The story unfolds in a busy residential street. A teenage girl is learning to drive a scooter and her friend is assisting her as the pillion rider. The amateur driver loses balance and crashes against a parked car. The driver tries to escape but her friend stops; sticks a sorry note to the side of the car and then they both drive away. This is how a recent ad of a popular hair oil gets going. And this is one of the strongest woman character I have seen in recent times in the mainstream media.She is apologetic but not frightened.
A bollywood actress had recently said that the rise of bikini-clad women on screen shows the growing power of women in the society. The woman showed in the ad commands more power and respect and that too while remaining fully clothed!
At this point I would like to share a conversation I had with my friend recently. That too revolved around an ad. The ad in question showed a girl with her boyfriend cuddling in a park bench. The genius male proceeds to distracts the dumb girl by pointing at something replaces his hand with a big doll and escapes to join his buddies for watching a football match. My friends reaction to this was that this ad is demeaning to women. I agree with my friend. But I feel that most ads, serials and films are demeaning to women.
Consider this: you wake up and brush your teeth with a particular brand of toothpaste and presto! you are surrounded by beautiful girls. You shave and out of nowhere a girl comes and hugs you in admiration. And yes shaving is a very tough job. The case of a car, shampoo, bike, perfume etc? Ditto. A woman exist at the level of these products. Something to be received and taken. Very much like these packaged products. Also there is a trap that is employed by the fairness cream companies. A girl has to be as fair as white cement to be successful. So woman have to peel their skin off like onion skin for fourteen days (?) till they become milky white to succeed in an interview, to marry, to post a letter ;in short - to survive.
I don't want to venture into the teary world of 'glycerine' soaps (read saas-bahu and bharatiya nari type serials). This post is not enough to cover the tragedies of that 'mahabharat'. The less said the better.
The hair oil ad mentioned earlier ends with the tagline - with growth there is improvement, there is life. Thus metaphorically connecting growth of hair and growth of the person's self. I hope the media grows up too.