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The Women?s Day, on sale

Has commerce hijacked the original thought behind Women?s Day?

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 04:40 IST

We Indians just love to celebrate. As if Holi, Diwali, Id and Christmas were not enough, the average Indian’s mindspace is now occupied by Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day et al. Given that, it was inevitable that Women’s Day — originally a day to celebrate women’s achievements in promoting equality, justice and peace — would be commandeered by anyone who has something to sell.

So, you have a lingerie store, Boudoir London, offering a 20 per cent discount on everything; Opex Paris offering premium designer watches meant to make women feel special; and Franck Provost, the spa, offering not just a 25 per cent discount to any woman walking in, but also a two-hour ‘beautiful woman’ package. Restaurants are not far behind: Goa Portuguesa and Culture Curry are giving 50 per cent off to women on food and wine; and the Bandra-based Seijo has organised a party for celebrity women clients. There is also a barge party off the Gateway for women — by invitation only.

Materially, things could not be better. While some believe that this commercialisation is sabotaging the real thought behind Women’s Day, others disagree. “Why should people be upset about having another reason to celebrate?” asks actress Pooja Bedi. “It’s okay if somebody is making some money out of it. However, the day should also be used to highlight women’s issues — like female infanticide.”

Bedi likes these special days as there are no rituals attached to them, unlike religious festivals. “One can just go out and enjoy oneself. Last year, I went to this great party where the theme was pink. This year, it is green.”

Though top model Deepika Padukone would not call celebrating Women’s Day a marketing gimmick, she does not feel it is very relevant now compared to earlier times of gender divide. “Now women are on a par with men, if not one step ahead,” she says. Nonetheless, she feels it is a good occasion “for celebrating womanhood”.

Actress Dolly Thakore loves the idea of this special day. “The day is important as everybody concentrates on women and it’s wonderful that so many stores are giving discounts. I wish every day would be Women’s Day.” She intends to attend the Seijo party for celebrities. “I know I’m one of the significant women in the city (sic),” says Thakore. “and it will be a good occasion to meet other such women.”

Former beauty queen and actress Gul Panag prefers to look beyond the goodies. “It’s nice,” she feels, “that there is a day that acknowledges women. A nation that doesn’t recognise its women can’t be developed.” She is not so charitable about those who are minting money out of this day.

Panag would like to observe the day with some female bonding — with friends Koel Purie and Shruti Seth — but is not sure what their schedules are. Ironically, she is launching a salon for men on Women’s Day.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 04:40 IST