#Scamadgate: Not sacking, self-regulation needed: activists

28 Mar,2013

By Meghna Sharma


“Koi aur option nahi hai kya” says a man after looking at the girl they have come to see for marriage in one of the latest advertisements. India is not new to controversies related to sexist or offensive advrtisemts. In the past too, there have been many ads where a fairness cream would ehange the life of a dark-skinned woman after applying or an app which portrays woman as men would want them to be.


A L Sharada

“It’s good to see people reacting so harshly to the advertisement,” says Dr A L Sharada, Programme Director, Population First, on the Ford-JWT controversy. “With advertisements and shows portraying women in stereotypical characters or manner for years now have only made us more tolerant about them.”


Sociologist Sarla Bijapurkar feels that many advertisements show women as an object, enhancing on the ‘male perception’ of women rather than as individuals. “What happened in Delhi and the uproar created after that would have made one think that things will change now. But one look at the newspaper will prove that wrong.”


Ms Bijapurkar believes that though it is wrong to blame advertisements or TV or films for it but they do play a role in showcasing women as an object of desire.


Similarly, Dr Sharada feels that we have forgotten all about the thin line between what is acceptable and what is not, even if it is in humour. “We need to know where to draw the line.”


On the sackings by JWT after the controversy, both experts feel that sacking is not the answer here but self-regulation is the right way to go about it. “We look up to these people for their creativity, but if they will only depend on stereotyping then what is the difference between anyone of us and them?” asks Dr Sharada.


They point out that though the issue has once again brought up the ugly side of the Indian advertisements, what is worrying about the fact that many subtle sexist ads go unchallenged and are more dangerous. Hence, it is important to challenge it and change our perceptions.


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