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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).
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.
However, it is not just interfaith relationships portrayed in ads that have created a stir on the internet.
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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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
You do not have to be perfect. There’s no perfect daughter, perfect employee, perfect wife, or perfect mother. These are just labels created by society, for their convenience.
So here you are, just out of engineering college, having no clue why you pursued Electronics Engineering. Yes, I know, like many others your age, you too were persuaded by your parents to opt for engineering because it supposedly gets you a lucrative job.
Believe me, however strange this might sound, you’ll soon come to realize that a high paying job need not always make you happy. And there are a myriad courses and career options out there, you should definitely consider something that’ll make you look forward to go to work every day.