Because Advertising should not be "Sexist"!!
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Because Advertising should not be Sexist:
This morning I saw an advertisement for "Xpert Dishwash" on a friend's facebook wall and she had expressed her genuine concern regarding its contents. So I was tempted to watch it! And as I patiently sat through this piece of nonsensical, extremely insensitive, devoid of sensibility and empathy "bunkum"; I concluded that it is not only disturbing to see a housewife being portrayed in the most inhumane way but also the broad messaging of the ad is deeply flawed.
A mother, wife, daughter in law is catering to the whims of her family who in turn are busy ordering her around. She is working round the clock, serving, cleaning, cooking and yet her smile never wears off. Towards the end it gets more cringe worthy as the man/husband walks towards the kitchen sink asking her out for an ice cream, when she refuses given the load of dishes she needs to clean, he walks off with a smirk! Instead of lending a helping hand, the man just WALKED AWAY!! I was so livid that I found myself yelling at the screen, "Move your ass"!!
And then the caption reads "Ek bartan kum istemaal karein"!! Isn't "#EkHaathAurBatayein" more suited??
How audacious of this advertising company to first denigrate woman of the house in a way that we would not even like to see our domestic help and then in place of telling the family off for not doing their own dishes and chores, the core is "use less dishes".
In any century this will qualify as feudal and cruel reeking of "benevolent sexism" especially in today's world where women are increasingly becoming strong and independent.
This also portrays Indian homes, in laws, husbands in a very poor light.
Please watch it for yourself to get an idea of how absurd this is!
Recently a UK watchdog called Advertising Standards Authority decided to crack its whip on advertising agencies that make ads promoting gender stereotypes. It also toughened rules on ads that "body shame" . Given the barrage of fairness cream ads that we see even today in modern day India such stringent rules are much required here too. Not that we have not had path breaking ads from Tanishq and P & G shattering stereotypes in the past, but these examples are rare and not the norm. In most Indian ads we still see the mother/woman doing chores. Even the very popular "Daag Ache Hain" ccampaign by Unilever shows women doing laundry.
As we struggle to create an equal place for our girls, advertisements like "Xpert" dish wash bar drag us back by a few years at least! And what was more shocking to me personally was to read the chain of comments below the link on the company's facebook page. Viewers by and large hailed the woman as "sanskari" (cultured) and proudly compared her to their respective mothers. Not that my own mother has not gone through this drudgery. Yes, she has! And I was oblivious to her plight for some time, then helpless but I finally did call it out and fought against it. What we have witnessed as mute spectators over the years does in no way "right" the "wrong". Our mothers deserve better! Also spare a thought that it is not so much willingness to slog at the cost of their dreams and aspirations as it is a result of years of conditioning and patriarchy.
70 years of freedom and women in many homes are still tied down to the kitchen, even today in parties and gatherings, women gossip in their sacred space about children and mother in law while men talk politics and finance with ads like "Xpert" dish wash bar playing in the background nurturing their conformist attitudes and mindsets.
In case my rants have struck a chord with you then kindly take a moment to sign and share my petition against the same:
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