Anam Fatima


The concept of honour and the resulting discourses have always affected women’s lives in Pakistan. This paper will utilize Butler’s theory of performativity and insights from feminist film theory and women’s history in Pakistan to critique and evaluate women’s representation in Pakistani popular cultural texts, and thus engage with the politics of gender in Pakistan. The methodological tools of content analysis and discourse analysis will be used to investigate the central research question that is: to what extent does the representation of women’s roles in contemporary Pakistani drama serials include traditionalist discourses of honour?’ It will thus examine that ‘how’ women are represented in Pakistani soap operas or drama serials and what it means to be a ‘honourable’ woman. This will reveal that despite modernization and increased female education and labor participation, honour discourses still continue to be the most dominant feature of a woman’s life on screen and in pop culture. Research shows that some of the most prominent concepts that are influenced by honour discourses include marriage, domestic violence, economic roles, labor participation, silencing of victims of sexual harassment or rape and even one’s religious standing. The study shows how important it is to investigate these cultural texts with gendered lenses and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges women in this part of the world face.

Author Biography

Anam focuses on politics of gender and identity in Pakistan, popular cultural texts and Pakistan’s history. She is a full-time lecturer at LUMS Lahore and a visiting faculty at FCC University Lahore. Anam has previously served as a research assistant at Politics and International Studies Department, University of Warwick, UK from where she got her MA in International Relations.