When it comes to Indian TV soaps, we're constantly shown female characters who embody traits that inadvertently impact the way women view themselves and other women.
So here are some TV tropes we think the audience can do without, because TBH, they're kind of outdated now.
1. The Adarsh Bahu.
There is always that TV bahu who can handle the family business, and take care of her partner's every need, and take care of her father-in-law and her husband's brother's kids. She's that sanskaari bahu who mollycoddles the men in her life, and is an overachiever in every way. But why is the standard of being a good daughter-in-law so unrealistic and high?
2. The 'Modern' Woman.
The woman who's too ‘modern’ to co-exist with a sanskaari family. She’s too ambitious, too independent and definitely, doesn’t wear the kind of clothes to be deemed a ‘good’ woman. And most often, it’s the vamp. A woman can be fashionable, ambitious and a good person, without always agreeing to traditions. No labels, please.
3. Every Woman 'Has To' Be A Mother.
Why are all women on TV expected to have maternal instincts? It's as if the perfect woman always loves kids, and wants to be a mother. The protagonist simply cannot be the protagonist if she doesn't have a soft spot for children. Are women who don't want to be mothers not worthy of respect or good people?
4. The Trope Of ‘Ugly Turns Pretty.'
Ever noticed how female characters who aren't conventionally pretty always undergo a makeover or transformation? There's always a character who's too dark skinned, or not the 'right' size. Then, they're turned into some version of themselves that can fit into society's bizarre beauty standards.
5. Only Women Who Compromise Are 'Sanskaari.'
Why do they always show TV heroines bending backwards for the sake of everyone's comfort? So, if a woman doesn't adjust to other people's needs, and isn't in some way self-sacrificial and compromising, then she's not sanskaari?
6. The Overly Jealous Woman.
Because as much as jealousy is a natural emotion, showing two women fighting for the spotlight, or a man’s attention is getting old now. And the audience needs to see better female relationships. The whole narrative needs to stop being used to add spice in shows.
7. The Therapist Girlfriend/Wife.
Then, why is there always a character who is shown to take on way too much emotional labour for her husband/partner? And at times, she's even seen catering to an absolute man child! Of course, being supportive of a partner is great, but when one person in the relationship is depending on the other unfairly, that is a co-dependent dynamic.
8. The Women Who Enable Patriarchy.
One other character you'll always find on TV is the woman who always keeps her daughter in check. These are female characters who truly believe that women aren't supposed to walk alongside men. And while women like these do exist in real life, we're just tired of seeing women tear each other down. And maybe, if we change and alter a few things on TV, that'll start to reflect in our society.
9. The Evil MIL.
Come on, not all mothers-in-law are scheming on how to make their bahu's daal extra salty. Many are in fact, respectful, warm and loving. TV shows always have that one MIL who doesn't hold her son accountable and blames everything on her daughter-in-law. Another example of how we constantly see women tearing each other down on TV. We say turn the melodrama down a notch, and stop making the characters so black and white.
10. The Divorced Woman.
We've seen this trope repeatedly. Why aren't divorced men shown in the same light as divorced women on TV? A divorced woman generally faces a world of judgement about ... well, being divorced. But a male character who's divorced usually has a valid reason for it, and can get married again at any given age!
11. The ‘Home Wrecker.’
Whenever we see infidelity on television, the blame is always shifted onto the woman who the man cheats with. Whereas it's just as much (in fact, more so) the man's fault if he steps out on a commitment. Sure, it's inconsiderate to encroach on a relationship, but it's definitely worse to disrespect one that you're already in.
We deserve better female characters for sure.