This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Lipi Mehta. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Dear Dabur, Your Patriarchal New Ad Is The Reason I Won’t Be Buying Your Honey

More from Lipi Mehta

By Lipi Mehta

As a child, I often asked my mother if the necklace she was wearing was her mangalsutra. None of the necklaces she owned resembled the black and gold mangalsutras I had seen others wearing and this piqued my curiosity. She would always answer ‘no’ and I would be left dumbfounded. When the married women in most Hindi films and television shows were wearing one, why wasn’t my mother? After seeing the new Dabur Honey ad, I feel even more stupid about ever asking her or rather, accusing her of not wearing a mangalsutra when what she was really doing was not conforming to what society expected her to do. Why? Because the ad doesn’t treat the mangalsutra like my mother did—it portrays it to be a much more than a Hindu ritual, much more than being a symbol.

“Tum Meri Ho”

The ad starts with a woman asking a man how she looks before she steps out of the house. He says “Lovely!” but is shown to be a bit flustered. Before she can leave, he prominently places her mangalsutra on her top. (Ah! So he’s her husband!). He then says that now she looks even better. This bit should have been subtitled as, “There, now my possession of you is signified by this mangalsutra. You look good, but let me ensure that people don’t think you are ‘available’. It is clear that you are taken. No one can hit on you now.” (I can really go on)

‘Mangalsutra’ literally translates to ‘auspicious thread’ and is worn by Hindu, married women in India to signify that they are praying for their husband’s long life. It is just a symbol of belief, just like many other symbols such as applying sindoor, wearing mehendi, etc. I personally have a problem with these ‘symbols’ as they are regressive and practically speaking, one-sided. I don’t know any men who would consider or be told to wear a mangalsutra as a symbol of their commitment or to pray for their wives’ long lives! And in a country like India, where the ‘possession’ of a wife by her husband is actually a reality, let’s not use our mainstream communication channels to spread such messages!

“Main Kaisi Lag Rahi Hoon?”

The woman in the ad is shown exclaiming at the end that having Dabur honey ensures fitness, which in turn ensures that she will look good, thereby making her partner jealous of how she is suddenly ‘more desirable’. First of all, if your partner is jealous, it is not cute, it is a sign of being controlling because no one has the right to dictate how you should look or behave. And secondly, yes, fitness is great and looking good makes anyone feel more confident but let’s do this for ourselves and not for how someone else will perceive us.

The idea of looking good for society, for your partner or just to fit in, is making lives much more difficult for many across the world. Meaghan Ramsey, the Global Director of the Dove Self-Esteem Project says in a TED Talk that 6 out of 10 girls choose to not do something because they don’t think they look good enough. This is a dangerous notion that makes self-acceptance more difficult and even causes eating disorders and mental health issues in many people.

This ad could have showed how the couple doesn’t ‘need’ a mangalsutra to establish the overarching idea of commitment. If the point of the ad is to show a connection between fitness and Dabur honey, there could have been many other ways of making this it, but Y U did dis, Dabur? I would gladly consume Dabur honey if it can really contribute to my health, but I would never buy it if it is to look better for my partner or anyone else! As of now, as a responsible audience, let’s make wise consumption choices and not give in to what this ad propagates.

You must be to comment.
  1. The Game

    From the Swayamvara in ancient India to the current dating sce, men have to propose, and require to see who is available. Even on Valentine’s day, it is men running around buying flowers, gifts, chocolates, teddy bears, rings, etc.

  2. B

    Feminists never talk about the fact that women always marry men richer than them, earning more than them, men who are well-settled.

    Get rid of your double standards.

    1. Aafia

      Do you have any statistics to support this statement that women “always” marry men richer than them? In reality, that’s not true. The majority of people marry within their own socioeconomic class. Before you tell feminists to get rid of our “double standards”, you should do some research so you actually know what you are talking about.

    2. B

      Statistics? LOL. Look around you. Have you EVER seen a woman marry a man who is poorer than her? Look at all the martimonials wanting men who are ‘well-settled’. Look at your female cousins, aunts, friends, and tell me how many married men earning less than them? Kamata kitna hai, gaadi konsi hai, ghar kaisa hai, etc.

  3. Batman

    The biggest proof of sexism against men is that men have to spend their entire life earning for women. Men are bondaged in slavery.

    1. Aafia

      You’re an idiot.

    2. Batman

      What can a feminist do but abuse? The truth is bitter, I guess.

