A knee-length Kurta, paired with a mandatory Dupatta, long black shiny hair, make-up free face, timid to the core who knows how to do every single household chore.
The aforementioned qualities are the anatomy of a “Good Indian Girl” as per the narrative of our silver screen. Additionally, she knows how to cook delicious food because as Kokila Modi (an artist of Saath Nibhana Sathiya serial) once said “Ek aadmi ke dil ka raasta uski pet (stomach) se ho kar guzarta hai” but doesn’t every single person on this earth love scrumptious food?
Bounded within four walls of her house she doesn’t know what the outside world looks like. Once her graduation is completed, she is married off, and she always accepts the family her parents choose, love marriage is a myth in most Indian daily soaps. There are many Indian serials that glorify arrange marriage and forced marriage which is bigotry in disguise.
A woman who never counter-reacts shares her opinion or even has a stance in any matter even if it’s her life decision -there is literally no difference between her and a cow. She is portrayed as crying, whining and sobbing in almost every circumstances. That’s your typical “good woman”, eventually that’s how the makers of Indian daily soaps display the character of a good girl which is absurd, isn’t it?
I cannot emphasise the fact that strong protagonist (which happens once in a blue moon) too are stereotyped on our silver screen. Even if there is any particular show where we see strong and empowered women (a rare sight) onscreen like in the daily soap of Star Plus channel, ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ where the protagonist was shown as an IPS officer who has to wear a saree at home that too on a daily basis. That’s all a daily soap has in store for us.
The question I want to ask the creator of Indian daily soaps is that “why a woman’s life is glorified only by her clothes, and cooking skills?”I have never seen any “good women” in jeans, shorts or any other piece of attire rather than suits and saree. The character of vamps/”bad woman” on the other hand in TV serials have many loopholes and are shown as loud-mouth, opinionated, wicked women who wear short clothes, cut sleeve blouse, her face is covered in heavy make-up, and she carries short or untied hair.
The way serials depict a good girl image is worrisome and futile, one of the reason is that we are living in the age of OTT platforms through which 29 million people of India consume anything from anywhere at any time and TV serials are the utmost priority of Indian people and TV viewership in India is rising day by day.
Since millions of Indians are watching daily soaps the narrative will obviously stick in their minds and people will start judging a woman on the scale of the domesticated things they do.
Women of the 21st century are busting stereotypes and struggling to make their way through the bigoted system which is commendable but our audio-visual mode of communication is still adhering to the stereotypical portrayal of a good woman. Indian daily soaps should change the narratives and go beyond conventionalizing the character display of a decent woman.