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'Masaba Masaba': Busting the sexist stereotypes

As the semester’s workload had been taking a toll on my mental health, which I believe almost all of us can relate to, I searched for a light-hearted watch. That’s when Masaba Masaba came to my rescue. The fact that it’s not only enjoyable, but also serves as a mouthpiece for many social concerns is what kept my eyes glued to my screen till the last episode.

Masaba Masaba is a fictional take on two renowned women of India’s entertainment industry: Masaba Gupta and her actor-mother, Neena Gupta. The show begins with Masaba getting divorced, and then goes on to highlight the negative stereotypes attached to a divorcee in a desi Indian society. However, Masaba is a perfect depiction of when life throws you curveballs, kick it instead of tripping over it.


The miserable life of a divorcee!

After her divorce, when Masaba decides to live on her own away from her mother, it gets difficult for her to even secure a lease for a new apartment, given that she’s a divorcee and a female celebrity. She only manages to get a new apartment through a recommendation of her male colleague. This one instance doesn’t depict anything about Masaba’s character, but highlights how being a divorcee in our society is more of a hex. The idea of ‘settling’ by only finding a compatible man, and starting a family never leaves her throughout the entire series. However, Masaba sets a perfect example of how a woman can live life on her own, even if it turns out to be a Hot Mess at one point.

The pressure of biological clock to have children

In a desi household, it is a fantasy concept to live your life as a woman without having to worry about starting a family, especially if you are unmarried. Masaba, being an ambitious career-oriented woman, is always found figuring ways out to grow professionally. Therefore, instead of falling into the pressure of biological clock and quickly finding a man for herself without any compatibility, she decides to freeze her eggs as soon as she finds a man with some clarity. The progressive series sheds light on various ways such as IVF, egg freezing, embryos etc. that a woman can rely on to have children. The series not only breaks the stereotype of giving up your careers to have children, but also realistically demonstrates how a woman should not only get married in the pressure of having children. Instead, she can make her own choices of what she thinks is right, negating the opinion of many viewers too who thinks that she could have thought of adoption instead of freezing her eggs. But again, ‘uska jisam, uski marzi’ isnt it?


Career & bearing child? The two alienated concepts

As mentioned earlier, the series successfully shatters the stereotypes a patriarchal society attaches to a working woman: she must leave her job to have motherhood. The busy bee PR consultant of Masaba (Kusha Kapila) manages to handle everything on her own, in fact, saves her from many PR disasters, despite being pregnant. Instead of making it seem as a hindrance to her career, she is shown as an empowered energetic lady who is spot on in everything. The way Masaba hires her just when she saw that she is pregnant opens up a room for all those employers who fail to recognize working parents and pregnant women, specifically.


The flaws in entertainment industry

Since the series is dominated by women, it does not fail to take into account the issues faced by women of various ages while also providing solutions to them. Neena Gupta specifically targets the fact that if older male leads can be accepted in the industry, why not older female leads? Why is a woman reduced to being all about her body and youth? Therefore, the show highlights Neena as a resilient woman, who reaches out to directors for a lead role despite her ageing factor. It also gives limelight to the problem of mansplaining that many women can relate to, in almost all the sectors. When Neena finds out that she is being mansplained, instead of giving in she immediately takes a stand to prove herself.


Moving to Husband’s house isn't necessary

It is assumed by many people in the series that Neena has moved to Delhi after her marriage. Contrary to these assumptions, she chooses to live in Mumbai away from her husband owing to her work commitments. Therefore, the show rightly highlights that a woman can still have a happy marriage whilst being away due to her own priorities. Patriarchy –0. Feminism –1


Why a specific body shape?

In an attempt to target the fashion prejudice that favors only a specific body shape and size, Masaba comes up with a new collection catering all sizes. It rightfully promotes the notion of beauty that it comes in all sizes and shapes.


Masaba Masaba is a show that is relatable to every woman, in some way or the other. This show is for every woman who battles a gazillion challenges every day and yet does not stop making the choices she must make. It is not only an interesting watch, but also very uplifting since it shatters many sexist stereotypes in the patriarchal society, we live in.



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Absolutely! I believe the way these aunties think is the result of what is passed down from generation to generation. If we as Gen Z question their thought process, to be honest, they do not have a very solid response to it other than 'hamari maayen ye kahte theen'. Also, from what I have observed among my parent's generation is that they were never taught to question the ideologies that perpetuated around them, unlike us. Thus, i think its time that we, as the empowered woman of our times break these stereotypes for the generations to come and not attach stigma to female separations.


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I think seeing women in unorthodox roles is so important because that, as you've highlighted Eman, breaks the standards of the patriarchy. Moreover, I also believe that you've given me so much substance to think about in terms of how we need to reimagine what the modern perception of a working women should be because while women are part of doing unpaid care work at home. This also often extends to the additional emotional labor that women are compounded with when their relations are strained and they are expected to manage their lives as if nothing has happened alongside managing stigma which in it self can be a taxing process.

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This seems like a very empowering watch and I love the way you’ve analysed it! It’s important to break certain gender norms and stereotypes especially in today’s day and age where working for a women has become a NEED and not a want. Things like freezing eggs and working on your career are important concepts to acknowledge. We’ve all heard an aunty or two say that if a girl gets married too late, she’ll have problems with having children. However, if a girl truly wants to work on herself before having children, its just as important to acknowledge that. So what if a women gets divorced and things don’t work out? Life moves on but in desi culture, people feel…

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