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Did Bulbulay destroy the definition of feminism?



Feminism. A subjective term. Simply put, feminism has come across as an idea to challenge the everyday gender-based inequalities and injustices that women have to face. However, it is serving and challenging different aspects of society. The sociopolitical demonstrations under the banner of Aurat March, and the increased awareness in a third-world patriarchal society like Pakistan are prevalent and we all have seen how the people and their placement in the society as social beings are making shifts.


However, the same Pakistani media destroyed and misrepresented the term feminism and the concept of Aurat March. A very famous Pakistani TV show, starring Ayesha Omar as Khoobsurat, Bulbulay, recently released an episode that raised many questions. Surprisingly, not much of a backlash was seen on Instagram, a platform where a picture of Ayesha Omar wearing a bikini while on her vacation in Thailand went viral. Don’t even get me started on why her character in the show is named ‘Khoobsurat’ and does her being fair, slim, and trendy fulfills the beauty standards that our society has constructed.

The very problematic episode explicitly throws a vile shade on the idea of Aurat March, and the ideological principles encircling ‘feminism.’ For an audience like Pakistan, a deep-rooted patriarchal society, the episode highlights the main manifesto of the Aurat March as ‘man-hating.’ Not surprising at all, because this was inevitable. More shockingly, the script tones out women NGOs as organizations or more so ‘platforms’ that promote and encourage the idea of divorce and staying single among women.

Note here, that the thematic tone and attitude of this media product are humorous. The toxic tint in the script goes ignored. Towards the end, the same man-hating woman falls in love with her husband and starts to serve him and do all his chores willingly. It promotes a culture of ‘majboori’ where no matter what the woman wants or aspires to have as part of a better life, she has to return to the unjust (married) way of life.



However, educating a little goes a long way. Feminism is not only for women but for all the other genders as well, that feel deprived of their basic rights and are exposed to injustices in every aspect of their day-to-day life. Aurat March was a banner event, under which representatives from communities such as the trans, the intersex, and a few others joined to speak up for themselves. Not blaming the women for making Aurat March an event for themselves only, but this blame is to be put on society. Our culture holds the responsibility for not only accepting but also nurturing an anti-women rights environment for decades now. The majority of women are indeed deprived of their basic rights hence, the Aurat March might be perceived as a march for women’s rights only.


Click here to watch episode #40, season 2 of Bulbulay.



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13 comentários


This blog really makes me think about why I used to watch this show when I was younger. This show caters to an audience of every age group. From a 10-year-old to a 60-year-old, people of all ages watch this show and actually enjoy it. However, the messages this show sends are not ones which should be normalized by the media. The show is extremely problematic and sexist in nature. One of the most obvious ways you can see this is just by the name of one of the main characters "Khoobsurat", which you also mention in your post. By using platform that this show has, the famous stars that this show has, it should be doing a much better…

Curtir

This blog is making me think of a hypothetical...


I have an uncle who is a CP patient. He really enjoys Bulbulay. Even though he can't really speak to us or walk, he can still see and listen to us.


Now what if we magically found a cure for his condition and he was to live in this society that has an enormous Bulbulay fanbase.


What would have this form of media inculcated in him?

How would this Bulbulay fanbase echoing some of these problematic narratives effect him?


Thinking about these questions just leads to an unfortunate conclusion.


With this amount of power, there's a responsibility on the producers to educate... but they choose to propagate ideas that make lives…

Curtir
Respondendo a

Hey,

An interesting approach you are thinking from out there!

I think Bulbulay is a huge and powerful platform to deliver reforming messages for our society, without hurting sentiments, and the team and production house really need to acknowledge this potential. Once they do acknowledge, they might understand their responsibility to educate and spread awareness. Up till now, they haven't failed. Why? Because they are teaching and reinforcing the concepts of a patriarchal system to a patriarchal fanbase and they are doing a pretty good job there.

Curtir

Sabeeh - 24020369
Sabeeh - 24020369
06 de ago. de 2022

While my family and I used to enjoy this sitcom some 12-13 years ago, growing up I have only realized how blatantly sexist and problematic it is, and how cheap the comedy is. It's honestly so lame. I'm surprised this show still has an audience, even though years have passed since it started airing.


While I have not watched the episode you talked about in your blog, I'm disappointed that the writers have gone so cheap with their comedy to target feminism and Aurat March. It's important to note that in decades, this show did not target any specific political parties or religious sects, because they know there would have been serious repercussions. But the fact that they were daring…


Curtir
Respondendo a

Hey, thanks for sharing these points.

It is very surprising that it still has a very huge audience. But honestly, it is not very surprising at the same time. Coming from the same patriarchal society I am talking about in each blog, I know how well ingrained these concepts and ideas are. It is a long trail before somethings get changed or even move closer to change.

The point which is concerning, that your have highlighted regarding the fact that they dropped so low and talked about Aurat March so explicitly. They definitely knew that the backlash will not outweigh the applaud they are going to get. Thanks for bringing this up.

Curtir

Thank you for writing this, I was earlier not aware of such a sentiment being promoted in Bulbulay out of all shows. I mean when you think of the drama, you immediately think light hearted comedy and silly behavior. My 11-year old brother was quite fond of it at one point as well, so this really concerns me with regards to the kind of messages he's been getting by watching it.


Honestly, with the kind of fan base Bulbulay has which is HUGE and the fact that it's been running for so many years is a win for the producers, directors and actors. But it also means they have a huge responsibility to the audience, because they can shape narratives…


Curtir
Respondendo a

Hey, I totally agree with you on how Bulbulay has a huge responsibility to serve. This media production if uses its platform the 'right way' can promote and give rise to so many newer ideas that can not only challenge the patriarchal essence of the society but also allow the viewers to give birth to a new outlook on the world and the people around. However, this can come at a great risk. One episode, in favor of the AURAT MARCH for example, and boom all the fan base gone. I am not even exaggerating here. Why would the directors and the producers want to do this to their never ending profits? The people who watch this sitcom, in all honesty,…

Curtir

Some very insightful comments! I believe that humor is such a useful tool if utilized correctly. It can be an avenue for radicalizing society. However, it can also send loud and clear messages in favor of popular toxic tropes. Even as a child, one aspect about Bulbulay which I found pretty problematic was how Nabeel threatened to leave Khoobsurat every time she refused to assist with domestic chores. There were also a chain of episodes where he overtly dabbled with the idea of bringing home a second wife. This just shows how men have this upperhand in our patriarchal society and exercise in warped ways.

Curtir
Respondendo a

Hey Aiman,

Not only a few episodes, as far as I remember almost every episode had atleast one scene where either Nabeel was into a girl outside or he was preparing to get married a second time. The idea that men can sit at home and flirt with women outside while the women keeps paying their bills is so normalized in the drama that two sets of couples are seen promoting the same concept. The theme is the same since it started going live and even today after 3 seasons have been broadcasted the audience is just increasing, but no one is pointing out the problematic notions it is normalizing. This is merely because no one finds it problematic. This…

Curtir
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