How corporates shamelessly employ patronizing messaging in ads on sensitive issues like rape

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How does an ad-company or a PR firm think? They look at the product to be sold and then the latest news – “what are people reacting to these days?”. Then they think, how do we ride this wave to sell more products. While creating jingles and sales-pitches around sensitive socio-political subjects they often skip understanding the cause itself. They’re big corporations – but during times like these they behave not more than an average street hawker who’d go anywhere where people collect.

Let’s see what Gillette India did during the back-to-back occurrences of rape incidents across India recently. They want you to be the “soldier for women” and save their honor. Because this is what a MAN does. We do not have to change our law machinery or bring reforms to police – but what we have to do as act like Bollywood heroes and sniff out the rapist, land at the rape-site at the right moment and HAIYYAAAAH the crap out of the bad guys. How frikkin’ childish. And do not forget that every real man uses the Gillette Razor – because that is the mark of a MAN.

Gillette wants you to be a soldier for women

Rape and condition of women in India is a sensitive subject. Where responsible media and social activists are working really hard to change the sexist thinking among Indian men – companies like Gillette are re-enforcing the age-old ideas where man is the protector of woman. By messages like this it takes us back to the days of associating honor with rape.

Two kinds of bravado are celebrated in Indian society – especially in Indian culture.

- One, where the woman acts like “Jhaansi Ki Raani” and beats the hell out of bad guys.
- Second, when men (or her brother) who save her honor when some bad guys are trying to tear her clothes.

Both these ideas are a production of Bollywood.

Some people really believe in the solutions like women should learn martial arts. Let me ask you, have you ever tried learning the martial arts? It’s not easy. And it takes years sometimes. Is it the solution of rape? What guarantee that even though you know “Karate” you’d be able to karate when 6 guys jump on you? Utter non-sense!

Now, men saving women. Let me tell you something – crowds can save women, not men. Whenever their are instances of public sex-harassment and nobody comes forward to help the victim or stop the perpetrator – because these common people are shit scared about their own lives. This general apathy rises from the basic mistrust that if one person spoke – others won’t support him/her.

Another kind of message in ads and entertainment media is – Men RESPECT Women. I never got this either. How do you define respect here? Should men respect all women, even if they’re mean to them? For example, I’ve known several people (who were women) during my work years who didn’t deserve one iota of respect from anybody. These women were just really really bad people.

1.8 Million Pledges mean 1.8 Million Leads and Potential Revenue
which equal a successful ad-campaign. HURRAYY!!

Or, are they talking about some special kind of seх-related respect? I’m totally confused on this. Let me tell you what this is. This is the same patronizing virtue which is found staple in Indian moralities – that “Aurat Devi Hai, Uski Puja Karo” (Women should be worshiped . What do these people want? Should men kiss the grounds on which random women walk? Ever heard of gender-equality?

Let us see the opposite  to understand this better. How would a message of “Women should Respect Men” sound. Ridiculous right? Why not preach “Mutual Respect” if you have to. Many believe since a lot of women aren’t treated well in India – we should either reduce men’s status or increase women’s status to that of a goddess. This is not a mechanical balance, my friends.

Neither all women are good, nor all men are bad. What needs to be done is instead of artificially increasing the status of women in India, we need to highlight men with good values. Men who treat women as equals. Men who don’t believe in stereotypical gender roles.

Unlike Shahrukh Khan in the ad where he tells a lady interviewer “Women shouldn’t be equal to Men, but ahead of Men”? What is that all about? And then that interviewer shows us her satisfied smile – that now women have got their due status, because film-star SRK acknowledges their superiority. This is not the example of an ideal man. This is just another ad-film copywriter harnessing our stupidity to sell more products.


No self respecting woman ever wants to be put on a pedestal. This is a fact that most Indian men need to internalize. Treat women equally, not as special-gift-of-god but as equals. Let me tell you another secret – that is the key to their heart as well. Most men in India trying to find love – first put women on the pedestal then when don’t get a response become jilted lovers. How many time have I heard in hindi cinema “Aurat zaat par kabhi bharosa mat karo” (Never trust a woman).

Respect people for the qualities they bring to the table. Their genders shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Respecting a woman for just being a woman? That doesn’t make any sense. Treat people with respect that they deserve. Chivalry is dead for a reason – men are no knights in shining armors and women are no damsels in distress. Some women may think chivalrous behavior is some kind of right that they deserve – but nothing puts you down more than by being put on a pedestal.

It’s like how brothers are expected to protect their sisters – because she tied the rakhi on his hands so he can become her “rakhwala”. Even though in reality, she might be paying his school fees through her salary and protecting him from bullies in school. But comes the day of Raksha-Bandhan and she become this meek-little-poodle who needs protection from her 13 year old brother. You get the picture.

Women deserve safety in the society because that is the responsibility  of our law enforcement agencies. We pay taxes for that. This commitment of safety is ensured to every single citizen of India. Even if that’s a man who’s the victim of domestic violence. You may remember this scene from popular movie “A Wednesday”. Before Naseeruddin Shah reports the loss of wallet, there’s another reporting how his wife uses pressure cooker to hit him everyday. The cop refuses to accept his complaint, laughs at him and asks him to go home. What is that – this is another example of sexist beliefs showcased in popular media.


About Rape, it’s a simple concept about consent. Consent during seх. How hard is that? Imagine a homosexual man really likes how you look – is that fair to you that he jumps you in the dark and has his way with you? Would you like that? It’s your decision what enters your body right? Give the same right to women.

You do have a right to have seх. But seх is an activity for two people. Both should be the willing partners. Learn how to talk to women – how to “convince” them so they want to have sex with you. Then have all the sex you want. Be the nice guy, not the creepy guy.

This is how you become a man. And this is just the seхual part of it. And no, just using the Gillette razor won’t make you a man either. They would want you to believe it though.
Name

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Indian Exponent: How corporates shamelessly employ patronizing messaging in ads on sensitive issues like rape
How corporates shamelessly employ patronizing messaging in ads on sensitive issues like rape
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