Discuss the background of the two Oscar-winning documentaries by Sharmeen Obaid.

Discuss the background of the two Oscar-winning documentaries by Sharmeen Obaid.

CSS Solved Gender Studies Past Paper 2020 | Discuss the background of the two Oscar-winning documentaries by Sharmeen Obaid.

The following question of Gender Studies is solved by Ismat Younus, the highest scorer in CSS Gender Studies. Moreover, the question is attempted on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown:

In this question, the examiner seeks the historical perspective of the two Oscar-Winning Documentaries by Sharmeen Obaid. First of all, introduce the topic and write a comprehensive introduction of the whole question. Then explain the history of both documentaries and shed some light on the types of violence seen in both cases and then the impacts of these documentaries on Pakistani society. Hereafter, the student must conclude the question comprehensively.

Outline

1- Introduction

Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has made documentaries on different types of social injustices that happened to women. She has been awarded Oscars for two documentaries named saving face, and A girl in the river.

2- About the Author

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is a Canadian journalist, filmmaker, and activist known for her work in films that highlight inequality for women. 

3- Historical background of saving face

The film is based on the women of Pakistan who have been subjected to acid violence. It follows a plastic surgeon by the name of Dr. Muhammad Jawad, who performs reconstructive surgery on women who have had acid thrown on their faces.

  • Types of violence in saving face
    • ✓Domestic Violence
    • ✓Acid attack
    • ✓Structural violence

4- Historical background of A girl in the river

A Girl in the River, a documentary about 19-year-old Saba, whose uncle and father try to kill her when she marries a man of her choosing.

  • Types of violence in A girl in the river
    “One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time”, states Nicole Kidman, a UN ambassador.
    • ✓Honor killing
    • ✓Family pressure

5- Impact of documentaries on Pakistan

6- Conclusion

Answer to the question

Introduction

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made history on February 26, 2012, becoming the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award for her short documentary Saving Face. Saving Face showcases the plight of hundreds of women across Pakistan who fall victim to acid violence each year. It tells the stories of two acid-attack survivors, Zakia and Rukhsana, their arduous attempts to bring their assailants to justice, and the charitable work of London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who strives to help these women put this horrific act behind them and move on with their lives. In 2016, she won her second Oscar for ‘A Girl in the River, which has incredibly positive messages in it, too: a policeman who is a hero, a doctor who is a hero, and a lawyer who is a hero. The documentary follows the story of a nineteen-year-old girl, who survives an honor killing attempt by her father and uncle. The protagonist has a solid stance on not forgiving her attackers; however, the public pressures her into forgiving. By doing that, the attackers are freed and can return home. Both documentaries show the patriarchal culture of Pakistani society and depict structural and direct violence in the form of honor killing and domestic violence. These documentaries are an intimate look inside Pakistani society, illuminating each woman’s journey while showing how reformers are tackling this vexing problem.

About the Author

Pakistani education activist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made it to The New York Times’s Women of Impact list this month, April 2015, as the Times celebrated 50 women who have made the biggest difference in the world over the last year. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s most recent film, Song of Lahore, received a standing ovation at the Tribeca Film Festival. She made history on February 26, 2012, becoming the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award for her short documentary Saving Face. Investigative journalist and visual storyteller, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, has also become the first Pakistani to win an International Emmy Award. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was a faculty member in the media sciences department at SZABIST (Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Karachi). She started her film company, SOC Films, in Karachi in November 2011. She is also the president of The Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Cultural and Historic Preservation. (CAP).

Historical background of Saving Face

The film starts with London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, going to Pakistan to operate on Zakia, who wanted a divorce from her husband but could not get the divorce because her husband believed it was a matter of honor. So when she went to court to do so, he said he’d make an example of her, and right outside the main courtroom, he threw acid on her face. Another woman, Rukhsana, says her husband threw acid onto her face, and then her sister-in-law threw gasoline on her and her mother-in-law set her afire. They locked her in a room, intending for her to die. The husband was arrested and looks straight into the camera while saying his wife set herself on fire. This heartbreaking film has relevance to the cruelties toward women that are sanctioned in many lands. 

Types of violence in “Saving Face.”

In Pakistan, at least 100 cases of acid violence are reported each year.

United Nations

Acid attacks happen around the world, but they are most prevalent in South Asia. Nearly 80% of victims are women, and most of the assailants are men, often husbands, fathers, and rejected suitors. It’s a kind of honour crime, most frequently committed against women who have dared to reject sexual advances, turn down a marriage proposal, or seek a divorce.

