The internet is fired up with heated debates about this advertisement. With no offence intended, I wish if I could ask this to all the self-proclaimed feminists out there, who have left no stones unturned to spark this needless uproar on this new advertisement of the 3G network of a leading telecom player – Why dissect an ad when it’s just an ad?
Shockingly, this ad has upsetted many on the social media as well. But the Boss, Wife, and Chef avatars of the woman is in no way portraying her as weak and submissive, but on the contrary celebrate her capability and urge to multitask and excel in all of them. I happened to watch the ad a few days back, but hardly noticed the mayhem and hullaballoo about this on the web, until I read an article on a leading website, where the author accused that the makes of the ad are promoting gender stereotypes. It was then that I discovered that the ad has garnered a bulk amount of negative publicity, thus becoming the talk of the town.
Even after watching this supposedly controversial ad, I couldn’t decipher the reason that triggered this pointless uproar.
The determined boss who wants her subordinates to stay back for an urgent assignment is seen transforming to a loving wife who rushes back home, whipping up a delectable meal for her husband, and waiting for him to come back. This has been portrayed as downright regressive, wherein the feminists have come up with the unpalatable argument that the ad affirms and justifies the common misconception that in Indian society the husband would always be on the superior side, irrespective of a professional upside that his wife might have. Adding to my shock, a few blog posts out there portrayed the woman in the ad as a schizophrenic who cannot make up her mind to live up to her position and self-identity.
While the uproar continues to rise, I also read a few articles that are written by a group of ‘defenders’ who believe that the ad perfect and normal in an Indian scenario. This has led to the rise of an obvious question that I have for both the defenders and the offenders – Are we realty running short of worth-discussing problems, the reason why we make this needless hubbub about an advertisement? If sexiest or progressive is the question, the answer for the supposedly serious buzz around us is this one – It is just an ad, watch it or leave it, you are free to choose! If the intention is to throw light on the prevailing misogyny of being an Indian woman, there are several other issues that are worth to be raised.
The ad is in no way a case to kick start a discussion on feminism, which is a much intense concept on factuality, the reason why I do not feel the need to have a fiery debate on an advertisement, especially when it doesn’t portray our women to be docile. The woman who is seen working as a strong and resolute boss is displaying the alter-ego which is a loving wife, and not a lonesome soul who is forced to beg to her husband to save herself from a boring evening. It’s quite humane, and common amid us, and is common to both men as well as women, if they for their respective partners. If the boss in the ad was a man, we wouldn’t have had the same perception, on the contrary would have taken pains to go gaga over the depiction of a loving husband who rushes home to surprise his wife with a scrumptious meal. But the twist in the tale has gathered a group of blazing protesters, who, I believe, should look in to more serious issues that we face in our society, and raise their voices for genuine reasons, leaving behind an advertisement that will make profitable gains to a brand, no matter what kind of publicity it receives.
As the caring wife in the ad is shown getting ready to serve a mouth-watering home-cooked meals, proving her goodness, and having seen this rising hue and cry on the supposedly regressive side of the ad, I have yet another doubt arising in my mind – Had she been shown ordered home delivery for the dinner, would she be portrayed as a bad wife? What if she’d made some sandwiches instead of the elaborate and appetizing meal? The critics would have pounced on to the makers of the ad for portraying women in a negative and big-headed manner. This is nothing but the aftermath of the problematic mind-sets people who fail to understand how to strike a balance in life, and keep it moving happily. The career woman is not a submissive domestic goddess in the latter half, but just an affectionate wife. Ask them off the record, and most of the women who eagerly jot down their disagreement with the concept of the ad would definitely admit on doing the same at their respective homes, even amid sparking a flurry of unwanted controversies and raging debates.
The ongoing buzz and social chatter has shocked me in many ways. As I said before, if a role reversal can create such fierce uproar, why does it mellow down when a man does the same? Why is he portrayed as loving and affectionate? Doesn’t the same apply to a woman too? After having seen thousands of ads that portray men as the boss and women as the subordinate, we get to see turn-table roles in a progressive manner, yet we create a lot of fuss about why she cooks for her husband. Isn’t it quite natural for one to cook for the other partner when he/she is late from work? Please correct me if I am wrong!