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Kanyadaan Objectifies A Bride; How Is Mohey’s ‘Kanyamaan’ Giving Respect To A Bride Wrong?!

The Mohey brand ad for Manyavar has the trolls breathing fire against scratching out 'kanyadaan' to make it 'kanyamaan' because why would they want women to be given more dignity, right?

The Mohey brand ad for Manyavar has the trolls breathing fire against scratching out ‘kanyadaan’ to make it ‘kanyamaan’ because why would they want women to be given more dignity, right?

On Saturday, 18th September, bridal brand Mohey came out with a Manyavar ad featuring Alia Bhatt. The ad addressed the disrespectful to women ‘kanyadaan’ and sought to replace it with ‘kanyamaan’.

Kanyadaan is a ritual where brides are given away by their father to her new family as if she is a property. In this new ad, Alia Bhatt is seen talking about how women are considered “paraya dhan” (other’s property, since it is given that a woman will eventually have to marry someone and settle down) and replaces it with the word “kanyamaan” (respecting women).

Controversies through ads

This new ad with the tagline “tradition wahi, sochh nayi” (same old tradition with a new idea) has created quite a buzz on the internet with a large range of reactions.

Though some people have applauded the brand for talking about this extremely patriarchal practice, a number of people have also called it out as ‘anti-Hindu’. According to them, Mohey is hurting religious sentiments by starting a conversation about a sexist practice in Hindu marriages while not talking about problematic practices in other religions.

However, this is not the first time a brand has received backlash for trying to be progressive. Last year, jewelry brand Tanishq received similar criticism for daring to show a Muslim family organizing a Hindu ceremony for their Hindu daughter in law. The ad was for their new collection “Ekatvam” (meaning oneness) and carried the description, “She is married into a family that loves her like their own child.”

The internet (dare I say, troll army) was quick to call it ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘pro Love Jihad’. Tanishq was forced to pull down the ad after severe backlash.

Is it just about the ads or is women’s liberation the main target?

However, it is not just interfaith relationships portrayed in ads that have created a stir on the internet.

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Recently, a new ad by Cadbury titled “Kuch Khaas Hai” recreated the iconic 1990s ad but with a gender swap and even that had managed to garner massive criticism and trolling. According to the trolls, this new twist has ruined both their nostalgia and the old ad completely because, for them, women are supposed to be the ones cheering and not the ones playing on the field.

No matter how progressive the ads are, the criticisms will definitely find you. It is as if the ads are not the problem, but women are. Especially women who exercise their agency to choose a partner or play ‘manly’ sports like cricket are the ones people are most threatened by. Though, Mohey celebrates marriage within a brahminical patriarchal framework, it still manages to initiate a conversation. Hopefully, we will have more ads which attack and do away with the sexist and casteist practices that are still widely prevalent, in the near future.

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