1. Yeh Hai Mohabbatein
Ekta Kapoor’s show = insensitive and insolent hero, who does not respect anyone, apart from his immediate family + too ‘sanskari’ to be true, heroine. Despite disliking each other, they have a marriage of convenience in the most bizarre of circumstances, but ultimately fall in love.
Like a confused student, Kapoor has been using this tried and tested formula in every show of her, after the success of Kasamh se, but the problem with YEH HAI MOHABBATEIN is everything comes in extremes in the show.
While the hero Raman Kumar Bhalla, is the most disturbing image of the typical chauvinist and patriarchal Indian man, which every sane soul would dread, is an alcoholic by compulsion, who lets out his frustration on his family, mainly his wife and daughter, is a racist to the core and is deeply oblivious of the needs and desires of his family at large, the heroine Ishita, is the perfect doormat, without any self-respect.
Indians today proudly and openly support and profess ‘the kiss of love’ movement and have shunned the notion that the dress code of a woman and her lifestyle has anything to do with her dignity or character, but in an Ekta Kapoor show, the woman who chooses to live life on her own terms and does not wear the ‘chastity belt’ is still portrayed as the vamp. Worst, this show does not even spare the stereotyping of the Kids into typical male and female or good and evil objectifications.
2. Jodha Akbar
Fortunately, Ekta Kapoor bought the rights of this show, from the makers of its namesake film; which forbade her from making it a typical Balaji serial with a cheesy heroine and tacky subplots; however, she has not shied away from adding her signature formula here too.
Unlike, as depicted in any historical source or the film (for which the production house, skillfully telecasts disclaimers throughout the show), again the man, Akbar is unreasonably cruel, while Jodha is the epitome of everything good, but what is undesirable of Jodha Akbar is, it is deeply and painfully communal, where almost all the antagonists are unnecessarily portrayed to be Muslims.
The most distressing feature of every Balaji serial is being so grossly patriarchal as they tend to be, not only are the women marginalized, but men become the worst victims of misrepresentation and stereotyping too.
When will the Balaji Czarina realize that all men are not born rude, cruel and sadists and it does not mandatorily take a woman to instill compassion into him!
3. Comedy Nights With Kapil
In addition to being the comedy king, Kapil Sharma, undoubtedly is also the reigning king of misogyny and obnoxious innuendoes. Of course, he does all of it under the garb of ‘harmless fun’, but isn’t it pitiful that in the generation where Indian men post lofty statuses on Women’s Day and walk candlelight marches to protect the chastity and sanctity of the womenfolk; Indians still have to turn to such crass sources of entertainment every weekend?
4. The Big Bang Theory
And you thought misogyny and patriarchal stereotypes were only confined to Indian entertainment? Haven’t you ever thought why Penny has been portrayed as the perennial freeloader who hangs out with Lenard and his gang of friends despite being so incompatible? If not, then watch the ninth episode of season five, “The Ornithophobia Diffusion”, which summarizes this relationship and its existence.
5. Two And A Half Men
Yet another manifestation of misrepresentation and stereotypes, where again women are shown to be compulsive gold diggers, who choose Charlie over Alan, as the former is well to do and more generous.
You thought women in the west are sexually liberated and their privacy and personal space is respected? Well, meet Evelyn Harper, the ‘almost vamp’ of the show and her vice? She loves to explore newer dating avenues and is career oriented.
In the era of audio-visual media, it is television which rules over every other mode of communication and is believed to be the reflection of the society and ‘slice of life’. The question is do we commend the entertainment industry for successfully portraying society’s double standards and hypocrisy or condemn it for not coming up with better conceived programs?
By: Abhismita Sen