Feminism Theory In Bol Movie

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Representation of Patriarchy in Pakistani Media.

BY:  Iqra Rubab.


This study mainly focuses on the feminist representation of Pakistani media. “BOL” is a feminist movie which represents different ideologies of “FEMINISM”. This work highlights different aspects of feminism; wish for the birth of a boy, concept of the third gender, beating to women, and suppression. Women are limited to home, and they are considered as a voiceless creature. Throughout the story female roles are prominent. Our focus is directly concerned with SIMON DE BEAUVOIR concept of “SECOND SEX’’ which helps to shed light on this work. Two main characters are analyzed. Female characters are Zainab. The male character is called as HAKIM SAHAB. Many other themes are also under consideration for example concept of education for female. Finding and analysis show that “BOL’’ is a feminist film which highlights the place and status of women in Pakistani media. This study depicts the picture of patriarchy and it describes that how media reflects the status of the female.bol Article


Media plays an important role in modern society because it is considered as a reflection of society. Media acts as a mirror of society. Media reflects society its language, culture, norms, values and different ideologies.

The movie is part of media. A movie like other ways of media is a kind of platform which gives a true image of our society. Pakistani filmmaking industry is termed as LOLLYWOOD.  Before the separation of Pakistan, Bombay and Lahore were major areas for filmmaking. The first  Pakistani movie which was produced by Daud ( Teri Yaad ). Pakistani film industry got flourished in the 1980s. LOLLYWOOD faced many up and down from the 1980s to 2000. 21st century plays an important role in the development of cinemas. Major themes which are reflected in films; power, politics, male dominance, Female status, family problems, education etc.

“BOL”  is a feminist movie which is directed by Shoaib Mansoor.  “BOL” is Urdu word which means to speak, speak is here refers to feminist quality. The story started introducing main female character ZAINAB, who is punished by the court for killing her father.  She is introduced to the public in a jail setting. She is about to hang. She is insisted to “speak” by media. The whole story is narrated by Zainab who is the speaker of this movie.  She narrated it as that her father is a strict man who is Hakeem by profession. He is the male figure of the movie who has seven daughters and he has a strong desire for “the birth of a baby boy.  The eighth child which born at his home is not a girl. He seemed very happy but his happiness turned into hatred when his wife told him that this child is a transgender. He wanted to kill this child but his wife did not want to kill her child. She insisted for not killing this child. This child was named as “Saifi ”.

Mr. Hakeem hatred this child but he was loved by all the other members of the family. Zainab was married to a man, who physically tortured her and always kept on torturing her for not giving birth to a child.  She came back home because of misbehaving of his husband. Meanwhile, her mother gave birth to several children but all born dead which affected the health of the mother. Zainab took a step and got operated her mother.  But Mr. Hakeem did not have any knowledge about this step of Zainab. When his father came to know the truth he became very angry and even slapped Zainab. Meanwhile, another character is introduced  Mustafa who was a singer and lived in the neighbor. The second daughter falls in love with Mustafa, but her father did not agree with their marriage because  Mustafa is “Shia”. For financial need, Zainab took the help of Mustafa and Saifi got the job of painting the truck. His father did not have any information about the job of Saifi. Unfortunately, Saifi was raped.  When his father came to know, he killed Saifi. He bribed the police by giving two lac rupees for keeping his act as secret. He was forced to take money from MASJID funds.

When people asked about funds, he was compelled to do the job of teaching Holy QURAN. But this job did not help him a lot. On the advice of Saqa, he married Meena and a baby girl was born. He becomes worried about this very child. One day Meena came and gave her baby to Hakeem. But when saqa came to know he wanted to take this child back. Hakeem wanted to kill this baby but Zainab killed her father in order to save the life of her sister.  In the end, she raised many questions related to the status of female, poverty and all other problems which she faced.

Literature review:

Feminism is a thought or suggestion according to which women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to those of men. There are many theories and philosophies that play a very important role in resolving the issues of gender discrimination and equal rights of women.

There are predominant changes in the range of Feminism in western society from culture to law. Feminists work for equal rights of women and raise their voice against sexual harassment, abusive language, domestic violence and women rights in the workplace.

Skeggs in 1977 work for the women of the working community.  According to her women have to consider feminism as performance rather Identification. In this way, the sense of respectability increases in them. They also consider glamour, dressing, beauty, and self-regulation as a view of feminism, but it works as a constructive term for women (skeggs, 1977).

