1. This weekend, Airtel released a commercial featuring two working professionals (one man and one woman) trying to find their respective work-spouse balances:
2. In case you don’t want to watch it, here’s what happens: A woman tells her male employee that he has to finish [unspecified professional task] no matter how long it takes.
3. So he’s stuck late at the office, doing the work that his terrible boss has dumped on him.
4. While she’s like, bye. Because she’s the boss and she gets to do that.
5. Then she goes home and cooks a full Masterchef meal for her husband…
6. And meanwhile, her worker bee dude at the office tells his wife on the phone that he’ll be late getting home.
7. Finally, thanks to their super-fast 3G enabled video call, you find out that they’re actually married – *music crescendos* – TO EACH OTHER.
8. The ad, named “Boss,” has sparked predictably strong reactions. Some take issue with its portrayal of a woman who, despite being professionally successful, still cooks for her husband.
11. Others have been quick to point out that she wasn’t expected to, or told to, cook dinner. She chose to.
14. And finally, in the minority is the most progressive camp, citing pragmatism as the driving force of her cooking spree.
16. This ad joins a spate of recent campaigns from around the world that have aimed to bridge the gap between “woman” and “boss.”
Pictured above: Screenshots from a Pantene Philippines ad campaign from 2013. More here.
17. And, in particular, to pardon women from the gendered pejorative “bossy” and instead allow both genders to equally own the title “boss.”
18. Women reportedly make up only 30% of the Indian work force, and earn only 62 paise for every rupee that a man earns for equal work.
This is in large part because India, like most of the world, is deeply entrenched in a patriarchy that tasks women with motherhood before their careers. Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo (pictured above), said in a recent address that women cannot have it all – where “all” means being a good professional, mother, and wife – and it is unreasonable to expect them to. Airtel, portraying a functional marriage where the women is more professionally successful than the man, obviously believes otherwise. Regardless of which side of the conversation one falls on, one thing to be grateful for is that at least it’s being had.