Over a period of ten years media has emerged as one of the strongest and most powerful institutions in our country. Its domination over the society is evident from the fact that opinions and viewpoints are formulated based on what the media translates. It has become the eyes and ears of the general public and no matter how much we try to deny its effect on the society, we cannot shy away from the indomitable fact that it has a huge impact on us. Be it the films, dramas, news or even advertisements running on the television, all of them are registered in the minds of millions. It is therefore essential that media realizes its responsibility and becomes sensitive to the issue of gender stereotyping.

Gender stereotyping is a highly common trend observed in the media, it has existed for a considerable period but it is high time that we burst the bubble of gender stereotyping which is flying so high. Some recent popular dramas have played a pivotal role in igniting the spark. Drama serial Dillagi serves as an ideal example in this case. Though it is just one drama out of the hundred others which are currently running on television but its dialogues and the impact of those dialogues upon the audiences is highly perturbing.

In a recent episode of Dillagi, the mighty saas, Saba Hameed, stopped her daughter-in-law from entering the house unless she slaps her husband in the same manner he slapped her. It felt surreal to experience something like this because this is not commonly observed in our society. The daughter-in-law drowning in a flood of emotions and succumbing to social pressures finally decides not to do so. I was at first pleased to see the scene because I thought finally our media is making an effort to defy norms and show the brighter side of the picture, where a woman is empowered and has a right to do the same with her husband what he did to her.

Indeed, this moment of bliss was short lived as in the very next scene Saba Hameed quoted that had her daughter-in-law slapped Humayun Saeed (Saba Hameed’s son), it would have proven that her daughter-in-law aka Mehwish is an egoistic woman and did not love Humayun at all. Behold, misogyny at its best. You slap your husband you don’t love him, he slaps you, it's okay, he still loves you a lot and you better live with him. It is beyond my comprehension as to why we would label a woman egoistic if she slaps a man and a man as heroic if he slaps a woman. Why does a woman become egoistic if she takes her revenge? Do only men have the license to ridicule and slap women? Will a woman always be considered evil and heartless if she stands up for her own right and demands justice? 

It is so easy showing a woman being slapped but it is impossible to show a man being slapped by a woman. This is because it would slay the male ego, the mammoth male ego which shall be respected all the time. We are showing that it’s okay to slap your wife, it's being done to protect her “izzat” but it’s inadvisable for a woman to slap a man because she will be labelled as egoistic.

The problem does not lie with this drama only, in fact similar ideas are depicted in every drama serial. Women are victimized and stereotyped. A woman draping a chadar and dupatta is the most pious women ever, but if the the same women chooses to wear jeans and shirt then she must have a shady character because hello where is your chadar!

Media has embedded these thoughts in our mind by constantly reinstating the same ideologies. We have become stagnant and refuse to grow as a society. Our thoughts are intangible and tolerance zero because we have accepted some norms and refuse to change them. Stop perceiving that if a woman refrains from speaking for her rights or accepts to be beaten then she is a “Sharif” woman. No, she is weak and fails to understand her status, which her religion Islam has actually given her. Why was it so necessary to show the husband slapping his wife and not acceptable to show the wife slapping her husband? The answer is simple, because it would have defied the norm of our society. These roles have been assigned to the women by the media therefore they must never be questioned.