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Apr 23, 2014

A Complete World?

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By Charmaine Albuquerque, India [ Published Date: August 6, 2011 ]

I was searching for an advertisement on YouTube of a bygone era the other day, when I came across this ad of a well known clothing brand. However the one thing that struck me odd was the tag line, which basically implied that, one had to be the user of that particular brand to be complete!  It made me wonder – were those who did not have the purchasing power, nor liked the brand mere mortals and incomplete?  To my simple mind, this did not make any sense. The word complete, as defined in a dictionary, did not help much to put to rest the niggling questions that the tag line raised in my head.  How can someone be lacking, deficient or imperfect if they did not patronize the brand? I knew deep down that there would be no answers to these questions and decided to carry on with my life. But that was not to be.

A few days later while out on a drive, my eye caught a hoarding of a so-called International School. Once again the tag line used - the complete school! This woke up those demons in my head, about the use of the word complete.  What was the school trying to imply, that only those who walked down its hallowed portals achieved enlightenment and those like us who went to the non- global schools were incomplete and uneducated? Did the education imparted to us, not hold us in good stead and get us to where we are today? So in what way will a child from this school, be superior to those in other ‘incomplete’ schools?

But what really got my goat, was a statement made by one of my colleagues to another one who is expecting her second child.  To quote ‘you and your husband must be looking forward to having to daughter this time round. That will make your family complete’ Grrrrrr!  Complete? As per whose definition? Does this mean that all families that have either two or more children of the same sex incomplete?  Did it mean that those parents, who for whatever reason could not have more than one child, have an incomplete family?

Unfortunately these are the kind of definitions that are not limited to only my colleague but to a vast majority of us, even by the younger generation.  These are then perpetuated and capitalized upon by advertising agencies as well.  Don’t we all see a happy and complete family of a mother, father, son and daughter in commercials that range from breakfast cereal to life insurance, to housing?   Will they not sell their products or services to families that have two sons or two daughters?  Is it any wonder that with a mindset like this, we still are holding on to the distinction of being at the top when it comes to feticide and infanticide?

It is about time we stopped re-defining the meaning of the word to suit our needs lest we end up making a complete ass of ourselves and the world around us. Oh and just for the record and just going by the different definitions of the word complete, this sure qualifies as an incomplete article.

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Joyce Alvares, Qatar:
Charmaine:

I have two girls and the number of times I have heard the statement of having another boy so that my family is complete is not funny!
Drona, India :
Selling my friend. Selling. That is the buzz word.
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