  4. B

    Women certainly don’t complain when men house their wives, let them drive their car, take them to restaurants, on vacations, holidays, buy them jewellery, take them shopping, spend on their clothes, cosmetics, sandals, purses, spa, beauty saloons, pedicures, manicures, etc.

  5. Jigsaw

    Going by your highly repulsive article, posting wedding pics must also be a sign of slavery. Countless women feel proud to wear the mangalsutra and it entails dignity and respect, while many wear it for its style or as a fashion statement. ‘Belonging’ to one man is better than opening your legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Go see a good doctor and get a life.

  6. Avinesh Saini

    No wonder people like Babaar come here to troll you guys. You just take political correctness to the next level. Kudos.

  7. Veda

    I Don’t know why this ad is such a big deal. Lets assume if the same ad was made with a
    character of a Jealous Wife doing something and trying to show “TUM MERE HO” to the world.
    Then I am sure you would have definitely buying the honey.
    @Youthkiawaaz When you wrote something I was eager to read it because it made sense but by this post now I can clearly see where your future is going.
    Its not for you to decide what should the couple do or what if a brand showed some reality(funny)
    stuff to get connected with customers. Not all traditions are good but not all of them are bad either.
    If a husband is jealous and brings the MANGALSUTRA on top with a smile and showing his Jealousy and love to his wife then it does not means that you have made your point.
    Jealousy is just a human weakness that we feel not only when it comes to our Gfs/Wives but it can also be seen when a kids mom is holding some other kid and the kid starts to cry by seeing this.
    Oh I forgot that the moms kid is a boy and he is crying because his mom is holding a girl kid.
    Now write an article about that and present it as what you think is a society changer.
    The couple love each other and thats it.
    You are just trying to be a brain washer and start a huge gender war in INDIA in upcoming future.

  8. Sam 1996

    Author! I dont understand what you are implying? Really? I am a girl also. This is ad is more misandric actually! Why are you crying feminism???

    1. Shivani

      I agree with you completely Sam (y)

  9. Vaibhav Agarwal

    I understand and acknowledge that this ad is Patriarchal but I believe this ad is set in a very light mood and in just an ad, they have to use some/any tactics to catch eyeballs.

  10. Avinesh Saini

    Mangalsutras are indeed pretty regressive, though.

  11. B

    Every since the commencement of the feminist agenda, divorce rates have shot through the roof. Below are comments from feminist leaders, revealing the motive of the feminist movement:

    In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them. – Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist and assistant professor of education at Wellesley College and associate director of the school’s Center for Research on Woman.

    Women, like men, should not have to bear children. The destruction of the biological family, never envisioned by Freud, will allow the emergence of new women and men, different from any people who have previously existed. – Alison Jagger, Political Philosophies of Women Liberation: Feminism and Philosophy (Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co. 1977).

    No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. – Simone de Beauvoir, Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma Saturday Review, June 14, 1975, p.18

    Marriage has existed for the benefit of men; and has been a legally sanctioned method of control over women. We must work to destroy it. The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not to live individually with men. – The Declaration of Feminism, November 1971.

    The nuclear family must be destroyed, and people must find better ways of living together. – Linda Gordon, Function of the Family, Women: A Journal of Liberation, Fall, 1969.

    We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage. – Robin Morgan, Sisterhood is Powerful, 1970, p.537.

  12. G.L.

    I’ll think about this blog post when a woman gets on her knees to propose, and after a divorce she pays alimony, child support, and parts with half of her property.

    1. Shivani

      Agree with you (y). That will show equality.

  13. G.L.

    Patriarchy is a scapegoat.

    purushatma.wordpress.com

  14. Sambit Mishra

    The ad sucks big time, censorship is worse.

  15. Shivani

    Are you insane woman??!! They probably didn’t even think of all the bullshit you just wrote up their. You know you are then kind of lady who makes a big deal of everything and all tiny little things have to be feminist. Don’t we ever do stuff like this to pur boyfriend/husband. Some sort of action to show others ” he is mine’ (taken). Grow up and get a life. This add was made with simple, beautiful feelings of a caring husband who thinks his wife is looking too gorgeous. Not that he is telling people that’s his property. And even if he is, he is doing it in a beautiful way.

  16. Sarah

    Who cares whether you will eat their honey or not or what is your take on mangalsutra …. There are war widows awaiting compensation and girl child awaiting adoption …. In short there are more important things to be pissed about than Dabur Honey’s ad

More from Lipi Mehta

Similar Posts

By YUMNA MOBIN

By Sushruta

By Saumya Singh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below