Paper ID:7199

Macho Icons Going Places

Muhammad Asghar1 & Muhammad Arshad Rehmani2

1Institute of Art and Design, Government College University, New Civil Lines Campus, Near Regency Plaza, 38000 Faisalabad, Pakistan

2Institute of Art and Design, University of Sargodha, University Road, 40100 Sargodha, Pakistan

E-mail: asghar@daad-alumni.de

Received February 21st, 2018, Revised October 30th, 2018, Accepted for publication May. 22nd, 2019.

Abstract. This paper is an exploration of increasing trend of popular macho representations on the back of three-wheeled auto rickshaws in Punjab, Pakistan. Through an ethnographic field research we have explored that the painted visuals of popular icons in clichéd heroic poses are being rampant on rickshaws which present a mobile exhibition of urban folk art. These visuals are mostly from local Punjabi film industry which is facing its eclipse since a decade. This study further explores the reasons for the increase of male figures in rickshaw (and other) popular art and almost total extinction of female figures is because of religious assertion in Pakistan over this two decade period. Our analysis shows that the relationship of rickshaw drivers and common male audience with the powerful visuals is so strong that it reinforces the ‘impulse to image’. The power of macho visuals satisfies the taste of cinema goers who love to travel by rickshaws loaded with such visuals. We argue that the macho ideal representations have a stronger impact on the beholders and they influence society through the power they convey. Finally this study concludes that the popular macho visuals effectively communicate the real emotions and please the mood of vast audiences in particular segments of the society.

Keywords: ethnographic research; macho representations; male culture; popular culture; rickshaws.

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