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Posted by Aswini Ashok 

Comedy is a tricky premise. You either win all guns blazing or fall flat. There is no in between. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one such experiment that fared well enough to receive so many accolades for its cast and storyline. However, as an Indian viewer, it is sometimes hard to interpret the jokes as we are unfamiliar with the socio-cultural background in which it is set. The late 1950s of New York city is something beyond our imagination of course. Maybe some of the jokes couldn’t have tickled our ribs, but the message they put across is always loud and clear.

As an Indian woman, I have always believed that the emancipation of woman first comes through education and sexual liberation shall follow. This I found hard to understand in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, where the women seem to be sexually liberated, but for education, there is no due importance. Mrs. Weissman manipulating the women students in their post-graduate into believing that the Master’s degree has no value but to find a man has to be the ultimate purpose of studying in a college seemed very out of place given the level of independence women were entitled in the show. Well again, as I said, I still do not understand the background of the show.

The synopsis of the show, put exactly as per the director goes like this, “I wanted to do a story about a woman who thought she’d scored… She’d gotten it all, and then, bam, it all falls apart, she discovers an ambition and a need to speak, and a voice that she frankly didn’t know was there.” How correctly she had captured it! When Midge gave her own version of stand-up on becoming Mrs. Maisel, little did she know, this will become her profession later.

The show had my head scratching at times but has always managed to reason it out in the following episodes. One such instance is Midge referring herself as Mrs. Maisel (though reluctantly) to people around her even after turning down Mr. Maisel clearly. She uses her surname to everyone but on stage. Just when she thinks she can be Mrs. Maisel again, she declares herself as Mrs. Maisel to the whole world on stage. But bam again!

These are some 4 scenes that have been marvelous enough to scream to the whole world, “Yes we are feminists and we are on the path to conquer the world.”

1. Because you left

As women, keeping the marital status intact is something that is suppposed to be a second nature to them. Midge being her usual Ms. Pink fitted the role perfectly when with Joel. But once all hell broke loose, she was not that damsel in distress waiting for her knight to come back and sweep her off her feet anymore. The scene when Joel comes back asking her that they should give one more try could have convinced anyone desperate but Midge.

Though she was totally broke without a day job (at that time) or any definitive goal to look forward, she was clear she could find a way to put her life back on track without her ex-husband who walked away from her over another girl. Her reasoning is lucid, “Because you left”. You cannot simply walk away from someone who has pledged their life for you and come back just because things didn’t work out the way you expected. To look into that more deeply, Joel did not apologize; He did accept that was a mistake but did not take the blame on him, he generalised that maybe it was a mistake.

Midge may not have figured out her roadmap to a secured future but that could not keep her away from turning down her opportunistic ex with a simple yet powerful “No.”

But whose mistake was that? He simply came back just because he was unhappy with his new found love and his new lifestyle. If he had been happy, he would not have come back. Why on earth should women entertain such bullshit? Midge may not have figured out her roadmap to a secured future but that could not keep her away from turning down her opportunistic ex with a simple yet powerful “No.”

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No thanks. We are done with your helplessness masquerading as love.

2. Women will fix it and accessorise it:

“My father says, my favourite part in the newspaper is the ad for shoes. That makes me angry. They put these ads to distract us from the news.  Because if women don’t realize what’s going on in the world, they won’t step in and fix it. Because they will fix it and accessorise it” says Midge.

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Time and again, women are kept away from politics citing they don’t know anything. But the actual reason is what Midge puts forward. Because they will fix it and accessorise it, and the world is not ready to face that. Apparently, there could be nothing more terrifying for them than having women at the giving end. Women are labeled better administrators at home to limit their presence only there. In the crooked view of patriarchy, the able administrators at home turn good for nothing when they dare to fix things outside their homes and ‘distract’ women with juvenile pleasures in such a way that they fail to find access to more important issues. The results are harvested by men, while most women still keep finding happiness in petty matters. Patriarchy hopes women would be too busy correcting a smudged eyeliner to rectify the political issues around us.

