Creative critique from a gender lens: 19-23 July

Dr AL Sharada, director, Population First, reviews a selection of ads from last week

Jul 29, 2021 09:35:00 AM | Article | Dr AL Sharada

This is an amazing ad. For the first time, we find a woman speaking about the struggles faced by sportspersons and athletes participating in the Olympics, and their determination and hard work to bring glory to the country. It is heartening to see that the ad does not feature women alone, it has men as well. To have a woman as the voice of all sportspersons at an international event like the Olympics is so very transformative. It is a small switch that gives an important message loud and clear: women and men are equally driven and determined to win Olympic medals.

Gender Sensitivity Score (GSS): 4.5/5

This is great technology. For me, the ad scores on two counts. First, it features a girl with spectacles and not the typical stereotypical girl we see in ads. Second, it shows both mother and father supervising the studies of the child. One point that goes against it is that the boy featured in one of the films is a little on the plumper side, subliminally reinforcing the stereotype that those who are overweight are dumb.
 
GSS: 3.5/5
 

Good to see the focus shifting from men to women in the ads on Olympics, recognising their talent, determination and hard work to win medals. For most girls in India, all sports-related activities come to an end by their late teens. These recurring images of sportswomen are bound to inspire many parents to invest in providing girls training in sports and athletics.
 
GSS: 3.75/5
 

The ad captures the concerns of the women who face problems using public toilets, which are often ill-maintained, for the fear of contracting infections. While not drinking water and holding the bladder for long are some of the major reasons for urinary tract infections, lack of access to a public toilet is a deterrent for many women to go on long-distance road trips. However, the problem is not only with the middle and upper-class women. Women police, street vendors and others also face the problem. But they do not feature in the ad.
 
GSS: 3.25/5
 

A humorous ad that highlights the social pressure on couples to have a child soon after marriage. And which urges the young couple to plan families. Since the ad is obviously directed at rural and semi-urban women, a little more information on the product and how to use it would have been helpful.
 
GSS: 3.25/5
 

An interesting ad with a twist, a man proposing to a woman to be his business partner! Since the ad is for the World Gold Council the proposal has to be made with gold jewellery, obviously, and not on stamp paper. However, it is good to see a woman being keener on a business partner than a life partner.
 
GSS: 3.25/5
 

Women being comfortable in their skin is the message conveyed by the visuals. Though it is an ad for a lingerie brand, the ad does not objectify women in any way. It shows women in different sizes and shapes having fun by engaging in various activities including breaking the dahi handi. 
 
GSS: 3.75/5