From someone’s sexual orientation to skin tone, it is rather ludicrous how we tend to hold prejudices against the most natural things. Take age, for instance. All of us age, right? And yet if you happen to be a woman in India then ‘your clock is ticking’ is one of the most alarming sentences to hear. Women here are constantly told to get married or have kids or something similar on the grounds that they aren’t getting any younger by the day. Of course, they are scrutinised for aging too. Oh did you see she is beginning to get grey hair? Woh toh badi lagne lag gayi hai ab! To say and hear such things in India is basic AF.
However, just when you think that it does not get any worse than this, you are attacked with the ‘A’ word: Aunty! From a random toddler who brushes past you in the mall to mean colleagues disapproving of your style, legit anyone can call you ‘aunty.’ And not only it is annoying AF but as Rupert Christiansen’s points in The Complete Book of Aunts ‘aunty’ as a word not just insinuates age but often comes loaded with layers of class, race, and stereotypes.
In what looks like an attempt to address these stereotypes, Netflix India recently dropped a song called Aunty Kisko Bola Re as part of its upcoming show Masaba Masaba promotions. Featuring Neena Gupta and Mithila Palkar, the song has been touted as “Very important PSA by @neena_gupta” and happens to be quite catchy. Also, Neenaji is looking very stylish and quite a stunner in the song especially in her House Of Masaba saree. But then that’s that when we talk about the upside of this song. As for the downside, we have much to say!
While Netflix India might have attempted to go all “woke” and shatter stereotypes and stuff, the endeavour seems to be riddled with problems. We’d start with the idea of generalising and stereotyping young women. Yes, it’s awesome that the song talks about how age is just a number and all one needs to be is to stay young at heart. However, we don’t really agree with the build-up that leads to this idea. Take, for instance, this line from the song: “Nakli jawaani teri doobega jahaaz, Isliye karun teri umar ka lihaaz.” And while we would have given the writer benefit of the doubt for that line, the song goes on reiterating the idea with the following: “Chehre pe bhale jhurriyon ki katai hai. Tere jaise nahi filter se hatai hai.”
Basically the song here is fighting against the derogatory use of the word “aunty” by generalising young women and calling all of them fake. The song totally suggests that all of them rely on filters and plastic surgeries, looks down at them for this, and we can’t decide between what angers us more: the sweeping generalisations or judging young women for doing whatever the hell they want to do in the first place. I mean, if it is okay for Neenaji who plays aunty in the song to proclaim that she can be as young as she wants to be then why isn’t she okay for young women to do whatever the hell they wanna do?
But wait there’s more! The song also judges the young woman Mithila in the song for wearing makeup. “Tere jaise nahi makeup ki dukaan,” the lyrics say. Okay, so firstly both Neenaji and Mithila are actually wearing makeup in the song and to suggest one of them is not, would be clearly misguiding the viewers. Secondly, makeup is awesome! Can we please stop judging women for wearing makeup already?
Also, cut some slack for 60-year-old women! I have seen a good share of uber-cool 60-year-old ladies totally living it up and putting their points without pulling anyone down. If you ask me honestly, this Netflix song only seems to have further contributed to the ‘aunty’ trope instead of addressing the problems associated with it. I can’t even!
Featured Image: Instagram