22 Feb

…or When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Intentions.

I’ve always wondered if the “you can do it all” theory, the Superwoman tag, was geared toward men just as much as women. On the one hand, you praise the woman and tell her that she can handle doing everything on her own without any help because she’s awesome like that. And on the other, you pacify her husband that she won’t leave him holding the diapers and cooking pot while she’s off being awesome outside the home.

And of course, there are women who can do it all. There are even men who do it all – there are so many kids from single family homes these days and more than a few of them are headed by a single father.

The question is whether that’s the ideal to which you should be raising a family in this day and age. What’s the kid going to grow up thinking – “My mom works and cooks and cleans and dances and sings and is nice to all the birdies in the sky. My dad… um… he drinks tea and goes to work.” Way to be a hero to your kid.

What really struck me about that Star Plus anthem is that the dad did absolutely fuck all around the house other than flirt with his wife and help his family put up a few decorations which apparently tuckered him out so he fell asleep along with the senior citizens and the little child. Meanwhile, his wife:

wakes up at the crack of dawn, salwar kameez-and-dupatta in place, to fix her adorable toddler a school lunch, before bullying her mother-in-law into sticking with her vocal exercises and her father-in-law his diet. She makes out with her amorous husband in the bathroom, hangs out with a senior citizen, circles around to blow her husband a goodbye kiss on his way to the office, and then jogs in friendly fashion around her neighborhood.

A round of socializing with the family, friends and random passersby is interspersed by her communing with nature. Next comes a dance class at home and flying kites with her devoted family and helping out with the household chores. She ventures out in between to direct traffic and beat off villainous-looking political types trying to plaster the walls of her home with illegal posters. Afterwards, she heads off to anchor a TV show where she works overtime like a good employee even if it means she’s late to her own birthday party. But that’s all right, because she makes up for it by rousing her family and showing them a jolly good time before cuddling on the rooftop with her husband and stargazing late into the night. When the sun comes up, we are left to assume, the cycle begins all over again.

I ask you again: when does this paragon go potty? I’m sorry to be so fixated on the petty details but I’m told that’s where God likes to reside.

Seriously, it’s men who should be offended.


Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Entertainment, Life, Television, Video


26 responses to “Robomatic

  1. Sumi

    February 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    First of all, I’m so glad you’re back!! Your wit has been much-missed.

    Also, great points on this. I wholly agree with all of them. This anthem in particular is beyond “doing everything” — this woman is shown doing way more than a normal person **can** do! What does that mean for women who do work and do “everything,” but not necessarily this much? What is their reaction going to be for their own expectations for themselves?

  2. nehavish

    February 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I felt physically exhausted just watching it – possibly channeling the poor woman in some way.

  3. Banno

    February 23, 2011 at 2:02 am

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I hated this ‘anthem’. Hated, hated, hated.

  4. sachita

    February 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I have always wanted a husband like this, not possible you say?

    why is this the anthem of a TV channel?

  5. DewdropDream

    February 23, 2011 at 6:27 am

    From your other article:

    “Pretty young men scowl manfully at you over bulging biceps in shows like Dill Mill Gayye and Miley Jab Hum Tum. Older, more distinguished men like Ronit Roy (Bandini) take command of every situation, including their very young female co-stars. Either way, their general purpose is to stand around, looking attractive, while women from every socio-economic strata across India endlessly fall in love, take part in elaborate wedding ceremonies, struggle to fit in with monstrous in-laws, suffer disappointment and betrayal, labor for justice, etc. ”

    Isn’t that odd? I mean, all along we’ve been given the ‘women ought to be seen and not heard’ and ‘women are a part of the house decor’ shtick but here it’s actually the men taking up the role.

    Some part of me wonders however, aren’t we responsible for this problem, in part? A lot of women want it all. And the only way they can have it all is to assume responsibility for all of it. Be a great home-maker with a spotless house furnished tastefully, beautifully dressed, well-behaved kids whom you want credit for having raised that way, a career that makes sense and fulfils you while you find time to bake yummy treats and knit, sew, embroider …

    The more you look at it, the more it seems that women cannot accept any part of any of this being negotiable.

    And no, I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here. ‘scuse me.

    • sachita

      February 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      “the more it seems that women cannot accept any part of any of this being negotiable.” – wow, you nailed it. I have seen this is real scenarios multiple times.

  6. NowhereMan

    February 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

    But the important question never asked , in the battle of sexes , is can you donate a sperm ?

    And it comes with the satisfaction guarantee that , if you don’t like it , we have a million other more.

  7. dipali

    February 23, 2011 at 9:19 am

    This cannot be a day in the life!
    All that activity and no food would probably constipate her forever:(

  8. Beth

    February 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have no idea what to make of this, but I will say that this woman has a MUCH richer role than 95% of Bollywood heroines – and just as many wardrobe changes.

  9. M

    February 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    AAAGH! HATE this! And no, you’d need desi men to actually *think* about the message this is passing on, to think badly of it! 🙂 (who me, bitter?) But how many men do you personally know who would be upset with such a life? I can only think of 4 – and they are all under 50 and don’t live in India.

