Sir Taimoor Suri
Theories of Visual Culture
Women Objectification in Pakistani And Indian Cinema
It’s a harsh reality, that women in
media are still judged somehow. Why do we not treat the women working in a
school or a multinational in the same way as the women working in the media
in the media have frequently been trivialized by being called tacky names and
alluded to as a cheez (thing). While some may disregard such things about as
safe, they suggest a more profound, stinging reality of our general public — objectification of women. So, they might not be different, but are perceived
as different by the society.
they are also required to sing and dance sometimes, and that is considered
taboo in our society; it’s still looked downward on. They are objectified in
every field related to media, not only the industry. Despite everything they
are never given a more powerful role then men, and are just as an object or
glamour element. Along these lines, there are a considerable measure of
variables, which I feel, add to this sort of judgment towards women in the
that ill be discussing, women objectification on different platforms. how they
are used as an object to sell, in ads. And how they are glamourized in tv and
film, for attention.
Qmobile has set up a tradition of hiring famous celebrities for its TV
commercials, whether local or from abroad. It usually prefers woman, especially
after launching its “Z” series, which is advertised with this tagline, “The
world’s slimmest phone.” Firstly, it was Sonam Kapoor then Kareena Kapoor and
now this time around Qmobile tends to go a step ahead with not only it’s
tagline but also its model. Q mobile has the famous Brazilian model Larissa
Bonesia in its latest ad for Z7 with the new tagline saying, “The world’s
sexiest phone.” This commercial was also banned by PEMRA, entitling it to be an
unappropriate ad to be watched with family.
Fair and Lovely:
Fair and Lovely advertisements, for the past many years have been portraying
fame and fortune related to fair and beautiful women. According to them the key
to success is the miraculous cream of fairness tube. And a 14 day experiment
with tube is guaranteed to your lucky star. And the role of men in our media is
that of dominance, authority, while females have been portrayed as passive and
dominated by men. When top models paper in these ads, it implies that intellect
and in individuality are useless without a fair completion, conveying a
hazardous message to the young audience especially young girls. It’s
humiliating for women, as it clearly points out the discrimination on basis of
Aquafina’s commercial which had the one of the most famous celebrity couple on
air Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan. In this ad the makers have very beautifully
shown a woman’s role much more than a house-wife or a beauty conscious lady.
This ad tends to shows the transformation from a girl to a lady and lastly a
woman. The best part is that despite of showing woman they have not objectified
it, rather they’ve shown a woman as a very integral part of the society in a
very respectable manner.
Tutti Frutti by Ayesha Omer (Karachi se Lahore)
This song’s lyrics connote that how desperate the woman is
and ias if she is offering herself to men as an object by saying “Mai karari
hoon”, also telling that she is so flavorful, which is the main tagline of the
song’; “Aji tutti fruiti hoon main”.
KUNDI: (Wrong No.)
In this song Sohai
Zindagi Gulzar Hai:
The drama serial revolves around its female protagonist “Kashaf”, who is living
a life of misery, neglected by her father, living a hand-to-mouth life.Kashaf
has been an optimistic person who would always complain to Allah for not
blessing her. But these lackings are what motivate her to work harder towards a
brighter future, and achieve what she desired.
However, this serial shows woman in an
unconventional way. Kashaf being the lead protagonist is not shown desperate
for men or not always available to men. Hence she is a self-respected woman
with an aim of maintaining it at any cost. However, her character transforms
from being an unmarried to a married woman.
In this conversation the handsome hunk Zaroon is engaged to his childhood
bestfriend, Asmara. They now in this conversation open-up to each other and we
see how hypocrite man is. Zaroon himself was a Casanova in his university life.
He when gets engaged, he expects his fiancée to not keep much interaction with
her female friends. On the contrary he himself is pretty frank to his female
In this particular episode, where we see Zaroon trying to convince Kashaf for
marriage is a must-watch-scene. Because he is trying to impress her, normally
this is not shown in her part.
