BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Date of Submission



Irum Iqbal Hussain, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This research paper explores the intersection of gender, mental health, and documentary filmmaking through an analysis of two documentaries: "Karachi's Forgotten Mad Women" by ARTE Documentary and "There is Something in the Air" by Irum Ghufran, to better understand the need for research on women's health in South Asia, focusing on mental health. The analysis involves two documentaries that shed light on the experiences of women in the region who are labeled and oppressed due to cultural and societal norms. The paper examines the construction of gender and madness within the documentaries, drawing on the works of Butler and Beauvoir, to understand the construction of gender and its implications for women's lives, following it with studying the effectiveness of perceived safe spaces for women's rehabilitation, Foucault's concept of power is used to examine the role of institutions. And to deconstruct the documentary and its impact on the viewer, Nichols' idea of documentary gaze, and the production and reception of these films is explored. The two documentaries' analyses shed light on the stigma associated with mental illness and the consequences for women. The documentary analysis dispels stereotypes and highlights the importance of researching women's lives in South Asia. It recognizes that mental health is still a taboo subject in South Asia and emphasizes how crucial it is to address and destigmatize this problem. And further research in these areas will provide a more nuanced understanding of women's experiences, improving interventions and support systems.



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