  • ✓Domestic violence
    In the case of Zakia, her husband was a drug addict and used to beat her frequently. About 70 to 90 per cent of Pakistani women are subjected to domestic violence. Domestic violence perpetrated upon a spouse can precede the mistreatment of children; this can, in turn, leave a long-term emotional and psychological impact, such as behavioral disturbances, with the child replicating the abuse. 
  • ✓Acid attack
    Zakia faced an acid attack after her exit from the courtroom. According to the Acid Survivors Trust International, 80% of acid attack victims are women, making it part of gender-based violence.
  • ✓Structural violence
    Rukhsana, an acid survivor, had to reconcile with her husband because she has no societal support to bring her children up.

Historical background of “A girl in the river: The Price of Forgiveness.” 

The story starts with a girl named Saba. Saba wanted to marry a guy named Qaiser. Saba’s family had issues with her marrying the guy, as he did not belong to the same financial strata, and the family too didn’t have the same social standing as Saba’s family. The father and uncle wanted to marry her to a person of their choice. But Saba didn’t listen to them. Without telling them, she went and did a court marriage with Qaiser. The father and uncle, though infuriated more than ever, realized that they could not do much now. So they went to Qaiser’s house and asked Saba to come with them so that they at least get to do the rituals properly and marry her according to the customs. It was a respite for the couple that, despite the hurdles, they could now live in peace. But Saba’s father and uncle had something else in their mind. On the way back, they stopped their car on a deserted road near a river. Both of them started beating her mercilessly. The father took out the gun to shoot her. The plan was to kill her and dump her into the river. But at that point, some divine intervention happened. She resisted, and the bullet, which was destined to pierce her temple area got, misfired and brushed her cheeks, leaving her severely wounded but not dead. The family got paranoid. Too scared to fire another round, they put her inside a sack, tied it, and threw her into the river. Somehow the knot opened by itself, and Saba was able to come out from the sack she was put into. Almost lifeless and experiencing agonizing pain, Saba crawled back to life. Doctors treated her, and the police authorities started to investigate the case. 

Types of violence in “A girl in the river.”

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time”, states Nicole Kidman, a UN ambassador.

  • ✓Honor killing
    On asking Saba’s father whether he was ashamed of what he had done, he replied that he was not ashamed. He said that he was proud of what he did. He is sure that this would in turn bring more honor to his family.
  • ✓Family pressure
    In this case, society forced Saba and her husband’s family to reach an amicable compromise. Everybody except Saba believed that the father and uncle had done no such wrong that they should rot in the prison. And so eventually, she is coerced to take back the case against her father and Uncle. 

Impacts of documentaries on Pakistani society

As an investigative journalist, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy feels that she has to address issues that people do not want to discuss. It is important to address issues instead of running away from them, and the first step is to accept that we have faults, just like every other country.

  • ✓ Her films have helped spread messages to communities that have previously been unaware of issues.
  • ✓ Communities have become better equipped at addressing and spreading awareness about these issues. With the help of the media, non-governmental organizations, and the active public, people can organize into bodies that can effectively combat violence against marginalized communities.
  • ✓ These films will now be able to reach a wider audience. Their main goal was to tell their story and showcase the way many women around the world are impacted by acid violence.
  • ✓ She gives such criticism short shrift, pointing out that “honour” killings have been a focus for activists within Pakistan for decades, while her film’s contribution was to bring this to national and international attention.
  • ✓ In 2016, she won her second Oscar for A Girl in the River. After her win, a previously stalled “honour” killing bill was passed in Pakistan.

Conclusion

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won Oscar for her two documentaries: Saving Face and A Girl in the River. Saving Face highlighted Acid violence that is most prevalent in the Seraiki belt in the Punjab province. Officially, there are over 100 cases of acid violence reported in Pakistan every year, though it is estimated that the real numbers are far higher. This documentary reported about the acid victims who met with a doctor to save their faces. In 2016, she won her second Oscar for A Girl in the River, a documentary about 19-year-old Saba, whose uncle and father try to kill her when she marries a man of her choosing. Both these documentaries show different types of violence against women. However, the narrative of these films was to engage the audiences and bring light to these issues. After watching the movie, A Girl in the River, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif asked his team to redraft laws on honour killings to ensure that perpetrators are punished and victims are protected. It gave hope to many women around the country who are still struggling for the basic rights of their survival.

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