In another episode we find out that after Kashaf and Zaroon get married, they
go for dinner and there they have a conversation where they exchange views. At
this point, we find Kashaf being very blunt and confident about her opinion.
She immediately says Zaroon to be a male-chauvinist when he talks about female being
After the recent feminist wave in cinema,
some Pakistani dramas also now have a lot to offer, away from those typical masala theme and plots.
Pakistani audience has past the stage of
Turkish wave of the innocent Fatima Gul
and flashy Ishq-e-mamnoon dramas, giving the drama industry the much needed
scope to groom. The industry has something new to offer to the viewers – with
challenging new themes and storytelling.
Chup Raho was the story of a women Rameen, played by Sajal Ali,
who was subjected to sexual abuse by Numair
(Jibran Syed) his brother in law. In order to save her own ‘reputation’,
Rameen is forced to bear Numair’s brutal acts, and also to save her sister’s
Rameen doesn’t disclose everything in front of her sister Manual
or her husband Azar, (who is also Numairs cousin), because Women in our society
are pressurized into not speaking against any injustice, and are rather
expected to endure everything.
When she, finally musters the courage to speak up about the
harassment, he reminds her that she is being whim (paranoid).
The series also portrays how the preparatory very casually slips
away, being a very close relative.
An interesting thing to watch is the hypocrisy of men, when we
see Numeric relationship with his daughter Naila. We see how he is extremely
protective of her.
The victim is abused by different people over and over again,
abuse is shown as a normal occurrence.
Threes is excessive physical contact.
The women are manhandled, being reduces to mere objects, used to
sensalize abuse. Not only Numair but her husband also abuses Rameen. In episode
17 we see Rameen being abused by her husband and further in episode 11 by her
brother in law. There is little or no importance given to women’s integrity.
This is not the first time that directors and producers have
relied on women helpnesessness to get Trps. In episode 14 Azar puts allegation
on Rameen, that she married her only for getting close to Numair. And in episode Numair abuses her wife, for she
decides on revealing the truth to Rameen.
And then there is also this stereotypical image of women being
portrayed in episode 14 where we see how Rameen is still faithful to her
husband after all the abuse, and allegation he had put on her.
There is excessive physical contact between the actors in all
the episodes and the spotlight is on the victim being abused by different
people over and over again. This abuse is shown as an everyday occurrence
because the highlight of the play is showing the victim being abused in all
ways possible. The integrity of women in this play has completely been
relegated to the background. The women in this drama have been reduced to
objects who are being used to sensationalize abuse. It isn’t only Numair who
manhandles Rameen every chance he gets but even her husband physically and
verbally abuses her. Since many predators behave like the ‘perfect gentlemen’
society doesn’t doubt them. Numair tells Rameen: “Ziadti thori na ki thi pyaar
kiya tha tumse.” living in a patriarchal society which is unsupportive to women,
it happened and so smoothly.
The story is about the communal violence of 1947. Ishwar Singh’s
wife, suspects him of infidelity, as he fails to make love to her. And so she
stabs him wit h a dagger. On his deateh bed, Ishwar admits his crime of rape
attempt of an unconscious Muslim girl. It turns out that she was dead, hecnce
the title Thanda Gosht (cold flesh).
Manto has Kalwant Kaur is shown a1as an insecure and
desperate wife. Using her sexuality to gain his husbands attention, so that he
reveals the truth. Isher Singh, her husband fails to make love to his mistress,
and she keeps on provoking him, by touching her body. Manto has here
oversexualised women body, through descriptions.
ghosht, illustrates the episode of a sikh guy Isher Sing, who during the
partition riots abducts a Muslim girl and rapes her, only to realise later that
she was dead.
female protaginst is portrayed as a ‘typical, desperate and suspicious
housewife’, who stats scolding her husband for not being able to give him
sexual pleasure.and also doubts tat he had been sleeping with another woman.
begins by focusing on the eyes of a woman desperately staring her husband,
followed by focusing on her legs and sensilizing her body.
