Women in Pakistan, who are addicted to TV soap operas, mostly produced in India, are found to have high incidence of psychological problems.
TV soaps, like Kyon Key Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Koi Apna Sa, Saans, Sanskriti, Shagun, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Desh Mein Nikla HoGa Chand, have been so popular among Pakistani women that girls, housewives and elderly women alike are virtually addicted to them.
AdvertisementWomen, who are mostly confined to their homes, keep waiting for them, and when they are on air, abandon work, glue to the screens and won't like to be disturbed. In fact, the lengthy episodes are followed by detailed discussions on storyline, characters, dresses and speculative talk on what will happen next.
"Soap operas are very close to life and help women understand their problems, especially after marriage, and how to handle them. I've little time to watch TV, as I spend a lot of time out due to job but I never miss them," The Daily Times quoted Salima Khan, a schoolteacher, as saying.
For her, the soaps offer some very thought-provoking messages besides entertainment, and women could easily associate themselves with the soap characters for their being present around them.
But, taking a close look will reveal that mostly the episodes show a woman's victimization by another woman or women. Woman is shown making compromises and sacrifices for the family instead of rejecting injustices, both by in-laws and husband. And even she defies, she forgets the injustice done to her soon and patches up with the rivals.
Many women in the soaps are shown as a devil, which breaks families by playing dirty politics and in-house intrigues. The mother-in-law and sister-in-law mostly play the part of villain.
But the popularity is so much that Zarmeen Shahzadi, a housewife and a TC soap opera addict, even watched them during a ban on them a few years ago using VCD/DVD or Internet.
However, Naseema, a journalist, is of opinion that soap dramas are nothing more than family feuds and present issues and challenges faced by women in a negative manner and play with the emotions of emotionally weak women.
A workingwoman, Hameeda, said these soaps were for women who're work-shy and intriguers. She said soaps promoted violence against women, Indian traditions, norms and values etc.
However, there's a flip side to this growing popularity of soap operas with women. Psychologists report high incidence of psychological problems among women watching TV soaps.
On average, I attend to 10 to 15 women daily and many of them suffer from tension, anxiety and suspiciousness caused by Indian soap operas," said Dr Fawad Faisal of Shifa International Hospital Psychology Department.
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