I’m masculine enough to admit that I love watching Pakistani dramas, are you?
Being the eldest in the family, I have always been very close to my mother. This is perhaps why I hold a keen interest in watching dramas.
Usually, watching Pakistani dramas is seen as a “fluff” activity – something that is specific to women. But I remain unapologetic about being a drama buff and see no harm to it.
Pakistani society, at large, is messed up about its values. We are okay with men being physically abusive, but we are not accepting when a woman answers us back. We proudly succumb to societal pressures and gender stereotypes, but we are not okay with a man being vulnerable. We are not okay with a man expressing his emotions. We are also not accepting of men that wear colourful clothes, gossip, or express empathy because we are fed myths like, “Mard ko dard naheen hota” (men don’t feel pain) and “ladkay rotay naheen” (men don’t cry) our entire lives.
Our dramas are emotionally charged slices of our culture. They may be exaggerated or reliant on hyperbole, but they remain true to what actually happens. Emotions are the fuel to our prime time drama scripts and the narratives they produce. This is why when it comes to men watching dramas, everybody freaks out just. A long chain of judgments begins. The way I see it, these dramas actually allow you to peak into the society and teach you valuable lessons of empathy, social intelligence, and communication.
Empathetic by nature, I love storytelling and I am interested in people. TV dramas offer us men a better chance to learn how to communicate our feelings – something we are not generally taught.
Pakistani dramas are based around women-centric stories. Most of them are kabhie sautan kabhie saheli type themes. Very rarely, do we come across a storyline which is equally intriguing for men. Humsafar was one of those exceptional cases; it had as many male viewers as female – of course, they were closet drama buffs. But they are always there, watching the 8 pm drama with their wives, but pretending not to.
If Pakistani men watch dramas, they will never talk about it, unlike women who have no issues discussing each and every episode. To step up their game, it is high time that our drama industry focuses on men and their issues, in order to target the male audiences. Everybody wants to talk about women empowerment, inequality and poverty, but no one ever wants to talk about the troubles faced by men.
We, being the breadwinners of the family, have a lot of responsibilities on our shoulders and since a very young age, we have been told not to talk about our feelings. That is why the popular media narrative only revolves around females’ feelings.
How about, for a change, our drama industry focuses on men? Our dramas need to showcase men who are expressive in terms of their feelings. Aggressiveness sells well when it’s the woman who is being mistreated. How about we empower men now? How about we empower the man who is not afraid to feel and show his emotions? A man who is comfortable and proud enough to own to up to watching dramas, despite the stereotype that dramas are only watched by women.
If I can watch dramas and relate to the characters, then I believe other men can too. So, which man is better? One who is in touch with his emotions and comfortable in his own skin, or one who masks his feelings behind passive aggressive and machoistic behaviour?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.