Head n Shoulders Sexist Ad Series

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. 


Why Feminism?


The moment you claim to be a feminist you are assumed to be a whiny, liberal, bra burning misandrist involving in male bashing. Feminism is anything but that. Feminism is anti-misogyny but not pro-misandry. It is not for matriarchy but is against patriarchy. Feminism is instilling a feeling of equality among men and women. A man can be a nurse without being called gay and a woman can be a mechanic without being called manly.

There are times when people question whether feminism is something the world needs. But is that even a question to be raised? How many times do you hear about a man being raped by a woman? Is a man looked down upon or called ugly if he goes out wearing shorts with hair on his legs? It is so disgusting to live in a world where women are treated as objects of pleasure, where rape jokes are cracked and women are still held responsible for rapes.

Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by knowing more about the social and political roles of women. Feminism is a radical notion that women are humans beings just like men. Equality among men and women is not a concept, it is something all of us should be striving for, because the misogyny that exists in all cultures is not a part of human existence. It kills the purpose of an amicable co-existence, it discriminates two human beings whose prowess cannot be and should not be differentiated.

I do not want to be feminist to rule the world, I need it because someone groped me when I was nine, when I didn’t even know what it meant. We need feminism because we do not want that every time a woman walks on the street lewd gestures or comments are passed. We need feminism because the size of our breasts does not determine our worth. We need feminism so that a man can cry or express his feelings without being called a loser or a whimp. Emotions are not manly or womanly, they are just human.

Women have been called the weaker sex for time that seems like more than forever. Out of  7 billion people in world roughly 1 billion women are sexually assaulted, they get bottles shoved inside them, are victims of acid attacks and many more horrendous crimes we cannot imagine happening in our worst nightmares. A woman isn’t raped because she was drinking at midnight, or because of what she was wearing or because she wasn’t careful enough. She is raped because someone did that to her, someone who thought himself he had the right to exploit a woman’s body in any way.   And that is why we need the moment called feminism and need to fight for gender equality.

There are issues that I didn’t even address here, equal pay for equal work, being regarded as humans with equal intelligence. These are things that need to be dealt with as well. Isn’t it outrageous when a man working as your equal at workplace gets a higher pay?  We need feminism for every valid reason, true well-understood feminism to change the archaic and demented beliefs we have now followed for centuries.

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