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Romanticizing Abuse in Pakistani Dramas

Unsurprisingly, we all probably have come across a scene in Pakistani drama or movie where a female protagonist is, for some reason, slapped by the main lead, and it is shown from the perspective of the male lead being a dominant personality who has control over women.

One of the scenes that really disturbed me when I was a kid was in Diyar-e-Dil, where Osman Khalid Butt (our main lead) told the female character over a minor dispute, 'Agar tum meri hoti toh mein tumhen thapar marta.' If a woman belongs to a man, do they have the right to hit them? This dialogue wasn't the only problematic thing in the show, but there were several scenes where he can be seen literally dragging Maya out of her house, kidnapping her, and taking her to secluded places, just because he is in Nikkah with her and so he can do anything to her without her consent. In the end, we see them ending up together.

In another drama, Mein Bushra, the main character, slapped the woman lead because she thought that he had entered her room with ill intentions. And to portray how our society has been conformed into thinking that abuse is justified in some situations, I have attached the review for that scene from a very famous Pakistani blog, 'Review it.'

It says, "I do feel that Bushra kind of needed that slap for the re-awakening of her conscience and sanity. This ‘slap’ also served as a reality check that Shayan harbors feelings and can run out of patience because he’s a human being."

Not only this, but after this slap scene, we suddenly see that the female lead is now in love with the male lead, who slapped her just because she finally understands him. I mean, how messed up can a scene be?

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10 comentarios

I greatly appreciate you for highlighting this issue. Growing up in a household obsessed with dramas, I got to watch almost every other Pakistani drama. While, back then, I did not realize how problematic the physical abuse against women was, its the most upsetting element for me now. I hate to think how many men feel validated every time they see a man hitting his wife in a drama and how many women relive the trauma of domestic abuse every time they see a woman being slapped on screen. And not every child grows up in a household where his parents have set the right precedent for him and where he knows what a healthy relationship of husband and wife…

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Thank you for shedding light on an important topic and one that is so massively becoming a problem for the Pakistani society at large. I don't know if the directors and writers of these plays understand how their media products are creating an impact on a very large scale, especially considering the fact that almost all millennial Pakistanis prefer television as their primary source of entertainment. If the media that is being consumed at a mass scale normalizes the fact that a male lead has the authority to slap any woman in his life, then I feel that the struggles of so many Pakistani women who try to break through patriarchal shackles are being undermined. It is unfair to us…

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Your article reminds me of the movie, "Thappar" and how the focus on that movie was that how a single thappar is enough to show that the relationship is not going to work or that single thappar is not acceptable at all. In the whole movie various people told the main lead that "it was just a thappar and she should forgive" but every single time she had the reply "Thapar maara kuon?" and who gave her husband the right to slap her. Under no circumstances violence should be allowed and we should not normalize it in any way. It was very revolutionary for Bollywood to talk about this issue as domestic violence is very common in both Pakistan and…

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I loved watching Diyar e Dil as a 15-year-old. Some part of me believed that Wali's action of kidnapping Farah and forcing her to live at their ancestral home when she was studying Medicine in Lahore was justified because he does this after he catches Farah taking a box of ring from her cousin in a restaurant while she was married to Wali. However, now that I think about it, she was not actually cheating on Wali because she had not said yes to Moiz's proposal. Even if she was considering Moiz's proposal, she would have obviously gone ahead with it after getting a divorce from Wali. Which she had all the right to do because she got married to…

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10 dic 2022

Trigger Warning: Mention of rape The "slap" is also almost levelled at the "bad" woman in a moment of final reckoning, to finally establish that she has been punished, and that in some instances, when women deviate from norms set usually by men, that in order to discipline them, they can and should be physically abused. We also see that physical abuse in Pakistani TV serials also tends to be used whenever the victimhood, or "bechargi" of the typically demure, wronged lead female has to be establishment, which as Mahnoor pointed out, feeds into this idea of consuming "trauma" porn. It makes physical abuse a plot point that further amplifies a misogynistic trope, not a very serious social issue that poses…

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