Cadbury India Gender Reversal Wishful Fantasy

Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

I avoid social media like a plague. I get my news about the worldwide events from my parents. I read tech news, pandemic news and that’s about it. Every now and then, something bubbles up.

This week, it is the cadbury ad. I have not watched it till now (but watched it just before writing this), but the gist is, it’s a gender reversal of their old ad.

I remember the old ad.

This male cricketer is about to hit the winning score or something. Then, I think, he hits it, and this girl starts celebrating and everybody is happy. This new ad, reverses the genders. Female cricketer hits the winning score. Then, this guy starts celebrating.

I am a father to two girls. No one would be happier if this becomes a reality.

But, it’s not though. At least, not in the India that I have lived, traveled and seen for the last 37 years.

The old ad, everything it showed, was true. In India, male cricketer are like gods. They make millions of dollars. They marry bollywood stars, date super models. Millions of fans follow them on instagram and twitter.

Photo by Jay on Unsplash

I haven’t followed cricket in decades but even I know who is the captain of the Indian male cricket team. Who is the most popular. You see these male cricketers everywhere. Billboards, newspaper ads, google ads, facebook ads. Just this week, my 10 year old cousin showed me his writing pad which had a poster of a very famous cricketer.

I did not know the cricketer’s name but I recognized the face.

25 years ago, I remember, many of my school friends having such posters. 25 years later, the same thing is happening, with today’s school kids.

Sadly, we don’t have ultra popular female cricketers, or even regular popular female cricketers. Nobody is putting them on bill boards. Millions dont follow them on instagram or twitter. They are definitely not dating male super models and actors. I cannot name a single female cricketer. There is no IPL for female cricketers.

On a related note, people say that India is a country of many countries.

At least in my India, if a guy openly expresses admiration for a female, he will face consequences. He would be shamed, called a pervert or a stalker. The guy can probably expect a phone call or a visit to his house from the girl’s brother and parents. Stern warning to stay away and not to do such things, in public.

It is perfectly fine for a female in my India to openly express love, crush and even sexual feelings for a famous actor, popular cricketer or even a co-worker.

However, if a male does any of those things, he will be immediately branded a pervert and shamed. If he were to express admiration for a co-worker’s beauty, he will be pulled for a meeting with HR for sexual harassment. I was taught from a very young age by mother to avoid expressing admiration for female beauty, openly. The boys who broke this rule were punished severly in school, college and in the neighborhood.

When I was a teenager, I had this insane crush on this actress — Ameesha Patel. I once went to a store to buy a poster of her. The shop keeper took me to a corner to sell the poster, hidden away from other buyers.

He made me hide the 6 inch X 6 inch poster in my book pages, and then, made me hide the book in the bag, before I left the shop. It was all hush-hush.

However, in the same store, a group of girls were browsing through hundreds of male movie star posters, openly without any concern.

Final Note

Photo by he zhu on Unsplash

It would be a pleasant change of scenary to see a man openly express his feelings. Right now I am going through serious depression due to the pandemic.

I have lost my income, company, home and family. However, I cannot tell my own family members or friends about my weak mental state. When I tried to share this with another male India friend, he chastised me for being weak. He said, I am not a man, for feeling pain. When I confessed about my mental health depression problems, reacted with shock and confusion.

In my India, men are definitely not allowed to show their feelings, positive ones or negative ones.

As a father of two girls, nothing would make me happier to live in a world where people are celebrating female cricketers. I do wish, women cricketers, do get paid millions for a single TV commercial. Seeing their posters all over the city. Bollywood making biographical movies about them. Watching them date attractive men, and putting photos on their instagram.

Young boys and girls, putting female cricketer posters and quotes on their writing pads.

I do hope, this wishful thinking, comes true. Right now, this new idea, might be a remake. It is only a remake of visuals. The old ad was neck deep in reality. This new ad, at least in my India, does not even dip it’s toe in reality. If anything, its science fiction, and far removed from anything I can consider reality.

Almost like an episode of alternate universe that you hear about in comics and movies..

But, yes, for my children’s sake, I hope it becomes true.

I work as a full time freelance software developer and coding tutor. Hire me at UpWork or Fiverr. My personal website is here. I also have a Podcast. Thanks for reading.

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