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The Wild, Unbridled Laughter Of Women, For Which They Are Usually Shamed

Posted: May 26, 2021

While juggling multiple roles, don’t forget you are important too.  Make yourself a priority because no one else will with #KhayaalRakhna

There’s a new Cars24 ad, that has elements appealing to feminists everywhere; especially the free, wild, unbridled laughter of women.

I woke up to the noise of men across social media having a collective meltdown over the new Cars24 advertisement.

In a discussion about the same ad on another group, the OP found this offensive because “had the roles been reversed and had men said this about women, we’d have taken umbrage, feminists would have been out on the streets baying for the blood of the filmmakers.

To me, the sound of men agitating over women related topics is one of the sweetest sounds in nature (because why not, when they are one of the main reasons of our oppression?), and I decided to follow the noise and watch the ad.

What is the Cars24 ad?

In the ad, two women, clearly close friends, are discussing the fantastic features of the Cars24 App.

One woman says that thanks to Cars24, we can now return the car within 7 days if we are not satisfied with it. To which the second woman replies (paraphrasing), “We’ll have the same features in our Husband24 app; if you are not satisfied with your husband, you can return him within 7 days”. Both women then burst out cackling and chortling at their bawdy humour, the way women do when they know that no one is watching and judging.

So why did I love this ad?

I liked so many things about this ad.

‘Real’ women, not thin, ‘acceptable’ catwalk models

Firstly, the bodies of the women featuring in it. These are not thin catwalk models, they look like real women (fair women, but we’ll save that un-win-able fight for another day). The actor sitting on the floor is Rytasha Rathore. She constantly uses her social media platform for speaking about her body image issues, advocating for diverse bodies in media. The other actor is Neha Iyer, a single mom, recently widowed.

Punching up that refers to sexist jokes by husbands

Secondly, in traditional marriages, men have always had the option of ‘returning’ women to their maaykaas. It happens even now, for the lack of dowry, lack of a male heir or any heir- ‘baanjh aurat’ (barren woman) or even because they were dissatisfied with the ‘goods’, and have found a replacement. Whereas women cannot ‘return’ husbands; where would they even return them when it’s women who leave their maaykaa or natal homes to go to their sasuraal or husband’s home.

And don’t give me the whataboutery of ‘what if men say this’ because men say and do this all the time – wife jokes, mistress jokes, marriage jokes where husbands always have the short end of the stick. In this ad, women are punching up, against regressive traditions and patriarchy. And it’s just a hollow joke in so many ways. If this ad even exists today, it’s because of emerging financial independence among a small demographic of urban women, that we can finally in 2021 even decide on cars, traditionally a male dominated situation.

The wild, unbridled laughter of women, for which they are usually shamed

And thirdly, what I love most is the wild, unbridled laughter of the women. When I was 12 years old and burst into peals laughter over something, my mother told me the story of how Draupadi laughed at Duryodhan for falling into a pool of water at the Maya Sabha Palace. Angered at the insult, Duryodhana curses her that she will lose everything she took so much pride in. “Women’s laughter can cause great misfortune, my mother said. “The cause of the battle of Mahabharata and all the subsequent misfortune was all because Draupadi laughed a little too loudly.”

In 2018, when MP Renuka Chowdhury laughed loudly at PM Modi’s claims that the Aadhaar Card policy had been conceptualised by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, speaker Venkaiah Naidu admonished her for being unruly, asked her if she was sick and to get medicated for it. The PM compared her laughter to Shoorpanakha’s in the old Ramayan tv serial.

From mythological times to now women’s laughter has always been policed. A pleasant ‘admiring’ giggle at a man’s joke is fine. Because we know only men have the capacity for humour. But women must always maintain the decorum. Look pleasant, be pleasant and if you must sound at all, sound pleasant. How many women have we seen covering their mouths and laughing?

I’d maybe take one point off just for normalising cis het marriages, the inevitability thereof, but that’s just me nitpicking, The Cars24 advertisement is one of the most feminist ads of recent times.

Image source: YouTube

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