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  • Writer's pictureAmit Shankar

Patriarchy Amplified

'Mubarak Ho, Baap Hua Hai' '

One of the most cringe-worthy, corny positioning lines Indian advertising has ever seen.

A desperate attempt at integrating local culture with tongue-in-cheek humor. What baffles me is how could a sensible brand like Mahindra skip the strong patriarchy undercurrent of this positioning line? Or was the line a well-crafted message aimed at pandering to the toxic masculinity of north Indians?

I am surprised how no women-centric organization has taken offense to it. And this brings me to my broader question. Is power, aggression, size and strength just limited to one sex?

Is Mahindra thinks this to be the truth then surely Anand Mahindra amplify the stereotype.

Why would an iconic SUV brand Mahindra Scorpio still bask in the glory of masculinity?

Leading SUV brands, Pajero to Landcruiser, for that matter even Fortuner never position their monstrous SUVs around the domain false masculinity.

If pictures of the new Scorpio model are to be believed, it is a suave, aggressive, and modern SUV that will surely rule the Indian roads. The whole notion of 'Baap' being bigger, and stronger is such a dated concept and does not cut any ice in 2022.

Was Kalpana Chawla the baap of Indian astronauts?

Or was Kiran Bedi the baap of gutsy policing?

From Indira Gandhi to Kiren Shaw, Nirmala Sitharaman to Babita Phogat, new-age women have been redefining the paradigm of gender equality. Despite my severe disdain for Congress, I was impressed by their campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon. The idea was a powerful one and it empowers a society that has been treating women as weak, inferior and of lesser value.

While the present government is focussing on 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao,' there are industry leaders like Anand Mahindra who still harbor the notion of the quintessential Man and his masculinity. How would families celebrate a baby girl when they are still steered towards the idea of a 'Male Child' being the undisputed leader, Baap of everyone.

I have been a Scorpio fan and have been driving it for the past 20 years. If i buy the new one, it would be my fourth Scorpio. Therefore I understand the brand tonality, it's so called macho image that makes it a favourite of north Indian males. But then Fortuner, a bigger SUV is selling across the nation without any Masculinity endorsement.

In the year 2022, Mahindra had a huge opportunity to change the game by defining a new landscape that was rooted in gender equality, reflecting upon the new challenges of a new India. As a nation, we have moved away from the era of 'Rishte main to hum tumhare baap lagte hai, naam hai Shahenshah.' Today, we have women fighter pilots, CEOs, scientists, ministers, medal winning athletes and so much more. The society is accepting the role and importance of a woman. Even if we revisit our legacy, our mythology, there are enough cases , stories that amplify the power of a woman. Durga to Kaali, there have been enough epitome of power.

But then I am sure the advertising agency, the brand manager and the marketing team, too busy nurturing their inflated male egos could never get the complete picture. Anand Mahindra Sir, after twenty years, it was time to give this nation a new parallel, a new vision.

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