Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Melodrama Queens

Along with Ramazan and Eid come those funny programs that they show every year: the soap operas. Sadly, I don't have a satellite, and of course there aren't any of those shows on American cable T.V., so I have to outsource for my criticism here. I found some good criticism about Arab dramas on a blog called Sugar Cubes. I've included the majority of the post, but you can see the whole page here.

"On Arabic Drama Series"

Like I said in previous posts, I haven’t really watched any Arabic drama series for over a year now since I’m not living with my family anymore and I don’t have to watch Arab actors and actresses being paid for lousy performances and custom-designed roles. I sometimes wonder if someone out there is cracking up and pointing at us while we’re all mesmerized by the really powerful emotions, really tooooo much going on the screen. Especially when girls are typically humiliated in every single Arabic soap, sometimes for something as silly as liking a guy, and sometimes for wanting to have a dignified life like a real adult and refusing to be a subordinate with a half-life; how can anyone not laugh when we’re clearly our own worst enemies, we encourage productions that stereotype both men and women and normalize mistreatment of women and domestic abuse.

What Arabic soap operas have in common is the re-enforcement of wrong doings. Some might not care about this, but the mind needs a little more than a pointless story that makes one go ohhhh, awwww, and waaaaaaa. In all the scenarios that made it to the silver screen, girls are often beaten but never even seeking justice! Women are always suffering as if to say this is the normal status, you suffer because you’re a female, it comes with the curves and all you can do is pray for sympathy, granted of course that you should be thankful IF you get it.

Tears are plenty
Really powerful emotions
More tears are generously wasted
And then: submission! to everything, abusive parents, stupid neighbors, cheating husband, discrimination…etc

If this is not brain-washing I don’t know what is. Intentionally or not, it doesn’t matter. In fact, if it’s no one’s intention to portray women and men in a certain way on TV for all these years, then people in general -the makers of these shows and those watching them- are in need of serious help.

Year after year since the day I was born our talented TV people continued to waste money, effort and time producing drama series to show us how people lived in the past.

Dear TV people, WE GET IT! You don’t have to do it every year, Syrian niqabi women in black clothes who kiss the feet of their husbands and call them “my cousin”, young women treated as if they committed adultery by being in the same OPEN SPACE with a man for less than 5 minutes, men who talk like animals thinking that it’s manly when they talk like that, wives being yelled and threatened if God forbids they ask their husbands where they’re going…wallah, we get it. What they don’t get is that that era is over, and so is teaching us about it. And no there’s nothing to learn from all of that! What happens is that you get some sick people who wish those days when men were enabled to be big jerks are back.

And you see people getting all emotional watching that sort of things. They sympathize. Every year, every drama series, they sympathize with those men who treat their women like third-rate human beings. They cry with the girl who couldn’t marry the guy she loves because people knew she has feelings for him. No one cries because her father beat the shit out of her, after all, this is understandable but they just can’t help feel sorry for her. I kind of don’t blame people though, I mean usually the girl doesn’t really mind it nor feels bitter about it, she’s often sad and sorry. Never angry or disappointed. The father is not that sorry either.

What? He was overwhelmed with anger and frustration
So he whipped her
You know, instinct and stuff
Just like animals

But people watch anyway. They say it’s entertaining, but I don’t see how. If I make the time everyday to watch a drama series that is being duplicated at least every year, how is that not a scam? Don’t people get bored? Seriously, everything else aside, it’s boring! If you want me to stay home every day just to watch something on TV, show some respect to my mind and don’t repeat yourself. And this goes to actors and actresses too, play a new role once in a while, it won’t hurt your CV, trust me.