Will You Still Call It Harmless Entertainment?
With what appears to be a “much-needed change” and a supposedly “breath of fresh air,” the Pakistani audience has seemingly convinced itself that our media industry is finally soaring to new heights. Challenging the oh-so-suffocating stereotypes and throwing the saas-bahu melos out of the window, it’s ready to step up the cultural norms, stare straight in the eye and all that with rainbow glasses on.
But hold on just a moment! It sounds almost too good to be true. Well, surprise, surprise! In the world of Pakistani media, change often comes with its own unique disguise. Beneath the glittering exterior and the melodious hum of progressive tunes lies a stark reality that’s a million light-years away from “good.” Let’s take a step back and adjust our own set of glasses—ones that will allow us to see through the illusion.
Cloaking themselves in the nostalgia of friendships, memories, and teenage adventures, the newbies in the market profess to stand for justice, equality, and the courage to voice against oppression. However, a closer look reveals a subtle yet unmistakable liberal agenda at play. The narratives are imported directly from the masters who seem to have graduated from the schools of equality, with a post-grad in radical feminism, an LGBTQ+ certification, and a special course on making extramarital affairs look oh-so-glamorous.
Here are a few to quote.
The stories of Pakistan’s media industry advocating for liberal agendas are not new. In the realm of international politics, psychological warfare often relies on concealing agendas behind noble gestures. The same can be said for some of the content streaming from such channels. These liberal dramas wrap their agenda in the glitz and glamour of social commentary, tugging at heartstrings with emotional acting, ambience, and music. It’s a potent tool for persuasion, and the evidence might not be as concrete as you think.
And not to forget, the primary audience for these shows is Muslim women, and they’re not immune to the power of visual storytelling. Dramas depict young, strong, independent female protagonists pursuing education and careers, giving TED talks alongside portraying marriage as a dreaded fate. Are these shows deliberately shaping a generation of women who prioritise individualism over family values? The answer to it isn’t difficult to comprehend.
And as the Pakistani media continues to air its agenda-laden series, it raises concerns about what the future holds for the entertainment industry. Will this set a precedent for even more extreme narratives? Only time will tell.
But for now, it’s crucial to remember that what we see on the surface is often just the tip of the iceberg. As we navigate this evolving media landscape, let’s keep our discerning glasses on and remain vigilant, for the truth beneath the glitz and glamour may be more complex than meets the eye.