Women International Film Festival: Media’s exploitation of women must end

Published: March 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD: With an emphasis on empowerment, there is a need to change the representation of women mainstream media.

This was cited by speakers while inaugurating the country’s first Women’s International Film Festival at the Pakistan National Council of Arts on Saturday.

Around 17 films from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Nigeria, UK and Mexico were screened. A panel comprising senior actor and PNCA director general Jamal Shah, singer Aaron Haroon Rashid, Sadaf Raza and Naima Ansari discussed the role of women in film and importance of promoting female voices in the industry.

Shah was of the view that while there were a number of women in the media, the mindset of seeing women as objects had not yet changed.

“Mainstream media is very exploitative and it thrives on exploiting gender – women – by objectifying them so that through the objectification of women they can titillate the audiences’ senses,” he said.

To a question why women were underrepresented or misrepresented, Shah said: “what else do you expect from the mainstream media.”

“I have never expected anything good from the mainstream media.”

Ansari stressed that there was a need to be serious about film as a profession since all one needed was their skill and creativity and not a lot of investment.

Rashid said that despite the fact that there were 80 television channels were either airing political talk shows or just fluff. He stressed on the need to utilise the medium for education and positive social messages.

Madeeha Raza, the founder and creative director of Women Through Film, said that “the event aims to create an interactive experience between filmmakers, film lovers, and like-minded individuals and have thoughtful conversations, awaken compassion, and inspire change.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2017.

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