For many of us, television drama can be an enriching part of our living experience, defining many of our day-to-day conversations with family members, co-workers and social network friends. But what happens if drama series go too far in fantasizing about our life situations by presenting us with unreal representations of events, issues and personalities that we find hard to identify with?
During this past Ramadan, I found two different soap operas tackling stories of Arab women from different perspectives quite misleading. One of them, Banat El ‘Aileh (The Family Girls), a Syrian production, tells the story of seven cousins, and the challenges facing young women at work, at home, and in relationship contexts.
The Family Girls introduces success stories of women who excelled at workplaces and at home alike, turning them into role models for other women in society. For example, Sara, the main character, is a successful radio anchor. She is engaged to a successful businessman, but fails to experience true romance in her life. One of her avid radio show listeners falls in love with her, chasing her wherever she goes. Because it has to end in a happy way, Sara leaves her fiancé for this lover, who believes in her career and success.
The other six cousins have similar stories, but this is not the real issue here. For me personally, watching bloody scenes of civilian killings on television makes it rather agonizing for me to switch the channel to The Family Girls. It is as if I wanted to be cheated into believing the situation in Syria is fine and the drama series was proof of that. One the one hand, it feels good to see women finally becoming walking up the ladder of achievement in society, but it saddens me to see those drama-generated dreams dashed against the bloody conflict in which women and children are the prime victims. [Read more...]