09/03/2016 8:31 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

This Year's Top 3 Winners Of Women's Day Stupidity

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 5: All Women Crew members of Air India's historic flight AI 173 (Del to SFO) during a function to celebrate a 'Historic' New Delhi-San Francisco flight with all-women crew on board, on March 5, 2016 in New Delhi, India. Air India will operate the longest all-women crew flight from the national capital to San Francisco on March 6, to celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrating the power of women, the flight AI 173 that'll take the non-stop Delhi-San Francisco route will set a record for being the world's longest all-women operated and supported flight. This first-of-its-kind flight will serve the passengers with an all-women staff, be it cabin crew, cockpit crew, and check-in staff, doctor or customer care staff. Not just that, the ground staff - from operator to technician, engineer, flight dispatcher and trimmer - will also all be women. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Happy Women's Day.

At work, we had cake, got roses and asked people to give us motivational speeches. Men weren't allowed at the session. I kind of feel bad for them. They would have liked the cake.

Happy Women's Day. What we had asked for is to do something meaningful. Collect money and pledge it to the education of girl children. Oh well, at least the speeches and cake were great.

Meanwhile, I've been trawling social media this year to find the most abhorrent things people do on Women's Day. Every year, it becomes about roses, discounts at spas, offers on oil and atta, and huge sales at clothes shops. Every year it becomes the exact thing it ran from--greedy capitalism co-opting a fiercely anti-establishment movement. So much so that almost everyone's forgotten why we are celebrating it. The first time I was appalled at what it had become was in '99-2000 when I was in college and people handed out little bottles of nail polish and roses. I refused to ever participate or observe the event.

Luckily, we don't have that anymore. Now we have the internet rife with stupidity. This year's top three winners of Women's Day Stupidity, in no particular order.

Air India

Air India decided to celebrate International Women's Day by getting an all-woman crew to operate the longest-haul flight. What better way to celebrate women than to make them work on the longest bloody flight they've ever taken? If you actually wanted to mark this day, look the ICICI way: they announced a one-year work-from-home policy for women.

What better way to celebrate women than to make them work on the longest bloody flight they've ever taken?

If you want to observe this day, and not just claim bragging rights (which is essentially what this piece of tokenism is) then bring salaries on par with men, do away with discrimination on looks (I've never heard of instances where an Air India pilot was asked to lose his paunch), increase paid maternity leave. So many battles to be fought and all Air India could come with was something that would give them place in a general knowledge quiz somewhere.

The new Titan Raga ad

Exhibit two.

This advert:

Titan, please find a new agency or a new designer for your Raga watches. You haven't made a single advert that isn't either sexist or ageist. If you have, it was vapid and I don't remember it. I haven't gotten over the colossal stupidity of this advert enough to be able to express my utter and complete bewilderment over how badly a brand has screwed up by trying to be all "diversity-social message-feminism".

First off, I can bet there was no woman on the team that came up with this. And if there was, she was asked to "don't be such a feminist yaar. Don't take everything so seriously."

Second, putting a man in the centre of "change the way you look at a woman's success" is plain ridiculous. It's like giving the cheetah credit for the gazelle running so quick. Till they put it in my head through the collective imagination of the room that Kiran of the perfect-end-of-day hair and champagne-sipping sophistication, I didn't even think Kiran was a woman. To deliberately mislead and then come back to where the viewer was in the first place is a terribly annoying device, and needless to say ineffective. What are the things that this tells me:

[P]utting a man in the centre of "change the way you look at a woman's success" is plain ridiculous. It's like giving the cheetah credit for the gazelle running so quick.

  • That Rajat, the one who appraises Kiran, cannot be asked to sit in on the appraisal.
  • That Kiran is not a woman but is, in fact, a man, who sleeps her way to the top so he must be promoted.
  • That token woman with the short hair at the table has nothing to say but nod in amusement and approval.
  • That there are people who don't know Kiran is a unisex name.


And finally, my favourite, this:


#VandiYNot. I just absolutely love the YNot. A two-way conversation happening within a hashtag, what's not to love, tell me. This is by an Italian innerwear brand that urges men to go bold. Whatever that means. I shudder to see what bold inner wear for men looks like.

You know what I would like this Women's Day? Safer spaces, pay parity, more sportswomen, no foeticide and longer maternity leave, among others things. A man in a bindi (YNot)? No, thanks.

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