Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

Traditional Gender Roles Enacted by Men and Women in Azerbaijani Cinema

  • Zumrud Jalilova
This article aims to demonstrate traditional roles and relationships depicted in Azerbaijani films in order to dismantle and address some of the alarming gender attitudes and mind-sets that continue to have a toxic effect on lives of the nation. Nowadays television, radio, and the Internet are major sources of information, and film is inevitably a very powerful form of extremely popular art. People learn from movies and media more than from any other source of information. Therefore, if we want to understand our society and its gender problems, we have to understand the images and stories that people encounter. This article analyzes scenarios with (often disparaging) portrayals of women that contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of leadership and build stereotypical expectations. Scenarios where roles are enacted by males and females showcase men in traditional masculine stereotypes while women tend to be in purely decorative portrayals or in mother roles, which is the ultimate feminine achievement in Azerbaijan. The article provides comparative analysis of widely watched “classic” movies along with modern-day motion pictures directed by young filmmakers in the attempt to bring positive changes. It is the objective of this article to present films directed in different times that distinctly demonstrate the negative impact of traditional gender roles and its molding effect.