There's something very disturbing about the advertisement of TV serial 'Ikyawann'

Ikyawann will be aired on Star Plus from November 13.

Sarwat Fatima Sarwat Fatima Nov 13, 2017
What is a marriage material anyway? Photo Courtesy: YouTube

 

I am a girl. The reason why I felt the need to mention this is because I have often been referred to as a boy. No, I have all the woman-specific biological parts. The reason people felt the need to call me a boy was because I preferred shirts and jeans over skirts and frocks. While growing up, I played gulli danda with my cousins instead of Barbie dolls. I was never a good cook. In fact, I often ran away from kitchen when my mom forced me to make chai. I would often dress myself up as the prince in the TV serial Chandrakanta and my family would laugh. I often heard them say, "Yeh ladki nahi ladka hai." "Is se shaadi kaun karega." And I grew up believing that. I believed that there was something wrong with me because I did not adhere to the traditional gender roles.

Marriage anyway did not interest me. So, I was pretty glad when my family expressed concern over my marriage. They felt that they would have a hard time finding a guy for me. Someone who would feel 'comfortable' having wife who didn't know how to cook, refused to doll-up all the time, and had an aversion to pretty dresses. Though, they didn't need to worry. Eventually I did find a man who liked me the way I was. Surprisingly, or not so, I was not a half-woman to him.

The reason why I decided to divulge these details is because many girls like me grow up with an identity crisis. Why? Because they have hobbies, interests, and likes that do not fit into parameters of a 'traditional girl.' Moreover, cinema, songs, and television serials only fuel this dilemma. Recently, I came across an ad and a trailer for an upcoming soap opera Ikyawann. The plot revolves around a girl, who is 'tom-boyish', has grown up in a house full of men, and has an aversion to everything that is branded as feminine by the society. Her family is now looking for a suitable boy for her. So, they end up giving a matrimonial ad in the newspaper. They list her dislikes, which read as: hates cooking, hates wearing lehenga, and hates make-up. Just beneath this you find the words "Lekin Ladki Nahi Hai Shaadi Material!"

Basically the ad goes onto perpetuate the stereotype that a girl who is not domesticated--meaning someone who doesn't find joy in cooking, cleaning, and dressing up--is not a good wife. Somewhat this is a reflection of my own insecurities. For years, I believed it too. Don't blame me. This is what I was told and shown while growing up.

However, my husband taught me otherwise. You see, when you get married, your partner accepts you for the person you are. They agree to be with you, without trying to transform you into the society's idea of a perfect biwi. So, girls like me and the female lead in the TV serial Susheel Parekh don't need to tamed or made to go through a transformation. Because that's not needed.

Coming back to the serial--it's about to get launched on Star Plus. The channel has recently changed its content and revamped it to suit their tagline 'Nayi Soch'. The serial Ikyawann is a part of it too. Unfortunately, the makers don't realize that it's not 'nayi soch' at all. In fact, it's pretty disturbing at many levels. For starters, they are validating the fact that not-so-feminine girls are not 'marriage material.' Next, they are only fueling the stereotype that all girls like to cook, dress up, put on make-up, and behave a certain way. Someone who doesn't do that is not a girl. This again is going to mess up the brains of many young impressionable girls. Just like the way it happened to me many years ago.

Unfortunately, the makers don't realize that it's not 'nayi soch' at all. Photo Courtesy: YouTube Unfortunately, the makers don't realize that it's not 'nayi soch' at all. Photo Courtesy: YouTube

Not judging a book by its cover, but this TV serial does disturb me at a lot of levels. Right from its print advertisement to its promotional trailer. This is horror in its purest form.

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