negative and the other is passive in character. Negative one doing wrong with the passive one and the passive one is facing all troubles with silent lips. I do not think that this is a real reflection of our society. I admit that this type of cases exists in our society but not every case is same like this and if we portray these on media than it will project this type of attitudes. Our nation is the one who believes on media with heart and soul, our children have started doing PUJA and singing BHUJANGS after watching Indian soaps. So when we have this extent of influences than we must have to portray good impacts and to give positive lessons to our audiences.
There was a time when our dramas were so popular in neighbor country that they used to smuggle our dramas. But now we are copying their plots, their glamour and their way of production and direction. Topic of saas and bahu is of very important in India and we are also copying them. India is a country where relationships are not as closely bond as here in Pakistan because we are Muslims and our religion has given most emphasis on our relationships. It is India’s necessity to give emphasis to such issues, why are we copying them.
Our women are so strong, working on channels covering live from sites of blast, working as politicians, social works, wining elections like ASMA JAHANGIR, wining games like NASIM HAMEED, ANEELA SHAHEEN and this list goes on and on. Than why don’t our media is portraying these types of characters in dramas as role models for the society. Our need is to portray women as strong working for the country, coming out of the family issues and passiveness. It is very necessary for us as we are in a developing state and we need a lot to run towards the peak of success.