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Where Are The Women Who Work And Have Normal Appetites In Indian TV Serials?

I am a STEM student and want both a career and family. But I worry as Indian TV serials glorifying the "ideal bahu/beti" impacts society.

I am a STEM student and want both a career and family. But I worry as Indian TV serials glorifying the “ideal bahu/beti” impacts society.

I am a student in STEM, and am definitely planning to have a flourished career, and I too want a family as well.

But, I always question myself on how will I manage everything in the future? Indian TV serials portray nothing else, but a woman who is expected to overwork herself in the name of “superhuman”. This portrayal impacts society’s thinking and puts pressure on women to overwork.

Blatant sexism of Indian TV serials impacts society

Pati ki zimedaari ghar mei kharch dekhne ki hoti hain, aur patni ki zimedaari ghar mei sanskaar banaye rakhne ki hoti hain (It is the responsibility of the husband to earn for the house, and it is the wife’s duty to keep the honour of the household). This a dialogue from a very famous sitcom on Indian TV.

Indians watched about 48.4 trillion minutes of television content in 2019 (Source: Statista). So, where does this lead us to? How does this viewership affect and shape our mindsets? Doesn’t watching regressive shows make us grow into an even more stereotypical and hypocritical society?

I personally am not against Indian serials, but the hypocrisy and stereotypical gender roles associated with it creates an entire mess. It makes me worried and makes me question the society we are raised in.

Where are the women who work and eat in Indian TV soaps?

My general observations have made me realise that I have barely seen an Indian daily soap with a regular working woman. It is extremely rare, it at all.

On the other hand, the woman with a job or career is either a vamp in the show or is completely unaware of the basic household chores that every human being should know.

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The basic definition portrayed of a “sanskaari bahu/beti” is one who is aadarshvadi, who listens to whatever her husband and in-laws say. And not to forget, she is someone who survives on air. Think about it, we rarely see a daughter-inlaw (bahu/beti) eat along with other family members!

Supportive husbands and partners missing in our serials

I am a student in STEM, and am definitely planning to have a flourished career, and I too want a family as well. But, I always question myself on how will I manage everything in the future?

My mother too works, but as a teacher and her working hours are completely different from the working hours I will have in the future. I don’t think I will ever be able to manage things properly without the support of my partner.

But our serials portray nothing else, but a woman who is expected to overwork herself in the name of “superhuman”. When the TV serials show men get away with saying they never were meant to do these chores and do not even try to learn is where the problem arises. Where are the supportive husbands and partners?

What we watch on television affects our mindset, and I will continue to question this unfair portrayal of women in Indian TV serials!

Image source: Still from Balika Vadhu

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About the Author

Chaitali Thakkar

A full-time procrastinator and feminist, and a part-time tech student. read more...

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