that to be a strong women you need to have a ‘wide chin’, and not her
intellectual abilities. And how to be areal women you need to have a ‘perfect
body’. “Said Esher Singh, squeezing her breast. I swear to Wheguru, you are a
real women,”1 he started at her naked
body and said I swear to Wheguru you are some women”2
time Kalwant Kaur empasises on something there is also an emphasis on her body
parts, ‘holding her hips’,’holding her lips’.3
A thousand Splendid Suns:
Rasheed has lust and sensational needs which he tries to fulfill
by marrying a girl much younger than him and before he decides to have sex with
him. He takes her for dinner and shopping, which the little girl, hence his
wife considers it to be his gesture of love. However, it is only a bribe and
she is forced to make love at a point when she herself doesn’t know the meaning
of sex. She stays bewildered until Rasheed justifies his action being halal in
Even in Urdu literature women have been objectified. Manto wrote
several stories dealing with the lives of prostitutes, in which females body
end up representing exploitation and social stratification. Hatak (the insult),
is one of those pieces of his literature.
Manto doesn’t let us
know the reason of Saughandi opted to sell off her. He kept it vague. What we
know as readers is that Saughandi considered sexual intimacy abusrd, every part
of her body yearned to be worked over, until fatigue and exhaustion, has
settled her into a delightful state of sleep4. According to him knowing
the reason is not important. Yet he doesn’t let go of any possibility of
tempting the reader by giving descriptions of her body.
Manto had portrayed Saughnadi as a good-hearted prostitute who
has been exploited by men both emotionally, physically and materially. She is a
prostitute who needs men’s approval of being good and also craved love. ‘Woh
janti thi k who buri nahee achi hai, par who chahti thi k koi uski taeyed
karay..koi..koi..uske kandhon par haath rakh kar kej de k Soghandi tu buri hai
jo tjhay bura kahay who aap bura’5
And consequently she herself also spends money on her husband
Madho, who taking benfits from her, gives husbandly speeches on how he will
financially assist her and wants her to give up her trade.
Here, like Rameen in Chup
Raho we see how women is expected and is portayed as a faithful and loyal wife,
despite of however her husband is treating her. And also shows women as
attention seekers and needful of men’s approval over everything even her
attempts on finding peace, and wants a home for herself to belong to. “Aur na kabhi kisi ne us ko yeh mehsoos honey dia tha key us ka aik ghar hai. Jis main
gharelupan asakta hai”6.
of her toards her routine, made her sexually commercial, an object like her
room, chaotic, messy incared for, and in serach of ownership. she is potrayed
as a weak women looking for support.
this novel are portrayed as emotional fools, just carving for men’s love. And
how a few lovable words from a man can eaily melt her. “Soghandi dimmag se
zayada rehti thi laikin jaisi hi koi maram nazuk baat…koi komal boli..isse
kehta to jhat pighal kar apnay jism k dusray hisson mai phel jati.” 7
Though she knew that the men were lying she woul melt like wax and believe it.
“prem…kitna sundhar bol hai, isko pigla akr saray ango par mal k iski maalish
karluey, take ye saraka sara pighal k iske masamon mai rakh jaye.” It states that no matter how clever a woman
is, a man thorugh his words only, can eaily woo her.
unfold mainly around the incident when apimp insults her. The insult that she feels from this
rejection breaks her down. Showing the oppressive need of women for men’s
Insaaf Ka tarazu
Film over years have been a mirror of society’s
view of the female body. Even when deling with sensitive topics as rape, women
are being sexualized.
