By Abha Gosavi:
I don’t know how many of you have seen the recent soap advertisement where a gang of ‘hot chicks’ bribe a group of kids with chocolate to get a handsome guy play football with them. The lusty girls watch as the guy rolls around in the mud taking off his clothes. At the end of the game, the girls run at him all equipped with hosepipes and a soap. Really? That’s the best you can do to sell a soap?
I was disgusted to see that advertisement. I was indeed outraged and infuriated. There was this another advertisement where a guy cuts trees while a couple of girls steal his shirt. The macho man then takes off on his bike, overtakes the girls, shows them some of his macho attitude, and off again on his bike – topless! Again! The whole idea makes no sense! The connection between topless men and the endless competition to sell men products is one I’ll never fathom. The portrayal of women in all recent advertisements as forever desperate about men has deeper consequences than what we perceive. Its not just the sheer disgust these gimmicks cause, its a lot more.
Its really ironic that such advertisements are increasing against the background of rising crime against women in India. A great number of factors are responsible for these crimes. But this one I can clearly see. These advertisements could really be one of the smaller forces in driving an increasing number of men to molest girls, women, and most unfortunately, even minors. I can almost see it in my minds eye, a guy from the shanties in Delhi or Mumbai views the advertisement on a television set with all his gully-mohalle friends. They say, ‘What a great way to get the items to notice us!’. With little or no education, this section of our society is most prone to believe such stupid advertisements. So, off they go to the kirana store and get the magic soaps and perfumes and what-nots. Having applied all the said materials in copious amounts they set off in gangs to get the girls. ‘So where to go?’, they say. The slightly more sagacious of the group suggests a girls’ college campus. If they don’t have ‘babes’ there, they are not going to have them anywhere! Oh my God! What a sight! Girls all around; dressed in jeans, skirts and even ones in salwar kameez to suit the tastes of the more conservative ones. When the objects of their fantasy pass them without even the slightest notice, oh their masculinity is challenged! How dare that weak little thing ignore my intoxicating perfume? Why isn’t she running at me with hosepipes and soap even though I am all covered in muck? Lets show this girl her place! And then they go, in gangs, to make her pay a price for her impudence. What happens further, I need not even mention.
Is it not so obvious that such small things as advertisements could cause the staggering crimes that have been gripping our nation? Is it so important for the manufacturing industry to sell its products in a way that can let off a chain reaction that can shake the nation? Or maybe the sales people are so blinded by a worn out advertising gimmick that they just can’t foresee the social repercussions of their actions. The national authorities set up a censor board for smoking scenes and explicit content in movies, but why not for these advertisements? Those two or three minutes of effective publicity can be imprinted quite permanently on the minds of the youth. One small step to avoid crime against women, let’s censor our advertisements and find an alternative to explicit content for sale of mundane objects.