Remember the Axe deodorant ad? Yes the one where the male protagonist sprays on the deodorant, and loads of women, in minimal clothing, flock around him vying for his attention?
Women in Advertisements
Do you remember the Reebok ad starring Bipasha Basu and Dhoni? Be truthful. Who grabbed your eyeballs here? Bipasha, Dhoni, or the Reebok footwear? The advert highlighted Bipasha’s scantily clad body to sell the shoes. This is not just a one off case. There are numerous such advertisements portraying women as objects of lust. They are used to notch up the sales of the product or service they are promoting.
Why only talk about portrayal of women in advertisements, the movies and television serials are no less. Most producers and directors use ‘item’ numbers to promote their movies. The star cast and the script come much later.
Television Serials and Sacrificing Daughter in Law
Even the usual ‘saas-bahu’ fare that is shoved down our throats daily via the television channels. Barring a couple of them, most of the serials portray women as housewives who are always decked up in heavy sarees and jewellery, caked with loads of makeup doing variety of housework. There is always the oppressed bahu, or daughter-in-law, who is the epitome of sacrifice. And there is also the vamp, who is plotting against everyone. If by chance, the female protagonist is portrayed as an ambitious character, then she is sure to be cold hearted lonely lady, for whom career is everything.
So what are we to conclude? Women are either sexual objects, or they are overly made up family oriented people, who are here to provide, and not ask for anything in return. Worse still, if they are career oriented, then they have no affinity towards family life.
Role of Media
What is the media dishing out to the society? The young impressionable minds of today are being provided a completely distorted image of what women are. The young girls are made to feel that the only way they can get attention from their male counterparts is to dress down. And since all those pretty ladies in the movies and television do it, there cannot be anything wrong with it.
I am not saying that the media does not churn out realistic stuff. They do. And maybe that is why there are sane people around even now. But realistic portrayal of women in media is negligible. Most of the time they are betrayed, rather than portrayed.
What is the solution to this? I don’t know. Maybe a starting point would be, if our celebrity female actors refuse to be portrayed in such poor taste. And the next step would, we the consumers refusing to touch any product or services where women have been portrayed in a bad taste.