Doctor Salam-Salmaoui Rauha

149300 €

Flawed, Real and Marginalized: Exploring emergent genders in Pakistani online streaming media

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

Pakistan’s society is dominantly a heteropatriarchy in which gender is located at a nexus of religion, ethnicities, and class. Mainstream Pakistani media have played a crucial role in the naturalizing heteropatriarchal gender roles where women are portrayed only as mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters while men are depicted as strong, independent, authoritative, and powerful. These representations leave little space for depiction of alternative gender identities such as LGBTQ+ people. Until recently, the portrayal of transgender people has been unforgiving and biased. Similarly, the LGBTQ+ community has suffered an even worse fate. The politicization and criminalization of LGBTQ+ as deviances on religious grounds have resulted in the complete absence of this community in the national media thereby, ensuring the erasure of their voices and their issues such as being subjected to violent death after coming out. This study explores how in Pakistan, an online (OTT) media platform webseries Churails (Witches) subverts patriarchal gender norms and takes up taboo issues (e.g. child marriage, harassment, forced marriage, abuse, transphobia, homosexuality, and society's obsession with whiteness) that have been overlooked and even banned in the mainstream electronic media. Given the way it puts non-conformist women and LGBTQ+ at the centre stage, the series was banned in Pakistan after a backlash over a clip that went viral on social media. The project is divided into into two complementary studies. The first study utilizes Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis to examine the webseries’ discourse while the second interview-based study analyses how Pakistani men and women have received the series. Such an exploration of genders may lead to bridge different views about gender and foster a discourse that emphasizes ‘both/and’ or ‘and/and’ rather than ‘either/or’ dichotomous categorizations thereby giving voice to groups who have previously not been heard in public.