Why our brands and ad makers desperately need to think of women as human beings, not appliances or objects.
Quick test. Are they doing?
(a) Household chores
(b) Dolling up kids and/or their husbands
(c) As teachers or principals being insulted by kids armed with the latest candy
(f) All of the above
In case you were wondering, the correct answer is (f).
It is puzzling that our ad makers belong to the supposedly ‘enlightened’ segment of society. They pride themselves in being liberal. Yet, when I see a woman or girl in our ads, she is usually a hapless creature devoid of any intelligence or feelings; in fact just another appliance to add to the fridges, vacuum cleaners and toasters.
Starting from the kids. Boys are shown playing soccer, riding bicycles, doing their homework and generally everything cool. Girls are shown preparing rotis in front of tearfully smiling moms (hello, Mom, she is too young to be so near fire), pushing trolleys and smiling vacantly while their brothers and fathers come home.
Take insurance. Every ad for a savings scheme tells you that it will help your beta to acquire a higher education and it will help your beti …. get married, of course! I have seen a ton of them and I have yet to see a variation on this theme.
According to our ads, this is the typical biography of a girl:
I was born with a belan in my hand. I learned to cook rotis when I was three (see the Guinness Book of Records for details). At five I was cooking complete meals. At eight I learned how to clean the bathroom, set up a trolley and to embroider which I used as a bribe to extract a decent meal out of my mom. At 12 I used a whitening cream which meant that in three years I got married. However I was killed off by my saas one day when my husband smiled at me in a dish-wash bar ad with my saas looking on.