Also read: The Marvellous Mrs Maisel: Women Can Be Funny Too

Women are made to believe that unimportant things matter most. “Nari Shakthi” is the Oxford Hindi word of the year as it captures the prevailing ethos, mood or preoccupations of the passing year and is judged to have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance. But sadly the meaning and purpose have not reached everyone very much. Nari Shakthi (Women Power) demands us to come out of our cocoons and fix the wrongs in the world and accessorise everything in it. Only when women accessorise something, it becomes devoid of the social stigmas and becomes truly open to the whole world irrespective of any form of discrimination.

Enough with the inhibitions. Let us fix things that need to be fixed and accessorise it.

3. You are not tired and you are not fucking weak

Susie is that badass friend every woman needs. Got a problem? Pour a goddamned tequila and let every bit of nonsense out of your system. She is that friend who will whack some sense into a distorted friend lamenting over anything. Hey but she doesn’t want to be friends with anyone. Susie initially defines her relationship with Midge as ‘partnership’ and later upgrades it to ‘connection’. Some really good improvement there!

“Bull shit. You are not an idiot. Just drop that doe-eyed Bambi thing right now. Okay. I’m sick of you acting all innocent. “Oh, I don’t know how the world works, because I’m a housewife and I wear four layers of petticoat.” It is tired and it is weak. And you are not tired and you are not fucking weak.” Susie schools Midge.

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 A brutally honest friend is the best thing that could happen to anyone. And who else than Susie can be that? A woman’s problem is fuelled by the surrounding that victimises her so much so that she feels it has become her identity. But the moment a woman resigns her assigned self and unleash the bitch in her is when she is going to go places. There is no way that doe-eyed Bambi thing is going to work in a world full of assholes ready to pounce on us and push us to all the extremes to bring out the beast in us. You are never tired to let go of a battle and never too weak to lose it.

Tits up everyone!

4. Why do women have to pretend to be something that they are not?

Why do we have to pretend to be stupid when we are not stupid? Why do we have to pretend to be helpless when we are not helpless? Why do we have to pretend to be sorry when we have nothing to be sorry about? Why do we have to pretend we are not hungry when we are hungry?

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This comes from a woman who used to pretend even in silly matters to keep her Mr. Perfect happy. Midge is that kind of woman who gets her hair and face done just before her husband wakes up to make sure he doesn’t have to risk seeing her ungroomed self. She even goes an extra step to unhook her bra just before sex so that her husband need not go through the tedious process of unhooking a bra. She wanted to be that lovely dovey wife who takes 1000 extra miles to be an eye candy and handy doll to her husband. Apparently a trait she has inherited from her mother.

Women are expected to pretend to be less intelligent so that they don’t become threatening to the intelligent species that is men.

Women are expected to pretend to be less intelligent so that they don’t become threatening to the intelligent species that is men. Women are expected to pretend to be flawlessly beautiful so that they don’t become an eyesore to men. Women are expected to pretend to be silent so that men can live at peace and have all the talking themselves. Women are expected to pretend to be dumb so that the privilege men have is justified. To sum up, women are expected to lie low and take the assault or pretend to be dim-witted enough to not care about such things.

Also read: Mrs. Maisel: Just As Marvellous As Before

It won’t kill us to stop pretending and let the goddamned hair look disoriented, to look crappy, to smell foul, to gorge on food, to talk shit, to make mistakes, to be loud, to be brutally straightforward, to not fake a smile to an asshole, to not sweet talk in a tiring situation, to forget what the world expects from us and love the way we are without any societal filters.

Put that on your plate ladies!


Aswini Ashok is a learning feminist evolving through experience and opinions. She questions everything, never settles for inequality. loves to travel, and adding voice to her pen. You can follow her on Facebook.

Featured Image Source: Page Six

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