It’s an idea that has been fed to us in countless infuriating ways: through jokes about women belonging in the kitchen; in the glaring absence of women from many leadership positions; even seeing how women take dainty bites of food, lest they put on weight, and become ‘less valuable’ in a patriarchal society.
Oh, and remember the World Bank study that revealed how women are 40% of the global workforce, but own only 1% of the world’s wealth? Women settle for less, because they are allowed less.
It’s unacceptable, and that’s exactly the point being made in a bold new ad by United Colors of Benetton (UCB).
The ad announces the company’s #UnitedByHalf campaign, asking people to take a pledge by demanding equal opportunities for women in education and work, as well as encouraging men to play a more active role in housework and emotional labour.
Perhaps the most striking thing about this video is that it recognises women’s sexual agency as well, by showing a woman who makes the first move in bed. This one scene alone flies in the face of those who deny women their right to sexual pleasure.
With this interesting montage, UCB joins a slew of other recent socially conscious ad campaigns – like Dove’s attempts to bust beauty myths, Blush’s reclaiming of the word ‘Bitch’, or Ariel’s push for equal division of labour at home. But what makes the UCB ad really different is a prominent use of rights-based language. Now that’s a pretty big deal, because the ad doesn’t end at just representing an idea, or provoking a thought. Now airing on Indian television, it demands that women be given their dues. And it’s time we took a pledge to make that happen.