As far as showing women in advertisements is concerned, a woman is either shown doing household chores such as washing clothes and utensils, cooking different items for different members of the family as if she is a goddess with eight hands, trying to make her children feel better who are suffering from cold or merely played sex objects in ads related to deodorants for men. Companies’ sell their products by propagating fair is lovely and slim is attractive.
But more recently, certain sensible ads have challenged sexism. Following are 5 of the many ads that have empowered women in some way and broken stereotypes.
Lloyd Unisex Washing Machine
This ad changes the typical mindset that washing clothes are a woman’s task. The ad shows a couple looking for a washing machine. When the salesperson asks the man which type of machine he is looking for, he proudly announces that ask ma’am, as it’s her ‘department’. His wife asks the salesperson to show her a unisex washing machine so that even her husband can do the washing. Thus, she breaks the stereotype that only women are responsible for doing household chores.
Dabur Vatika Hair Oil
Dabur Vatika’s ‘Brave and Beautiful’ campaign shows a woman cancer survivor who has lost her hair due to chemotherapy. In a society where women with long hair are considered more attractive, the woman feels apprehensive to go out to work with no hair. But she receives support from her husband and she let’s go off her scarf and goes to work. At workplace too, she receives love and encouragement irrespective of how she looks.
This one shows a Punjabi family looking at various Punjabi wedding jewellery pieces for their daughter’s wedding. The girl tries on various pieces and while her parents and sister are looking at her, the girl’s dadi is looking at a South Indian bride wearing South Indian jewellery and feels tempted by it. When the girl asks her dadi for her suggestion, her dadi approves her look but convinces her to marry a South Indian so that she can wear two kinds of jewellery- Punjabi as well as South Indian. The family is amused at dadi’s progressive and changed mindset. The girl suggests her dadi to convince her younger sister to marry a South Indian. The ad ends with a voice-over ‘Hum Kisi Bhi Tarah ki Shaadi Ke Liye Tayyar Hain’. The ad thus promotes inter-caste marriages and proves that even the elderly and most conservative members of a family can learn to welcome changes.
Gurdeep Singh and Daughters
The ad begins with a customer praising sweet shop owner Gurdeep Singh for his business that has been doing exceptionally well. Gurdeep smiles and says it’s all because of the efforts of his children. The customer assumes that Gurdeep has sons as his children and praises them. Here, Gurdeep corrects him and tells him that it’s not sons but his daughters. The customer then notices the signboard that reads ‘Gurdeep Singh & Daughters’. The ad breaks the convention that only sons can assist their fathers in running the business. It empowers women to take up business and entrepreneurship as a profession.
Havells Coffee Maker
This ad shows a mother and her NRI son who have come to see a girl, just as it happens in arranged marriage setups. The mother complains that she has been asking her son to settle down for a long time. She feels sad that her son has to go outside in cold to have coffee from coffee shops. The girl brings them Havells coffee maker so that her son can have coffee anytime 24*7 and proclaims that she is not a kitchen appliance. Thus, shutting down the mother’s mouth.
We need more such ads as media is a powerful medium to influence people. Ads can make people prejudiced and distort their thinking. By correcting stereotypes, we can give women the much-needed respect that has been lacking in the society.