Sex, Lies and Soap Operas

Can a TV show reform gender relations in India?

Sex, Lies and Soap Operas With acid attacks, marital rape and violence commonplace, India is often labelled as a dangerous place to be a woman. Can a TV show break taboos and ignite social progress towards gender equality?

Subjects as basic as menstruation carry a weight of stigma in India. Now these taboos are being dismantled through an immensely popular medium - the soap opera. "We'll be able to reach a large audience because they were actually thinking it's like a regular courtroom drama. And once they come in, they get something which they were not expecting", explains Feroz Abbas Khan, the director. "This is not done to titillate...Topics that are not discussed openly, we want to bring that into open." Although the show is sparking discussion, with men making up 50% of the audience, for Kavita change is coming far too late. Her husband attacked her with acid because of his patriarchal views. "He was jealous that I work and stand on my own two feet. They don’t want women to work, they feel disrespected."

Produced by Dateline, SBS Australia.

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