(Un)Screening Objectification

Women in Pakistani Films


  • Neelum Almas Department of English, Foundation University, Rawalpindi
  • Shaheena Ayub Bhatti Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi


Feminism, objectification, Martha Nussbaum, film studies, denial of autonomy, instrumentality, inertness, denial of subjectivity, ownership


Pakistani films are regaining popularity and a stream of young directors from the world of television is marking the development of a new era for cinema in Pakistan. This new wave of films that are attracting the urban educated, typically-averse-to-Pakistani- ventures-viewers to cinema is being appreciated and lauded for its efforts. Attention must be paid to the type of subjects and stories these film makers are producing for the audience today. This article seeks to explore the very sensitive and important issue of female objectification with Martha Nussbaum’s objectification theory as the theoretical perspective. Nussbaum’s theory focuses on the issue of objectification from a unique perspective i.e. the objectification of the personhood rather than the body. The essay is delimited to two films from the year 2015: Jawani Phir Nahi Ani and Wrong No and explores how these films portray the objectification of the female characters. The article concludes that women in the selected contemporary Pakistani films have not yet been able to do away with the objectification of personhood. The women characters in the films may be presented as apparently strong and powerful women who are working with men but a close look at their representation confirms that there is a long way to go in liberating women in Pakistani cinema from the stereotypical passivity and lack of agency that has been traditionally assigned to them.







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