Sunday, March 11, 2012

Switching Gender Roles in Khaliji Drama

The typical love story in Khaliji TV series is that of perfectly masculine man and a woman struggling with her femininity. Switching gender roles plays a vital role in turning the plot to the advantages of the lovers. According to Cinematic Sociology by Jean-Ann Sutherland and Kathryn Feltey: Gender is not just an identity or a status, it is continual process of negotiation; gender is something we do. (p.110) For a relationship to work, the man and the woman have to be profoundly different, more different than alike. If both the man and the woman are depicted as masculine there will be no chemistry between the both whatsoever. Zwarat Al-khamees is a Kuwaiti TV series that depicts a great example of this typical romance. The show talks about the brother/sister (brother) relationship between two cousins. The young woman (Moza) plays the role of the tomboy that helplessly falls in love with the cousin (Ez) she grew up with.
However, the cousin cannot see beyond the boyish looks and the tough shell of her masculine attitude. Throughout the show, we see the young woman trying to win his attention by turning into a more famine character, and only when she does, he notices her and eventually marries her. According to her, she must turn into a needy, compassionate, caring woman for him to see her as a different person. The romantic relationship cannot exist if both are tough and masculine. The difference between the two is what flares the chemistry. They have to be more different than alike for the relationship to work.
Zwarat Alkhamees along with many other shows touch on this problem, and the only solution is that the change of the female character from masculine to feminine. However, it is never the opposite, a man would never change from being masculine to feminine to bring something to the relationship, nor there would be a relationship if both the partners were alike. “Men are expected to maintain a masculinity that includes toughness bravado, strength, assurance and confidence all with little display of emotion. Women are expected to perform a femininity that exudes beauty, caring, nurturance, neediness and compassion, complete with every range of possible emotion.” (p.110)

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