Women have always been the victim of exploitation in media. They are trivialized by being called inappropriate names such as “maal”, “cheez” and “item”. In the Entertainment Industry, portrayal of women as objects to ogle is not a new phenomenon. It is a long-lived and deep-rooted issue that continues to leach into our lives.
With the unprecedented rise of electronic media, the use of attractive females in ads to generate revenue is a popular trend. The Veet TVC featuring Mahira Khan handling ball in tight pink dress and high heels is subjected to body shaming. In addition, an ad of a famous ice cream brand with an attractive woman eating the summer delight indecently made no exception either. Mobile phone ads are also in the list of below-the-belt marketing campaigns. From the property guides, housing societies, internet packages, automobiles to motorbikes TVCs, women are a “must-show”. The use of female models is an essential feature even for advertising masculine products because they add sensation to it.
Now I want to ask why advertisers exploit women and objectify them to sell their products? Is adding sex appeal necessary for the mass sale of their product?
According to me, advertisement shapes public opinion and it sets trend about what is fashionable in society. It not only sells products but also ideas and thoughts. What media shows on TV has a long lasting effect on people’s minds and is adapted within no time. Media should keep in view the norms, values, cultural limits of the society. When they use women only to add glamour to boost their sales, they are actually objectifying women. The story doesn’t ends here. Ads show that a woman who uses fairness cream gets “rishta” at once creating an image that only fair girls can get married. Also, they always show that girls use creams and cosmetics to lure boys. The exposure of thin girls in TVCs is creating self-consciousness, discontentment and shattered confidence of young girls when they look into mirrors. It is frightening how deep objectification of women really goes. Instead of sending a message to young girls that the color or texture of their skin does not matter, we are promoting body shaming and gender stereotypes.
It is saddening to see the sale of commercial products is deemed proportional to the beautiful lady appearing in the ad. I believe, that both the media and the society are to be equally blamed for this stereotypical portrayal. We have readily accepted and appreciated what media has been offering. If we had voiced our dissent, they would not have continued to do so. We must tear down every entangled shred of patriarchy, in order to achieve our goal of being recognized as “women” and not mere “objects”. Also, my message to the ad makers: please think of women as living beings, not as showpieces.