Thornham in 2000 in his work tried to explore the mystery and facts of women’s appearance in mass media. It was specifically about the fundamental society of America.  The writer focused on the position of women in modeling. On the other hand, he revealed that women are presented through media as an object of sex for men and by means of the family as mother and wives (Thornham,2000).

Codeel in 2007 revealed that gender and culture are two important perspectives of any society that are presented in the film. Feminist find out that there is no construct of gender by anyone; it is the society that explains these terms. In the film, industry girls are presented differently some good and some bad. On the other hand in films, men are presented as the main leading role in the movie but on another side, the female is presented as a glamour, beauty and as a desire for the audience (Codeel,2007).

Afia Shahrbano Zia in 2009 worked on ‘Reinvention of feminism’in Pakistan. In her work, she focuses on the significant role of feminist politics in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The purpose of new feminism is to empower the women in the Islamic Republic. Islamic discourse has non-confrontational, privatized and personalized objectives of empowerment of women. This work is a voice that targets the new coming generation in order to fulfill the rights of women within the framework of religion. (Afia Shahrbano zia, 2009)

Jennifer Siebel Newsom in 2011 worked on a documentary with the name ‘’Miss Representation’’. In her, she focused on the negative and limited portrayal of women that are presented specifically in Media. She has highlighted the objectification of women in media. Shed light on the comments of reporters and political figures about men and women and difference in the nature of comments. The purpose of work is to dismiss the gender stereotypes of both genders ( Jennifer Siebel Newsom,2011).

Baseer, Alvi, and Zafran in 2013 produced a paper by applying Kristeva’s concept of semiotic and symbolic language to investigate in detail The Doll’s  House by Ibsen. This work explores the patriarchy in a way that  ‘patriarchy is the major reason behind man’s dominance  and women are considered inferior because of the symbolic concept that is very much connected with the linguistic code of male dominant, it is not based on the semiotic use of language’’(Baseer,Alvi,&Zafran,2013)

Sara Rizvi in 2014 worked on ‘Stereotyping in Pakistani dramas’.  According to her in most of the Pakistani TV drama, women are portrayed as a figure of sacrifice who is considered to bear all the abuse, blame, and humiliation that is clearly depicted in Pakistani drama ‘’HUMSAFAR’’ a product of Hum TV (Sara Rizvi, 2014).

Anila Jamil and Beenish in 2015 worked on a paper in which they explore the Gender Discrimination against Pakistani Women in BOL movie by Mansoor. Feminist theory is used as a framework for their research. There is an implication of  Kristeva’s feministic view of  ‘’Gender Discrimination’’ in order to explain the women oppression and discrimination in rights from men. That is totally prohibited in our religion Islam  (Anila Jamil & Beenish, 2015).

Aqsa Iram Shahzadi in 2015 explored the movie BOL by Mansoor from the feministic point of view. To find the feministic ideology of different categories. the paper concludes that movie focuses on liberal feminist ideologies and division of power that is through language.  And how the ideologies are manipulated through media (Aqsa Iram Shahzadi, 2015).

Dr.Sarmitha Roy in 2016 works on the portrayal of women character in Pakistani Drama. Pakistani TV industry plays a very important role in entertainment from history to till now. The writer works on three different serials of TV, Numm (2013), Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012-2013), Humsafar(2011-2012). All the three protagonists of the dramas pass through the orthodox custom and sacrifice for their entire life. But they maintain their positive attitudes towards the difficulties of life and finally, they succeed to attain a respectable status. Women were presented differently in Pakistani and the Indian subcontinent (Dr.Sarmitha R.

Research Questions

RQ1-How feminism is presented in “BOL” movie?

RQ2– How the theme of self VS other is presented in this movie?


Main Theorist

Our study analyzed feminism in BOL movie on the base of Simone de Beauvoir major work “The second sex” According to him women are considered as secondary in the sexual relation.

          “One is not born, but one becomes, a woman”

Data collection and Analysis:

Data is collected by watching BOL movie 3 to 5 times. Different dialogues and theme are analyzed by focusing on the Dialogues of 2  major characters.




The title itself is feministic in nature.

A) Title of the MOVIE

1-‘Khuda  ka lia  Abi b maan Jay. Chor day Apni Zid. Hmra mashra main bhot si buriyan sirf is lia khtam ni ho rahi qk hm bolta nahi. Khamosh ho jata ha. Kabhi apni izzat k lia or kbhi kisi aur ki izzat key liya.’

