Every other day we’re being bombarded by news of abuse, rape, killings of women in the country. And in times like these, we have dramas that glorify women who make a joke out of such news.
We have had stories and protagonists on television with the sole intent to further degrade and justify violence against Pakistani women, by showing how women are able to use their gender and harassment card to their gains.
The purpose of dramas is to entertain but showing stories where women like Amal from ‘Dunk‘ and Geeti Princess from ‘Laapata‘ can use their women card to gain undue advantages, goes highly against the ethics. It is definitely more like tightening the noose around women in a country where they are already unsafe, even in the confines of their homes.
Perhaps these makers consider their dramas purely money-making machines and don’t necessarily care about driving cultural changes or highlighting important social messages.
According to statistics around eleven incidents of rape are reported every single day in Pakistan while the countless others, which are unreported, stay out of counts. The reporting and conviction rate of rape cases and culprits in Pakistan is less than 40% and 0.3% respectively, but do the creators of such dramas care? They would rather show stories that highlight how women can misuse important movements like #MeToo and sexual harassment to their gains.
Recently we have had highly sensationalized serials depicting women as liars and cheaters using our society’s alleged respect for women for their own materialistic gain. There has been Mehwish in ‘Mere Pass Tum Ho’, Nisha in ‘Jalan’, Amal in ‘Dunk’ and now Geeti Princess in ‘Laapata’ amongst countless others.
The actresses portray a role they have been offered and they execute it very well. The writers pen their scripts and descriptions well, too, trying to explicitly explain the personality traits of their characters, but where is their conscience? How can they belittle an already oppressed gender in society?
In the very first episode of ‘Laapata’, you have Ayeza Khan as Geeti Princess trying to convince a shopkeeper to let her get her groceries for free. When the shopkeeper refuses to give Geeti a favour, she uses her social media presence to threaten him with accusations of sexual harassment. A pathetic feat indeed. Of course, the scene is there to depict how remorseless and shameless Geeti’s character is but in the light of the current situations in the country, was it rather necessary to use such a scenario to depict Geeti’s manipulative character.
Similarly, we have Sana Javed as Amal from ‘Dunk’, who is seen falsely accusing men of rape and harassment. Amal is simply ripping apart what little respect women who survive such ordeals get. Who is to be trusted and who isn’t, such serials question the authenticity of all allegations, no matter how true they are.
Is The Public Really Blinded?
Who knows how the response to these sensationalized serials actually is? It is the channels bombarding the public with self proclaimed ratings because otherwise the public seems rather woke to notice such conflicting scenes and raise a voice against them on their social media. Perhaps, it is not audiences that want serials like these. Maybe it is more so the media and those handful of the top guns of our society who view the public as small-minded, wanting petty and mindless entertainment.
Where is PEMRA here? Infamous for banning bold dramas that call for societal change, we wonder why they didn’t react to such a scene from ‘Laapata’ or perhaps a show like ‘Dunk’. The regulatory body prides itself on protecting Pakistan’s cultural values, threatening to take off indecent content, banning dramas and films where alleged rape survivors fight a battle for their survival. Where is PEMRA now when we have dramas that glorify women who push extremely insensitive and false narratives?
Even Pakistani celebrities have pointed out the aforementioned scene from ‘Laapata’. Here’s what the celebs are saying.
As the Pakistani entertainment industry is evolving, it is time to think less about what is lucrative and more about what the world needs.