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[Y]ral: Does Red Label’s Take On Live In Relationships Do More Harm Than Good?

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By Sanskriti Pandey:

There’s something cruel about a good cause gone wrong. Often, when the narrative fails to represent an issue correctly, it ends up taking a few steps back in the cause it was trying to further in the first place. Take this recent Brooke Bond Red Label advertisement, for example.

While the ad sets out to normalise the idea of live-in relationships, it fails miserably in the tools it employs to do so. Building upon the tussle of emotional sentiments we attach to family versus our own so-called modern preferences, the ad tries to represent a balance between the two as facilitating change in mindsets. But are the attributes of being able to cook, donning “decent” attire, or family-oriented attitudes prerequisites to obtain a certificate of live-in approval for women? What if, in this ad, the female partner did not know how to make good chai, despite the aromatic and unquestionable goodness of the tea leaves it’s trying to sell? Do live-in relationships, then, need regressive conformity to convention, or in fact need to “strike a balance” in order to prove their legitimacy for choice? Watch this short ad and tell us what you think of it!

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  1. Anshul Jain

    I don’t think the ad is a fail
    Observe the ad a little more carefully, it’s the guy’s parents showing up unannounced. It is very natural for them to observe and judge the girl he’s living with because she is a stranger to them. The same guy wouuld have been judged if the girl’s parents would have showed up. So while the guy sets up some tables and gets his parents seated he knows all he needs is the approval of his parents for a relationship and not as a person, while the girl has to pull off something to make an impression. Almost any other person would try and make a good first impression in front of his/ her partner’s parents not only to get approval, but also out of love and respect for them possibly becoming a part of his/ her family in the near future.
    Secondly making good tea is not rocket science, a bit of practise and almost anyone can do it (including the guy in the ad or me, again a guy). In a different scenario had the girl not known how to even make tea she would have still tried to impress the parents. The use of culinary skills by a woman to impress someone is not a taboo, the problem is expecting every women to know how to cook(or make chai in this matter).
    “While the ad sets out to normalise the idea of live-in relationships”; no, the ad is trying to sell tea leaves. The whole scenario is a medium to present the quality of tea leaves. The essence of the ad is that the tea leaves are so good that it can change a mother’s mood even after she’s displeased by seeing her son in a live-in realtionship as soon as she takes a sip.
    “But are the attributes of being able to cook, donning “decent” attire, or family-oriented attitudes prerequisites to obtain a certificate of live-in approval for women?” – To answer this part, it is wrong to expect such things from any women irrespetive of the kind of arrangement, marriage or live-in. Again, it is both of them who are trying to seek approval from the parents, not just the girl. The girl being a stranger has to put in extra effort here and the guy would have to do the same if he were to meet her parents.
    As for the discussion of live-in relationships to conform to convention, the whole question is futile because if they were to they would take all POSITIVE and NEGATIVE elements of a conventional marriage including gender roles. Whether you live together after a cxeremony or before, following conventional gender roles is not acceptable.

  2. Anshul Jain

    I don’t think the ad is a fail
    Observe the ad a little more carefully, it’s the guy’s parents showing up unannounced. It is very natural for them to observe and judge the girl he’s living with because she is a stranger to them. The same guy wouuld have been judged if the girl’s parents would have showed up. So while the guy sets up some tables and gets his parents seated he knows all he needs is the approval of his parents for a relationship and not as a person, while the girl has to pull off something to make an impression. Almost any other person would try and make a good first impression in front of his/ her partner’s parents not only to get approval, but also out of love and respect for them possibly becoming a part of his/ her family in the near future.
    Secondly making good tea is not rocket science, a bit of practise and almost anyone can do it (including the guy in the ad or me, again a guy). In a different scenario had the girl not known how to even make tea she would have still tried to impress the parents. The use of culinary skills by a woman to impress someone is not a taboo, the problem is expecting every women to know how to cook(or make chai in this matter).
    “While the ad sets out to normalise the idea of live-in relationships”; no, the ad is trying to sell tea leaves. The whole scenario is a medium to present the quality of tea leaves. The essence of the ad is that the tea leaves are so good that it can change a mother’s mood even after she’s displeased by seeing her son in a live-in realtionship as soon as she takes a sip.
    “But are the attributes of being able to cook, donning “decent” attire, or family-oriented attitudes prerequisites to obtain a certificate of live-in approval for women?” – To answer this part, it is wrong to expect such things from any women irrespetive of the kind of arrangement, marriage or live-in. Again, it is both of them who are trying to seek approval from the parents, not just the girl. The girl being a stranger has to put in extra effort here and the guy would have to do the same if he were to meet her parents.
    As for the discussion of live-in relationships to conform to convention, the whole question is futile because if they were to they would take all POSITIVE and NEGATIVE elements of a conventional marriage including gender roles. Whether you live together after a ceremony or before, following conventional gender roles is not acceptable.

  3. G.L.

    Live in relationship is a modern name for illicit relationship where people change their partner very frequently, which is not good without the commitment of vows to be faithful, loving and caring! All the values and taboos of decent civilisation have been dropped! Are children as young as 13 having sex, and getting pregnant? Either partner can walk out any time he/she wishes, not tied down by responsibilities and duties

  4. Dr ketaki

    It’s a nice ad..I didn’t find anything wrong…and they have used to tea as ice breaker between the two ladies..nothing to do with live in and traditions and culture

  5. Srishti

    Agree with the article. The very act of pulling on a dupatta…it conveys everything. It is these subtle adherences to gender norms and ‘Indian culture’ that stay in our subconscious and shape what we think is acceptable/correct.

  6. D

    Even while the ad seeks to be “modern”, it sadly shows that it is the girl who is expected to make chai for the parents in order to “impress” them.

  7. Aditi

    I think we should stop being critical regarding everything, and judge it on the basis on whether it’s empowering women or not. Some things are meant to be taken as they are and we should not read too much into the lines, leave alone write a whole article. Not expected from YKA.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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