Betiyaan, a new TV serial currently on air on ARY Digital, is another agenda-driven TV show with an overt message about a specific issue. As the title suggests, Betiyaan brazenly jumps on the women’s empowerment bandwagon to feature two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to gender equality and empowerment of women equal to men in all spheres of life.
The trend, which has been more pronounced in the world of entertainment for the last couple of decades in particular, can easily be referred to as a new creative genre, especially when it comes to scriptwriting, filmmaking and TV production. This is not a coincidence in any way.
However, what makes such plays a prosaic piece of entertainment is a blatant attempt at narrating the story within the ambit of pre-defined guidelines that too with the help of spinning the story in place of portraying the absolute truth in its entirety.
Apotheosizing a specific gender while belittling the other, Betiyaan stands out from the rest of the same ilk, because of its seemingly hallowed and beatified but problematic title, which sounds enough to endorse the overriding motif behind making of such TV serials.
What’s even more disturbing in such vapid stories is a well-thought-out contrivance to defy the classic norms to establish the modern ones. Betiyaan happens to be yet another egregious effort to put accent on the victimhood of women through a glamorised falsehood and unilateral depiction of facts as well as repeated propagation of the women’s rights movement in a world, which is predominantly ruled by men because of his unsurpassed excellence driven by natural selection in lieu of purported gender inequality and injustice or usurped women’s rights.
On the one hand, the makers behind Betiyaan and the rest of the UN agenda-driven shows tend to portray an ideal woman as a wholly independent creature who can lead her life on her own without anybody’s help, particularly of men. Being an autonomous being, she has her own distinct identity and thus should always be recognised on the basis of her individual identity in place of being called by virtue of her association or relationship with men.
A woman, as the modern thought goes, is neither a daughter nor a mother or sister of any man; she is a woman more than anything else. Unlike the popular idea, however, most TV serials like Betiyaan resort to employing revered words like daughter, mother and sister to market their women’s empowerment mission but through an unabashed exploitation of men, emotionally and cognitively. Surprisingly, the very independent woman, who boasts of an unmatched individuality from head to toe and does not need a man to lead her life on her own terms, is shown taking refuge in the ambit of male guardianship, this time being an obedient daughter, a loving sister or a submissive wife.
Someone who is a past-master in making an instant switch from self-autonomy to male submission and vice versa only to satisfy her needs, the true story of the new woman is yet to be told on merit.
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