(For GOD sake please accept it, do not be reluctant. In our society, most of the issues do not resolve because we do not SPEAK. We remain quit some time for our honor and some time for other)

Description: This is the first dialogue of this movie which is spoken by Mustafa who was trying to insist Zainab Speak. The word SPEAK is the title of this movie which is very important. The word ‘Bol’ means in English ‘Speak’

Women are considered as a voiceless creature and they are considered as other. They are not allowed to speak in the home as male are allowed. This movie focused on these aspects by portraying a story which is feministic in nature.

B-Dialogues of  Zainab

1-“Miyaan Sahib kay hath bhi un keh control main nahi thay.

(Hands of my husband was out of control)

Description: Zainab is pointing towards the harassment of her husband. Zainab was married to a man, who physically tortured her and always kept on torturing her for not giving birth. She came back to her parents because of the misbehavior of her husband.BOL img00


2-‘’Main ne es ghar ki abadi  Rokney  Keh liye Ami ka operation krwa diya’’

(To stop the population of the house I operated  MOTHER)

Description: Zainab is represented as the female character of this movie. She is very conscious of her rights. When her father went out of the home, she operated her mother. This is her dialogue to her father who got angry on this act of Zainab. Zainab is very disturbed upon this condition of the family. There are too many members in the family and their financial condition did not support them to bear the expenditures of any other member so she took this step.

This dialogue represents the reproductive rights of women .Women are suppressed for this factor and they are forced to give birth to baby boy.


3-Kash ma KHUDA hoti to har mard sa aik bacha janwati


May I be GOD, I order every man to give birth to a child.


Description: Zainab uttered these words while focusing on the suffering of her mother. She wished to be God so that she can order every MALE to give birth to a child. She uttered these words while concerning reproductive rights of the female. According to some critics, by saying that Zainab is shown as the anti Religious character of this movie.

C-Dialogues of HAKEEM

1-Khabbees! AURAT

(Bloody! woman)

Hakeem abused his daughter ZAINAB and this dialogues deals with the status of woman in the eyes of a man. Zainab took a step for the operation of her mother. But Mr. Hakeem did not have any knowledge about this step of Zainab. When his father came to know about the truth he becomes very angry and even slapped Zainab

Zainab answered

Mard Hain Na ABBA, Jahan Lajawab Huay HAT Chalna Lagna


 2-“Munh sy phooto gi ya lagaon aik”

(Will you speak shall I slap you?)

DESCRIPTION: Hakeem teased his wife and he wanted to slap his wife. This dialogue directly points toward the harassment of a husband. Zainab took a step of the operation for her mother. But Mr. Hakeem did not have any knowledge about this step of Zainab. He wanted to know the reason from his wife that what reason of not giving birth is?

3-“Haraam Khor!”

(Corrupt Entity!)

Description: Hakeem abused his daughter ZAINAB and this dialogue deals with the status of woman in the eyes of a man. She was taking the side of her sibling who is transgender and who was raped. She said to her Father what will happen if a transgender was supposed to be born in the last generation. She raised her voice against her Father will. He tried to slap his daughter and uttered these words.

4-“ Band Karo ye baqwas”          

(Shut your mouth)

Description: This is a dialogue of Hakeem showing male superiority over female. Women are considered as a voiceless creature. Women are considered inferior and they are limited to the home.

5-“Haath Utth jay ga haamra”

 (I will slap you)

Description: Zainab is raising her voice against her father which is not tolerable for her.  He uttered these words while forcing Zainab not to speak. These are words through which a person can express his hate for other. It may be killing or injuring someone. It may be physical torture and it may be a spiritual one. On one occasion when Zainab asked her father for the job due to financial circumstances and his father tried to kill her.


 My findings and analysis show that Bol movie is feministic in nature. Main characters reveal on the feministic ground. We highlight different themes of feminism such as the wish for the birth of a boy, concept of the third gender, beating to women and suppression etc.  Zainab and her father dialogues revolve around some major issue which are male dominance, the concept of Self and other, transgender and equality and women rights of reproduction. In short BOL movie illustrates the place and status of woman. It concludes that the eastern and western concept of feminism is entirely different from each other. Because there are the differences in ideologies. Women in mass media are presented from the point of view of masculinity desire and as a glamour to the audience. Media is now playing a positive role in portraying the real picture of our patriarchal society. BOL movie by Shoaib Mansoor is presenting the picture of Pakistani patriarchal society. Women are bound to house holding either as mother or wives. The male character Mian Sahab was presented as a religious figure but on the other hand, he was showing the harsh attitude towards the women. This work plays a positive role in the understanding of the reality of our patriarchal society that is portrayed in the movie BOL which is a feministic work.





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