Barbie has been one of the most anticipated films all over the world. Even in Pakistan where the film going culture isn’t as passionate as other places in the world saw a decent amount of excitement for the film. But the iconic character’s film release in the country has been marred with some controversy. The censor boards in Pakistan have had a strange history when it comes to banning and allowing films to play at cinemas.
There are three censor boards in Pakistan which are the Punjab Censor Board for Punjab, Sindh Censor Board for Sindh and the Central Censor Board for the rest of the provinces and areas. Out of all of these, the Punjab Censor Board had opted to review the film again as it contained a “gay character”. It is not the first time that a film has faced censorship on the basis of LGBTQ content, the recent film being Pakistan’s own “Joyland” which received international acclaim. Now it is up to the Punjab Censor Board to review the film again and allow it to release across Punjab.
Interestingly it is not the first time Barbie has faced these sort of things in Pakistan. Even though there hasn’t been an outright ban, over the years conservative religious groups have expressed censorship on Barbie dolls as they think it represented the western culture and clashed with the values of the Pakistani society. To conclude, all of this just shows how conservative we are as a nation and how desperate we are to censor and ban anything that does not adhere to our point of view.
The writer is a student of Department of Journalism at Punjab University, Lahore and she can be reached at: [email protected]