Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, October 14, 2010

Battle of the Sexes
Of Soaps and Sports

By Osama Rahman

DURING the World Cup this summer there was no stupid TV ad depicting soap opera characters doing retarded things. Thank God. There is a reason why women are shamed in most major advertisements. The reason is they are shallow, hence they watch soaps, which make absolutely no sense, and then they think sports are bad.

The unpredictability of sports is what makes it so exciting. Unless Pakistan is playing, you know the action is unscripted. Soap Operas on the other hand have no element of unpredictability. The plots, characters and sequence of events are all the same.

Independent woman gets married and is ill-treated by in-laws, yet manages to thwart the evil mother-in-law's attempts to kill her and manages to win the love of other characters in the family by sheer dedication. Or dark girl wins over husband by displaying other traits but in the end uses fairness products and gets great jobs. The above two is the plot line for every serial made in the history of the universe. So what makes women watch these repetitions throughout their lives apart from lack of brains? Nobody knows.

Hindi Serials, specifically, tell you that all things in life are uncertain. It also goes further to solidify the point that women really lack understanding. For example, at least one unmarried teenage girl in a family soap is bound to get pregnant before marriage. This revelation always comes as a shock to the girl as if she is the Virgin Mary, which she isn't. So why is she so shocked? Is it because she is still delusional about the Stork? No, it's because she is a girl and girls are always shown as unintelligent and tormented creatures, who always struggle for independence. Also, notice how every time someone vomits, she is said to be pregnant? Apparently Ekta Kapoor has never heard of 'food-poisoning'.

Isn't it also funny how every soap has a woman as the central figure? And then there is also the central anti-heroine, who is always plotting complex schemes to get rid of the daughter-in-law? The constant power play makes one wonder if they are contesting for presidency, when in reality the clash is regarding who gets to keep the keys to the tejori i.e. safe. This is just the height of stupidity. Who keeps a safe nowadays? What are banks supposed to be for then? And how come the females always have make up on, even if their husband dies or even if they have just woken up? Only females will be dumb enough to believe that it is coincidental each time the heroine wakes up at 4 am to eavesdrop, she is laden with jewellery and make up.

At least with sports, we get to discuss things that are ACTUALLY taking place and even bets can be placed. With soaps, everybody knows what's going to happen. Someone has an accident and has a plastic surgery, which is so advanced that even the character's height, weight and voice changes. How can intelligent people buy such a thing? Well they can't, thus soaps are catered to a women's sense of senselessness. This painful charade lasts entire decades, even though the character never ages. Also, when the actor playing the role decides to retire, someone who looks entirely different replaces his character but no one in the soap family seems to notice. How is that even possible? What if Chelsea suddenly decides to play Torres as Drogba? Wouldn't we notice? Of course we would because men notice nothings. Women just like creating issues.

In conclusion, sports are far better than soaps. It is also not about being macho but rather being sane and sensible. If soaps are a symbol of women's empowerment, then fair and lovely products should sponsor anti-racist events. Soaps prove the point we already know. Most women lack common sense and perception.

N.B- How old is Ba?

During the world cup this summer, there was this stupid ad on TV for Docomo or Vodafone or some other cell phone provider where it showed some emo-dude and his dumb girlfriend sitting in some park bench canoodling each other. So the girl has her eyes closed and that gives the boyfriend a chance to slip a blow-up doll in her arms and leave to go watch football instead. It was an ad for score updates to cell phones so you don't miss it while you're canoodling.

First of all, we are not that dumb. A blow up doll is made of plastic and feels nowhere near a real man.

Second of all, we'd much rather watch football too thank you very much, our boyfriends are nowhere near as good looking as the players are.

But the ad sort of brings to light the crazy obsession men have with sports.
The average male, if given the opportunity, will watch sports all day and all night, discuss sports continuously with other males and act as though sports really means something, while all constructive and meaningful activities mean squat.

They get way too involved in the game, as if they themselves are playing it and their life depends on winning. Then they'll argue 'it's the tactics that interest us' when clearly it's just the guys kicking around the stupid ball. What tactics? Get the ball and score in the other team's goal. That's not tactics, that's just common sense.

Things get so heated over opposing team supporters that civil war even threatens to break out. Then you see the players themselves get pissed and start beating each other up over stupid little things and you have to wonder 'what is up with that?'

Why does it matter who Manchester United is playing this weekend? Which team wins the game has absolutely no effect on any conceivable problem of life. It is hard to see how sports can even qualify as entertainment. It's just a ball being thrown around a field in exactly the same way it was done last week. Yet, you have male-bonding rituals happening in living rooms, cafes all around town with men transfixed and thoroughly entranced as though something important was happening. The silence only broken by groans, boos, profanities, the occasional “what the heck, I can do it better” or explosive cheering and vigorous whooping.
Some men, mostly the men playing said game, even have pre-game rituals. The Ecuadorian national soccer team enlists the help of a witch doctor/shaman/priest-type-dude to help them in calling for the aide of the supernatural spirits. The international New Zealand rugby team do a traditional Maori Haka dance. The Detroit Redwings of the NHL throw an octopus in the ice after scoring a goal (somebody call PETA for cases of animal abuse).

Maybe it has to do with all the emasculating that goes on nowadays. Have you noticed that the stronger women get, the more the male-folk get into their sports? It's their way to show us that yeah we're still in charge (when clearly, they are not, but we'll still let them think they are). They associate sports with the Ye Olden Days of the gladiators. Since MOST (notice how I didn't say all?) men have become increasingly more vain/feminine and are no longer in touch with their caveman/gladiator ancestors, they compensate by getting overly involved in a sports team thinking it makes them seem tough and manly.

It just seems ridiculous to be that crazy about a hoard of angry guys and a ball but, to each their own.

I mean, it's not like they're watching a soap opera!

By Musarrat Rahman




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