Syrian miniseries engage in multifaceted discourses of fatherhood inherently linked with the rise and fall of the qabaday (tough man). Before the uprising, while the avowed focus was on gender constructions, in truth, politics lay at the heart of the messages. With the gradual construction of the new qabaday, screenwriters shifted to an anxious focus on absent father figures and a more emotionally connected fatherhood ideal that surpassed the father as protector and financial provider. The fall of the qabaday and the cessation of yearning for a protective masculinity in Syrian melodrama connoted the rise of more equal gender relations, which symbolized a pluralistic political order. Amid the uprising, those outwardly embracing the regime narrative insist that they are focusing on societal norms rather than politics. This study is based on analysis of miniseries from the 1960s to the present and interviews with screenwriters in Beirut, Damascus, and Paris.

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