Pakistani dramas and their alarming anti-feminism: Are ‘harassment’ and ‘abuse’ truly amusing topics of conversation?

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Recently, we’ve seen an increase in television dramas that ignore and diminish the plight of women in the country by treating serious issues like women speaking out about harassment, women being mentally abused and mistreated by known or unknown men, and in-laws in a light-hearted and comical manner. However, someone needs to ask what is so amusing and hilarious about women’s constant degradation and ill-treatment?

There has been an alarming increase in gender-based crimes against women in recent years. One has to wonder how the country’s television industry can be so irresponsible when it comes to depicting women and the issues they face on a daily basis in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The following are just a few scenes from currently airing dramas that have recently made the rounds.

Geeti uses false harassment allegations to blackmail a poor shopkeeper.

A scene from the Hum TV production ‘Laapata’, which promotes the notion that women who come forward with harassment allegations are essentially fabricating stories to achieve personal and ill-intentioned goals.

Isra agrees to marry a psychopathic male personality after he threatens her with a gun to accept his proposal.

The drama ‘Ishq Hai’ celebrates what can only be described as a perfectly toxic relationship between Shahzaib (Danish Taimoor) and Isra (Manal Khan). The two are unable to marry because Isra’s parents do not believe in ‘love marriage,’ which causes Shahzaib to exhibit seriously psychopathic behavior—behaving like a stalker, a man who cannot accept no, and simply put, a toxic ex. He even kidnaps Isra on the day of her wedding and emotionally blackmails her into marrying him instead, as the drama progresses.

In-laws fabricate a story about the newlywed couple’s parents becoming ill to ruin their honeymoon.

"sunday plus", Pakistani dramas and their alarming anti-feminism: Are 'harassment' and 'abuse' truly amusing topics of conversation?

The drama ‘Mujhe Vida Kar’ depicts the parents of Muneeb Butt, who plays the male lead, being enraged at the bride for going on her honeymoon and lying to the newlyweds about their ill-health to coerce them into returning home! Giving the impression that women must immediately begin handling all manual labor and appeasing in-laws while ignoring all possibilities of developing a relationship with their husband, will be a natural consequence.

In the last two weeks, we have witnessed a slew of cases of femicide, with countless victims such as Noor Muqaddam, Qurutulain, and Saima succumbing to men’s violence. Meanwhile, our media portrays stories that constantly side with misbehaving men and portray women negatively.

What else is this but an extreme case of blind prejudice, insensitivity, and tone-deafness directed at the plight of women in our country on behalf of the television industry? And what effect does it have on the general public?

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