The number of actors who play controversial roles is, of course, now more than ever. Personally, I like people who take on slightly left characters. It’s refreshing. It’s also the type of inspiration that a lot of us look for in actors.
However the world is rapidly changing and the average person is consuming tons more than their predecessors did. We have more at our fingertips. The questionable nature of this content is uncontested. Its overwhelming presence is uncontested also.
Which is why the adage, “Acting is like any other profession and therefore actors have to make money”, has lost some traction with me. I have started to see actors absolutely as any other professional who shouldn’t be allowed to live two ideologically different lives. If art imitates life and life imitates art then an actor should act their lived ideology. Or something close to it. They should also object to unfavorable portrayals and bad writing.
I know many will argue this but here’s my argument. Would you like a physician to be pro-choice at work but adopt anti-choice practices in real life? Wouldn’t this make you skeptical of their belief system? Which one is it? Surely their personal pro-life beliefs don’t affect their patients who get to enjoy their choice with their physician but doesn’t it make anyone even a teensy bit uncomfortable about this blatant dichotomy?
If a woman leader advocated for women leadership and bringing in more women to lead but consistently hired men as part of her company’s policy, wouldn’t you question her feministic ideas? Sure, you would! And on good judgment.
Similarly our actors can’t be feminists by day and play misogynistic characters on our TVs at night. They can’t be men who believe in a society with high moral standards but play a lecherous ruffian through whose character toxic masculinity is glorified. We can’t say that we are progressive women with a deep regard for other women and continue to play dirty women who engage in petty politics and bring other women down, just because that’s what the script says.
Pakistan is seeing a lot of inappropriate depiction of women in its shows. Most of these roles are written by right-winged, conservative, culturally obtuse writers who are confused about their heritage and culture. They can’t accept that Pakistanis practice a culture which is largely Muslim and largely Pakistani too. Not all our decisions are dictated and motivated by religion. Some of the most religious people who will read this blog have interest-based bank accounts, are misogynistic, have a deep disregard for other Muslims, are judgmental and close-minded which are just few of the sins that Islam outlines.
So I’m going to hold our TV actresses responsible for how our women are being further marginalized and dehumanized. Our TV actresses are allowing misogynistic writers, who are both male and female, to portray them as the antithesis of the Pakistani woman. I know acting is their profession but our professional values make up most of who we are. Don’t they?