Are Independent and Liberal Women Villains?

Saleem Abbas 1 *

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This paper unpacks the perpetuation of negativity in liberal and modern female roles telecast by Pakistani Urdu TV drama serials. These dramas relay an implicit message that a woman cannot be a successful professional and a good wife or mother at the same time. The majority of contemporary TV dramas constantly present liberal, bold, and independent females in negative roles i.e., villains, anti-heroines and unsuccessful persons. Whereas leading positive roles appear to be traditional and conformed to conventions. Constantly, repeated negative female images and stereotypical patterns through TV dramas tend to impinge upon viewers. Thus, I employ the framework of social cognitive theory to comprehend the findings and examine the implications of these negative female images. This paper examines forty female roles appeared in five popular Pakistani Urdu TV drama serials telecast during the period of 2012-2016 and discusses the ways in which stereotypes are conferred to the negative female roles in these serials. By using the methodology of thematic analysis, I argue that by associating female negative roles with the impression of modernity, boldness, and liberalism, these drama serials indirectly reinforce conventional and subservient attitudes for women. Moreover, this type of portrayal in TV drama serials not only reinforces the passivity and subordination for females, but also reduces the prospects of diversity, openness, and acceptance of an independent and progressive approach of women in Pakistan. 


gender inequality Pakistani TV dramas women portrayal negative roles


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 8, Issue 3, July 2018, pp. 259-273

Published Online: 16 Jul 2018

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