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The ban on Churails in Pakistan after a clip of a character talking about giving sexual favours to get a job went viral, reeks of patriarchy.
Pakistan’s web series ‘Churails’ has been earning international acclaim based on its content and approach. An all female lead series, it tackles uneasy questions of child abuse, forced marriages, classism, elitism and racism. Directed by Asim Abbas, this series is available on ZEE5 global.
It was only recently that this series was banned after one of its clips went viral on social media. In this clip, veteran actor Heena Khwaja Hayat who plays Sherry, talks about all the sexual favours she had to give in order to get a job. The clip has become the basis for banning the critically acclaimed series in Pakistan.
This series has been famous for its bold content and a female lead cast. However, its story line raised important social issues which posed a threat to the conservatives of the society who were constantly eyeing the series. The clip not only gave them a reason to demand a ban, but has also given them another chance to make comments about ‘vulgarity.’
In a more general sense, these bans are not new. The society has always sought to ban women and their issues. This series raises important questions which reflect on the narrow-minded and unequal society riddled with conservatism.
It not only raises such questions but also dismantles and encourages others to dismantle such power systems. Under the garb of ‘vulgarity,’ this ban is directed towards controlling change. It is a direct attack launched at deviance under the name of promoting vulgarity.
And it is ironical how the society always defines vulgarity in ways which degrades women and her expression of sexuality. While any expression terrifies the social watchdogs, similar expression by men is not just welcome but is celebrated.
The motto of these social watchdogs is to maintain the status quo and inculcate a sense of belief in all the members of the society. One that says that this social set up is the epitome of equality, truth and justice.
Innumerable attempts are made to hammer in the fact that nothing is wrong with the current system. It is this very system which uses the plank of culture, tradition and values to exploit women. This exploitation is then gift-wrapped and served as the ideal social reality.
Series like these which bare the social realities rid with power inequalities and those that threaten social stability are immediately controlled. Thus, when incidents like the one mentioned get limelight, a debate on their rationality and morality gains momentum. And such questions put them at odds with a society that demands and accepts only unconditional allegiance and not logical disagreements.
Realist expressions of challenge and social evils prevalent in the society dismantle the smoke screen of an equal society created by ideology and power. And the truth of asymmetrical power relations and unequal social realities start getting public gaze.
The #MeToo movement is an example of such an explosion. It started off with highlighting the gender equalities prevalent in Bollywood and Hollywood. However, it also captured the continued efforts undertaken to subdue the claims women made.
It is a reality that women are made to give sexual favours in order to get jobs. But the society’s refusal to accept it reflects society’s insensitivity towards women.
These explosions of truth are hazardous only to those who reap benefits out of these patriarchal settings. They fear that the public scrutiny would dismantle the system and strip them off their privileges.
Therefore, they resort to constant bans on women, their expression, creativity and sexuality. Often using it as a tool to control and maintain the status quo that showers them with multiple privileges.
The ban on ‘Churails’ is a classic example of a ban wrapped in tradition, culture and values to preserve the status quo. And to continue dominance over the dominated.
To watch the trailer of the series, please click on the link below.
Picture credits: Stills from the series Churails
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Political Science Research Scholar. Doesn't believe in binaries and essentialism.
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