After the skin whitening ads, one could not have thought of coming across more sexist advertisements. To our surprise the latest series of Head n Shoulders ads has surpassed the previous shoddy ones, the Indian advertisers never cease to surprise (read – shock) us. With this ad series sexism has touched a new low.
All three ads deem men who talk about household issues or are concerned with their weight to be feminine. According to the ads if a man uses his wife’s shampoo something magical engulfs him and he starts behaving like a woman. And a normal Indian woman is someone who just splurges in malls goes to gym, has a fancy house with a fancy TV and all she is concerned with is her weight, soap operas and maids.
This series of ads is for their new shampoo exclusively for men – a product that promises to restore the manliness in men. The three main commercials in the series end with the tag line “Stop before you stop being a man”. What must men stop doing before they get completely emasculated? According to the ad-makers, they must stop using their wives’ shampoos.
Here have a look at all three ads and decide for yourself -
The first ad ‘Score ya bore’ has a husband watching and commenting on a TV soap opera character while his wife looks at him in absolute disbelief. Suddenly a shampoo bottle comes out of the blue and knocks him over. Lo and behold! The bottle of shampoo knocks some sense (read – masculinity ) in him, he gets back his life and wants to watch cricket after that.
The second has two men working out in a gym and discussing their house-help’s timings and charges. A women in the frame looks at the with disdain and again the magical shampoo comes to help them reclaim their lives. The closing shot is of them discussing how neither understands golf. Because real men not only don’t have maid problems, they also don’t play golf.
In the third and probably the most erratic ad in the series a man a man is trying on a pair of jeans in a store. But he’s concerned whether the jeans are making his butt look fat. He questions his wife about it, who looks at him in shock. Because how could a man possibly be concerned if he is looking fat? That’s the prerogative of only women. Again, comes the mighty bottle of shampoo and the guy transforms. The last shot has him shunning his wife request to try on the jeans once.
Wonder what goes on in an advertisers mind when they come up with such trashy ideas. Let’s hope next time when such a sexist idea creeps into an ad-maker’s head, a shampoo bottle hits them out of the blue and knocks some sense into them. Haven’t we had enough sexist commercials already?
Wrote this for SHEROES, published here.