Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On Raksha Bandhan - and an Insurance Ad

Have you seen the Future Generali insurance ad? I love it. Insurance is a difficult thing to sell, because it's a difficult thing to talk positively about. This ad does it so well. It takes the very sexist tradition of Raksha Bandhan in which the sister ties a rakhi on her brother, symbolically asking for his 'protection', calls out the sexism, and ends with the brother tieing the rakhi on his sister's wrist.

My dislike of the sexism embodied in the Raksha Bandhan tradition explains why I never go with the Guy when he visits his sister on this day. But even apart from the sexism, I find the allotment of specific days to celebrate specific relationships rather absurd. I don't need a Mother's Day or a Friendship Day or a Valentine's Day. I would rather celebrate my loved ones' birthdays and anniversaries and let them know all through the year that I love them.

11 comments:

Amodini said...

I was thinking along the same lines. I do thinking that it is unfair/sexist if only the brother has to "protect" his sister - it has to be both ways, ie; she has to protect him too.

shilpadesh said...

Well said. Sadly even Rakshabandhan is being marketed and packaged like one of those 'days'!

lostonthestreet said...

I growl at people who wish me on"friendship" day....But,it might be easy for you and me to tag raksha bandhan along with the other hallmark sponsored occasions, since its not a festival we celebrate, for people from North it IS a big festival,something which they have been celebrating as a tradition,ages before Hallmark asked them to.
So I think the sentimental value is much more here...

Unmana said...

Amodini: I don't think we should think about it in terms of 'protection' at all! I never had a brother to 'protect' me - and I don't regret that in the slightest! If you do celebrate your bond with your sibling, it should be about how you love each other, don't you think?

shilpadesh: Yeah, indeed. Not that I care, really, because I don't celebrate it.

lostonthestreet: I know. I celebrated Raksha Bandhan with great enthusiasm the last year of school - it was a co-ed school! But it was just fun and games, and I don't even talk to any of those people now.

But the way the festival is traditionally celebrated IS sexist, don't you think?

Sumedha said...

You know, I LOVED that ad too!! I've been telling my (male) cousins about it for a couple of days now. :)

I find Rakshabandhan sexist and outdated too. I refused to tie rakhis on my cousins' wrists a couple of years ago, saying that I don't need protection. Some of my friends think I'm "carrying the whole feminist thing too far" but I don't think so. It makes sense, no?

This year, my sister and I made a deal with my mom and cousins. We tied them rakhis and they tied them back. :) So now, we're both supposed to protect each other. (Of course, one of my particularly stubborn and un-understanding friend said "Kya? Tum pagal go gayi ho kya??". At which point, I hung up on him.) :D

Sumedha said...

Oh and I totally agree with the one day thing you said too. Why should I celebrate my mum on just one day? A few years back, my friends and I used to make a big deal of Friendship Day, handmake "friendship bands" and have a competition to see who got the most. This year, I think only one of my friend even wished me. We're growing up. :)

I like this post... I agree with everything you've said. :)

Unmana said...

Sumedha: It definitely makes sense. By following patriarchal traditions we are helping to keep the patriarchy alive!

We used to make friendship bands in school too, and on Raksha Bandhan once we tied rakhis (we tore our red hair ribbons) on ALL our male classmates. Funny, I've outgrown all those friendships. The important relationships don't need a common designated day to celebrate them. I'd rather celebrate a birthday or an anniversary - doesn't celebrating on the same day as everyone else make it LESS special?

Amit said...

I agree with you - I find it disturbing (okay sexist)that sisters have to ask brothers fro protection. What crap, particularly when the sister is the older sibling. This is a true silly festival.

Starry-eyed nut said...

It's a wonderful ad, wonder why it took them so much time to come up with the idea!

The festival is amazingly sexist, we are 2 sisters and every year someone or the other pities me for the lack of celebrating rakhi...The straw was when someone in the lift on my way to work pitied me...the suggestion is if you don't have your own bro tie it to someone elses! My question is do any of these women keep a karva chauth or teej for someone else's husbands!!! Then why rakhi???

Unmana said...

Starry-eyed nut: Well, maybe you can say so to them? Yes, I also celebrate karvachauth even though I'm not married; can I do it for your husband this year?

Starry-eyed nut said...

ahahahha, thats a brilliant idea...
Infact, now that you say it I am going to keep that as a standard response! If for nothing else then just for the look on their faces.....