Objectifying women

Bilal Mirza

Since the beginning of advertising, every out of the box idea or head turning concept is used by the companies to attract attention of consumers/ potential consumers. An idea so outstanding that it would stick to the minds of the consumers, help trigger a stimulus at a sub conscious level and help the company to make a sale. One of such tactics involves the objectification of women; actually a social issue that often goes unnoticed or unquestioned.

According to Madonna Badgers – Ad Executive at Badgers & Winters Agency, Manhattan, the presence of any one of the following elements in an ad may be interpreted as an objectification of the woman:
*If she is used as a mere prop without a voice.

*If her image is perfected to the extent that it is not naturally possible to attain such perfection.
*Over emphasis of sexually provocative imagery or body parts.
*If the viewer would not be comfortable imagining themselves or their sister or their best friend in that role or image.

Many of the TVCs and print ads if put through the above test will pass the eligibility criteria of being a promotional medium that objectify women. The KPIs for the success of such promotional mediums are set in terms of their virality, number of likes and ratings/ TRP etc while their social impact is ignored. What must not be underestimated is the role of media i.e. where it is used as a powerful tool to inform the consumers, it also plays an important role in educating them. The constant repetition of a message programs the minds of the viewer and influences the mindsets of the society at large.

Media programs the layman (especially in a society like that of ours that has a low rate of literacy and is male dominated) to treat women as inferior beings by diminishing their value to that of a commodity. The feelings of men desensitized towards women and their needs of dignity and respect that they deserve as men’s equal. Therefore any such portrayal of women should be condemned or protested of any woman, anywhere.

What needs to be realized is the fact that every individual is programmed from the society that we live in. Therefore, these companies are only breeding an unsafe society for their own families and ours as well. An unsafe society for our mothers, daughters and sisters, if only we realize and take action while we still can.

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