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OkCupid's ad shines light on the people who 'allow' women to be successful...

Popular writers Manaswi Mohata and Anuya Jakatdar conceptualised the creative idea and wrote the script for the video.

Behind every successful woman is the will to wake up and get past the many hurdles in the form of well meaning restrictions.. The year is 2021 and yet 79 per cent women have been raised to believe they need their partner’s permission to pursue a career, many of them still find themselves having to take ‘permission’ to live their life.

Things that are considered normal like getting an education, being career-driven, building financial independence, etc, are considered to be a special privilege for women. This Women’s day, OkCupid releases a digital video which throws the spotlight on benefactors in a woman’s life who think they are allowing them this ‘privilege’ but are actually stripping a woman's agency.

OkCupid’s latest video on International Women’s Day featuring Mukti Mohan opens with an award show where everyone expects a man to win ‘CEO of the year’ award (even the trophy is shaped like a man!) but actually it’s a woman who wins it showing the MC and everyone in the crowd perplexed.

When she gets on the podium to speak after receiving the award, one by one, her so-called benefactors take the mic to tell the world why they are the reason she has won the award in the first place. Starting off with her partner who says she is welcome to his generosity in allowing her to work, her parents move to the stage to inform the crowd about them investing in her education despite the “shaadi risk” followed by her landlord who tells how she allowed her to rent her flat even though she was unmarried. Set in a startup space the film also portrays an Investor explicitly stating that he never brings up that she is in her late twenties and expected to leave the company to start a family.

The film ends with the protagonist reminding everyone that she doesn’t need permission to have the same hopes and dreams that any adult man would. While no one can control or change the world around them immediately, they can take charge of their love lives and find a love that is respectful, supportive and built on equality instead of “Ijazat”.

India's social fabric is evolving in response to women who are making their voices heard and yet patriarchy is so deeply ingrained that we often don’t recognise it. Talking about this further, Anukool Kumar, Marketing Director OkCupid India says, “At OkCupid, we know that today’s generation is far more progressive particularly about their views on feminism, gender roles and the idea of romance with both men and women overwhelmingly calling for a world where there is equality amongst genders. And yet, for women who are charting new paths- both personally and professionally, permission is given or taken away. With Ijazat Hai, we want to shine light on this difference and remind women that they have power over themselves, that only they are in a position to give or take permission on how to live life.”

Popular writers Manaswi Mohata and Anuya Jakatdar conceptualised the creative idea and wrote the script for the video. Commenting on how they came up with this extremely relevant narrative, they add, “Women often have to be grateful for getting the basic human decency they're owed, something that men take for granted as the norm. Tuning this with OkCupid’s brand legacy of validating Indian millennials' choices of living a life or finding love on their own terms, we wanted to further strengthen this narrative for women all around the world. We did so by using the Awards Show Thank You speech as a format. Instead of letting her have her moment, everyone jumps in to take credit for "allowing" her to succeed.”

As a dating app that celebrates individuality, OkCupid uses an algorithm informed by over 3000 questions to meaningfully match its users on the basis of shared interests, values and deal-breakers. The campaign video went live on March 4th 2020 on OkCupid India’s digital channels. Engaging with audiences on their Instagram channel, OkCupid is launching a week long game called “Cards Against Ijazat’ that uses Instagram Stories’ native AMA format to encourage both men and women to respond to demands for gratitud