One of most revered comedy series these days is undoubtedly Quddusi Sahab ki Bewah. The mass following of the serial might be attributed to actress Hina Dilpazeer, who for sure is a conspicuous name in comedy-and surely not without reason. Desolately though the underlying theme of this particular drama embodies the deepest of human bias, naked prejudice and ardent assertion of objectifying human looks in purest (and shallowest) physical terms.
The daughter of the central character is unmarried and conventionally “ugly”. She is aged, fat, wheatish as opposed to traditionally worshiped young, slender and fair. And yes she is stupid, just like most of our local media associates such physical traits with dimwits. She fancies young handsome men and is shown day dreaming of prince charmings. And that’s comic, since ugly fat women are legally barred to do so. As opposed to her physical appearance, she deems herself pretty and worthy to be desired. All of this is used as a pedestal to cook up a comedy. The punch line is the oblivion of that woman to her unappealing looks and subsequent denial of the social and cultural ground realities. In case you can’t pin the problem here, this site doesn’t seem like the ideal place for you.
As if this wasn’t ‘funny’ enough, the next fodder for laughter is a dwarf man. What should give you fits of laughter is the fact that he is a dwarf. To spice it further, he is married to a normal heighted woman. Not the most original of ideas however, such short heighted men for decades are used in drama industry as comic characters. They are mostly depicted as awfully immature mentally, made to act silly and are poked fun for their short stature. In this drama, his wife rebukes him and beats him up whenever he is not ‘obedient’ enough-his humiliation in short is the axis of comic logic here.
As a kid, based off media expression I genuinely considered such people challenged not only in physical growth but psychological as well. It was an ignorant perception, but was structured solely and innocently on what TV taught me. And since I never particularly confirmed this fact from an elder I received quite a shock when I first encountered a significantly short statured man. The first shock was the fact that the man had an exceedingly stern look on his face as opposed to the asinine expressions dramas usually show cased them supporting. The second blow was that he was not acting idiotic but was dead serious and spartanly engrossed in his work at a car workshop. To say I was a hopelessly confused kid that day would be an understatement.
Now the no-drama type folks might feel too keyed up to clobber down ‘desi’ media and its respective audience from their elevated world of enlightened wisdom but let me give a sad reality check. The idealization of physical beauty in passionate or grotesque forms is not confined to local media. Even theoretically the most advance mediums of art are not immune to it. It can be as basic a level as the classics we treasure in our book shelves or the flashy Hollywood movies we keep track of through imdb. The central sweetheart in Notebook was blonde and blue eyed for a reason. Would the daring Lara Croft appealed to audience as much if she wasn’t all that sizzling hot with a ridiculously over sized bosom? And we probably wouldn’t have cried rivers for Rose when Titanic sank if she wasn’t Kate Winslet. Oh and why is the villain always not-so-beautiful or not-beautiful-at-all as if their looks descended with a divinely ordained cursed fate? Even in the finest literature specimens why is the lead character for most part aesthetically appealing? Would Cinderella be as celebrated a story if the step sisters despite their vile nature were beautiful (with tiny feet) and Cinderella was the one destiny smacked with plain looks? And snow white is well, snow white. Exceptions surely are there but for most part innocence and purity are synonymous with delicate beauties and valor, heroism with finely sculptured men.
Fanatical reverence for physical beauty is ironically that one unique religion which is irrelevant to race, gender, nationality or civilization. It runs thick and deep in all of us-albeit in dissimilar levels or forms. Realistically speaking, it will shackle human psyche till the end in all probability. But we can start by questioning ourselves-to at least acknowledge this treacherous manipulation. Consequentially, we may or may not fall to its pit. But even in the latter case, recognition of what reins our mind at least compliments a minimum level of human intellect.