KARACHI: Kanwal Ahmed, the founder of the private Facebook group Soul Sisters Pakistan, took to Twitter to criticize the Hum TV drama Chupke Chupke for its portrayal of ghar damads in a negative light. Ahmed, who was selected by Facebook as one of its 115 “Community Leaders” based her backlash on the fact that the portrayal was “disempowering audiences by reinforcing problematic stereotypes.” Ahmed’s comment was directed at the portrayal of Ali Safina’s character who is a ghar damad and is constantly belittled and ridiculed by other characters in the show.
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Her remarks came in context to a post on the Facebook group about a woman complaining about how unfair it was that as a woman her hands were tied as she wasn’t able to take care of her aging parents.
Ahmed wrote “trust our dramas to disempower audiences by reinforcing problematic stereotypes. Such as here the ‘ghar damad’ character is an object of constant ridicule. Only yesterday a woman on SSP was asking how she & sisters can manage her old parents as none of them can move in with them.”
Her criticism did not go unnoticed by Osman Khalid Butt who plays the lead role in the drama and was quick to defend the drama. Butt argued that “This is an interesting take. However, it’s important to mention that this ‘ghar damad’ refuses to work despite being offered a job in the family business. He isn’t with his in-laws because of financial (or any) duress and while he’s played for broad comedy, he has his own arc.”
Ahmed, however, did not agree and responded to Butt by saying “thanks for the response Osman. My concern though is that comedy that identifies with problematic, existing stereotypes reinforces it in society. For example how many men would want to be ghar damads after watching this?”
The back and forth ended with Butt explaining that ““but viewers will also be considering the fact that his wife is shown to be quite obviously dominating/demeaning (which she’s called out on, albeit in a comedic manner). And he’s a slacker, no?”
Ahmed has still to respond but it seems unlikely that the two will agree on the matter.