In the openijg sequence of the film Insaaf Ka
Tarazu we see a graphic scene of Zeenat Aman being raped by Raj Baber. The
scene ended up sexualizing her more, and less of a criminal act. From the preparatory
tearing of her clothes, with the dramatic background music, to vast amount of
her skin being showed, the camera focuses on her. The rapist just throws the
Then a few
minutes later a fashion show takes place where the host comments on how women
dress up just for the sake of flaunting there beauty. “ye kaparay to hain sirf
dhaknay k liye tan ko, sun husn dikhanay k bahanay hain”. And how a woman takes
of her ‘pallu’ for wooing men.9
after winning the fashion contest is seen flaunting hersef in revealing
clothes, and seductive poses, for a photo shoot, while Raj baber stands there
staring at her. The women is being treated as a mere object, for male gaze.10
Zeenat Aman’s character have been portrayed as a bold and independent, earning
women. But then all of a sudden we see her as a ‘stereotypical women’, in red saree, all shy and head covered, as she visits her lovers
(Deepak) place for marriage proposal. Because that is the constructed image of
a desirable daughter in law, in our society. No parents would want a women,
wearing short or revealing clothes, for their son. 11
Then we come
across the hypocrisy of men, and the patriarchal mindset during the
conversation between Zeenat Amaan and her lover in car. Where Zeenat Amman is
ordered by Deepak, who had been hosting her events, and presenting her in front
of audience,to quit her job and do house chores after marriage.”tum shaadi k
baad kaam nahee karogi, khaaana banaogi, ghar k kaam karogi aur bacchon ka
khayaal rakhogi.” And she without any argument agrees to it. Because a wife is
expected to confide in whatever his husband says.12
aspect of patriarchal mindset and the helplessness of women is portrayed, when
Babar rapes Zeenat Amaan, just because she unconsciously keeps on ignoring him
and giving attention to his boyfriend, and he could not bear this insult.
“Tumney, party mai mera bara hua haath chor k, apnay aashiq ka haath thaam
liya”, is what he has to say before committing the hideous crime.
Amaan decides on getting ‘insaaf’ (justice) for herself by reporting the case,
she is told by the lawyer not to because ‘rape ka case larna, bhari adalat mai
aik aur rape ka samna karnay k barabar hai’.13
struggle is then portrayed, after she looses the case in court 14
due to lack of evidence. True to Zeenat Amaan’s lawyer’s word she is subjected
to all sorts of humiliating questions, from her dressing before the rape, and
providing proof that she was raped and is accused of luring Babar to bed and
trying to cover the incident. The various pictures of both of them enjoying
each other’s company was enough to objectify her, and convince the judge that
she was lying.
Raho and Insaaf ka Tarazu dealt with the same topic of rape. But we see a
contrast between both, Chup Raho portrayed the thought and intention of the
perpetrators while Insaaf ka Tarazu focused on the struggle of the victim.
We as antion have become very fierce and have built
such tendencies, t over the years and have become normal for us, and we now perceive
everything in its light only, making it hard for us to part from them.this has
made us comdemn everyone, and be intrusive of everything over soail ntworks, for
particulary famous people. We would jufdge everyone and pass comments, based on
our own ethical principles. Tehres no
room for any opportunity for setling down, or altering our opinions, and our
needs to be changed, becaue there will then be less freedom, to do what they
please, and have a lower self esteem, due to this frustration. There should be
freedom to do what you want, until it’s done without hurting others mentally or
physically. We d not see women equal, tehry are seen through harsher lense. They
have to go through moral policing, rather then being judged through logic. Like
if a man and woman are photographed together, we wont judge him but the woman.
1 Thanda gosht – Manto
2 Thanda Ghost – Manto
3 Thanda gosht – Manto
4 Hatak – Manto
5 Htak – Manto
6 Ha?ak, Manto
7 Hatak Manto
8 Insaaf ka tarazu (00 00 00:00 01 12)
9 Insaaf ka tarazu (00 09 10:00 09 30)
10 Insaaf ka tarazu(00 25 20: 00 26 00)
11 Insaaf ka tarazu (00 30 35:00 30 48)
12 Insaaf ka tarazu (00 31 44:00 32 14)
13 Insaaf ka Tarazu (00 42 00:00 44 11)
14 Insaaf ka Tarazu (00 55 13- 00 55