Over the years, media has played an important role as a medium of not just entertainment but also influence. Millions of people have access to different forms of media such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc. and with the proliferation of such forms of media, a platform for advertising was built. We’re aware of the kind of prejudice that was projected towards women in the earlier days (needless to say, even now) and this attitude towards women had seeped into the world of advertising too. Check out the pictures below to see what I’m talking about- Now these advertisements were published in the 80’s or 90’s and were considered alright because the notion of feminism was not recognized. These ads portrayed women as people who belonged to the kitchen and worked with only household items (and apparently could not open ketchup bottles). Basically, these advertisements were targeted for audiences who still think that women in our society were born to serve men and work for keeping the house clean. Either that, or people just did not think it was a big deal to retaliate against such advertisements because it was found in print publications and was not seen as an issue. But that’s where the problem lies. In the good old days of print media, when color came in and advertisements were given a boost because of the added advantage of showing products in color, it attracted more attention. And attention of not just men and women but children also. And because of this, kids grew thinking that girls were soft and could not be seen equal to boys. In fact, even girls started to conform to that gender role. Maybe that’s why phrases such as- “You hit like a girl” or “You’re such a girl, stop acting like a girl” came up. Of course, there are other factors to these phrases but the media is partly to blamed. Let’s look at a few more advertisements that are going to hurt you deeply –
And we know, how you are feeling after this. Don’t you think the media is really responsible for this? The media has proved to be a powerful instrument for good and a weapon to fight bad. And with that power, comes great responsibility- a responsibility to understand that whatever is seen or heard on any form of media can prove to be influential. And in a world that sees a generation addicted to the entertaining and informative forms of media, it is important to realize that the only way such advertisements can be seen as anti-feminist and misogynist is if we break existing gender roles by portraying women as strong and independent people and not tools to advance the sales of a product in the most sexist way possible.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Joshua Moses, our intern.