  10. Sona

    February 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Had thought of launching into a diatribe in some nook of the blogosphere but you beat me to it. The conceptualization is inexcusable – women are entitled to doing as much fuck-all as the dude. Casting the onus of being this everyday heroine is so, so wrong.
    But DewdropDream does make a good nonpoint: Hell, *we’re* society. Somewhere along the way perhaps we’ve in/advertently endorsed these impossible standards.
    Either way I enjoy Vishal’s music. Piggy Chops careened to it at some awards function. The choreography was fairly uninspired.

  11. Naveeda

    February 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Uff, am still wondering why this is chosen anthem for Star Plus. Haven’t been here for a while, first-class look hai!

  12. Rups Dahiya

    February 24, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I will ask this question to writer as well as to readers are these reasons making you uncomfortable in your skin
    1. A woman is portrayed as someone who is super human, working day and night and pampering all members of family? Men don’t have any contribution in household?
    Ok so what actually they want to show: I believe by seeing this ad, women can take any position if necessary in household that does not imply that she is meeting all these responsibilities.

    They are (marketing team) depicting all phase in Indian society where women can fit with calm and ease. So you guys take it easy. All men knows that no women will come on terms to work outside, inside ,nice to in-laws, take care of kids, cook , wash and give lolipuli (my term ) to husband whenever that poor chap demand for it.

  13. Rups Dahiya

    February 24, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Sorry I forgot to mention why it is chosen as Anthem.

    Please think who watches star channel most and that too in day time.
    Sas 

  14. Mom Gone Mad

    February 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Yup. Definitely Permission to Puke material.

    Makes me want to do the dance of the middle finger.

    the sad truth is that there are some women (and I sadly know a couple of them) who try to pull off exactly this superwoman act – and mostly fail or make themselves quite ill.

    As you rightly say – what an insult to the good man.

  15. romila

    February 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    oh my god!
    I was still willing to forgive star, until they showed that she was a news anchor… and then it was pure fantastic tragedy. 😀 😀 😀

  16. Veena

    February 26, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Good to have you back blogging!

    I’m sure there’s a creative team at STAR patting themselves on the back for this “nayi soch” tagline and the supposedly progressive concept. To think that none of them realize the drivel they are presenting and setting absurd norms. Seriously, if I were a man, I would be offended.

  17. ramesh

    February 26, 2011 at 11:36 am

    haah .. that star plus universe is a busy place

  18. Subroto

    March 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Um..I wonder if there is a small chance of pushing her down from that terrace…don’t tell me viewers have not thought about it….

  19. Sue

    March 5, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Yay you’re back. I really need to start using a blog reader.

    This video makes me so teeth-clenched angry. They claim they are glorifying the Superwomen who do it all but all they are really doing is laying down even more Rules that Women Must Follow.

  20. Ardra

    March 8, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Great post. I’ve linked to this post on my blog. Hope that is ok?

  21. homestays in goa

    March 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I think our men in India should do a little work at home. Just last week I watched the movie Elizabeth. In the movie Tony Blair’s wife told him to clear the plate after he ate! And he was the Prime Minister when she said that!

  22. Maria

    May 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Wow, I am knackered just reading the description of all that!

    And it always amazes me in these serials how done up the women are, to say nothing of the fire hazard of all that flowy material near open flames in the kitchen.

    I saw a minute or two of one the other day, also on one of the Star networks, and it had some young damsel in her room at home, reclining on her bed in the afternoon, under a ceiling fan, and she kept waving one hand to herself saying “Uff! Why am I so hot & can’t cool down?” and I muttered in the general direction of the TV “Because you’re wearing skintight churidars & and equally figure-hugging kurti that seem to be made of either heavy silk or some “kela silk” or other – no wonder!” She then slithered downstairs and tried to emotionally blackmail her parents into getting her an a/c.

  23. Katyayni

    July 31, 2011 at 3:48 am

    God! what a potload of crock! and that too after years of women crying out against the tyranny of Ekta Mata dictating their (supposed) roles for them! And now this!!!
    Lets face it… this just might have been someone’s wet dream! and as far as i can remember… each time I’ve been ‘told’ what the role of a woman should be…the person obviously had zero clue as what it is to even try to be a regular woman…let alone the one dancing here! Great post as always!!!

  24. CheeC

    August 2, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I saw this post show up back in Feb. and had the good intention of A) watching the clip B) reading your thoughts and C) commenting, but I guess a bad idea must have happened to It! Well, never mind that coz here I am, 5 months and 10 days later, doing all 3 now.

    I really liked the near-impossible DIY angle, actually. It was kinda cute to watch in a gosh-I-can-never-be-all-of-that sorta way. It reminded me of the messy trail I tend to leave behind, whenever I come close to even trying to be some of that. Agree with your read on that guy playing spouse though, I mean come on. He does two things around the house fairly effortlessly (flirting, falling asleep), and the third is to drape a blankie over his star-gazing wife’s shoulder?? Manly effort, that! How about showing us, instead, a normal guy that pitches in here and there while his hottie housewife also has her way with life outside, but then when it comes night time and she’s not in bed at a reasonable hour and is up on the terrace, straining her eye, staring at shiny objects far far away, he’s livid; he sleepily makes his way up the stairs, shivering, walks over to her, yanks the blankie off her shoulders, drapes it around his, and stomps off! Now that, I would believe.

    And Amrita, no one, I mean NO ONE, cracks me up the way you do, especially when you spout preciousness such as: “I ask you again: when does this paragon go potty? I’m sorry to be so fixated on the petty details but I’m told that’s where God likes to reside.”

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