Patanjali hitting new lows with new products.
Patanjali helps you learn new things everyday.
Gau mutra face pack – who would have guessed? (Obviously ignoring that fact that only 5 of all 800 Patanjali products have cow urine.)
After that fine for 11 lakhs Patanjali had to pay, the hullaballoo around the company seemed to quieten down a bit. But it was obvious that in order to eradicate this negative image of the brand in its consumers’ minds, Patanjali will resort to some rigorous marketing.
The recent advertisement of Patanjali Saundarya empire of body wash, face wash and soaps came up with something so insular that for a moment you will actually think whether it leaves Fair & Lovely behind.
Objectification of women
Did you notice it too? The protagonist is called Saundarya!
Did you cringe as well?
By naming the protagonist same as the product, radiates the deep-seated patriarchy which readily allows objectification of women to an extent that even the audience might not recognize it until looked closely enough.
Patanjali equates Saundarya the Woman with Saundarya the Product. Ultimately, women just become objects to be acted upon. What is else is objectification?
Sanskaar aur bindass
Saundarya is paramparaaon ka aadar karne waali whereas Aishwarya is bindass. Aishwarya’s depiction is open-ended for a very sickening reason. By using ambiguity, Patanjali wants that you bring a conclusion to Aishwarya’s image by attaching the worst stereotypes you can think of.
Women should not be bindass, i.e., shouldn’t be as free because it threatens the Indian fabric. Whatever that term means.
Why can’t sanskaars be bindass?
Is it because then we do threaten the throne of institutionalised power being excercised in the name of arranged marriages and “modest” clothing?
Patanjali is playing with conventional dichotomous stereotypes – being carefree represents a certain kind of Westernisation. Not only Westernisation makes women bindass, it also make them “wannabe-types”, as the ad suggests. Trust me, you do wonder if Babaji modeled Aishwarya on himself. He was the true wannabe when he decided to venture into retail marketing, wasn’t he?
…oh, there’s rape culture too
And of course, how do you know that Saundarya is ultimately growing desirable? Validate her presence with an ogling man on screen who swings to watch her, stunned. Afterall, this is what are Indian sanskaars.
What I am tired of is that everyone has to repeat the same arguments as to why something as misogynistic has to be fed to people. Our lines, our arguments have all become second hand, still there is nothing that can set things right. We are playing around the same age-old notions of patriarchy and xenophobia.
It is quite clear that if we have to sell some objects in the name of nationalism, women will stand before imported products.