Stereotyped Gender Ads in Hindi TV Channels: An Analysis

Shourini Banerjee* 
Prof. Onkargouda Kakade**

Abstract

Advertisements use women as “objects” whereas men are promoted as superior, muscular, dominant and as having authority. There are few advertisements which aim at breaking the stereotype, but majority of the men’s products mainly promote “manhood”. Television being the most popular form of audio-visual media creates an impact on the people.

This study highlights the advertisements appearing in Hindi entertainment television channels. Three channels have been studied for four months through constructed sampling to critically analyze the content of the advertisements which promote masculinity and underrate women. The data has been analyzed theoretically and critically using codes.

Introduction

Advertising is a paid form of message intended to be disseminated among the masses through various media. Advertisement is a means of persuasive communication. Persuasive communication holds enormous power to mould people’s minds and induce new ideas, motivating them to avail the product or services. Advertising is the main component for marketing for any business. However, advertisements layered with gendered notions, creates harmful impact among the masses. Nevertheless, masculinity and male gender identity plays a major role as it in stills ideas and themes for the advertisers. Several products portray and present men in a more independent way by and large whereas women are depicted in poor light. Understanding the concept of gender is very necessary. Gender is a concept formulated socially whereas sex is a biologically constructed concept.

As Watson and Hill (2003) have defined, gender refers to “the behaviours, attitudes, values [and] beliefs … which a particular society expects from, or considers appropriate to, males and females on the basis of their biological sex”.

Review of literature

  1. E. Schroeder & D. Zwick (2004) has found that most of the advertising campaigns are filled with gender notions and reinforce stereotypes related to masculinity and femininity.
  2. Rohlinger (2002) has studied the role of advertisements in creating masculine men.

Research objectives

  1. To understand the facets of gender disparity highlighted and downplayed by the advertisements.
  2. To analyze the content of the gender stereotyped advertisements being telecast in Hindi TV channels.

Methodology

Content analysis with codes has been chosen to understand the trends and patterns of the commercials in Hindi channels. The days have been chosen through constructed sampling, with each channel being represented on each week. A total of 45 days and 90 hours have been devoted to each channel studied for two hours. The period of study is from August 2014 to November 2014.

Coding

The codes for analyzing the advertisements are-

  • Theme
  • Stereotype
  • Target groups
  • Caption.

Findings and analysis

A total of 14 advertisements have been extracted from the host of advertisements being telecast.

Table 01. The stance adopted by the commercials.

S. No.
Product Name Caption Theme Stereotype Target Group
01. Wild Stone Deo “It Happens” As soon as Kunaal Kapoor applies perfume, his wife is mesmerized and immediately loses control of herself, thereby gets sexually stimulated. Deo can excite a woman. It portrays women as Male Product
02. Old Spice “Mantasticsmell” An elderly man uses the deo and he transforms into a young man who also as a bonus, gets a slim and petite girl beside himself. An elderly person will regain his youthful charm and a lady by his side after using the deo. The ultimate victory of his regained vigour and youth is a slim, pretty girl. Male Deo
03. Parachute Advanced Body Lotion “Jagao touch Dobara”. A man gets stimulated by the smooth waist of his wife after she applies the body lotion. Body lotion is for keeping skin healthy but, here it is depicted that it helps in keeping the man bound to rekindle romance in a relationship. Women’s Body Lotion
04. Maestro Scooty “Such a boy thing” Ranbir Kapoor rides the scooty and impresses his girlfriend thereby claiming that handling issues as such is a very casual thing for a man. Here the inner essence is that men will be casual, re-asserting hegemonic masculinity. The Hero will claim that, “Boys ki life and Maestro ki life easy hai”. Unisexual
05.

Thumps Up

“Aaj kuch Toofani karte hai”. Salman Khan attempts dangerous stunts by jumping off a jet plane and lands up in a shop to purchase the soft drink Aggression, taking risks is shown to be normal. Statements like “Jao toofani shuru karo”, insinuates the audience to accomplish dangerous feats. Women portrayed as a mere arm candy. Unisexual
06. Imperial Blue “Men will be men” Men here will seek pleasure from eyeing at other’s wife, and when threatened treats one’s own wife as a prized possession. Women here are shown to be trophy of the husbands. Having a woman beside is the ultimate motive of a man. Eyeing other’s wife is depicted to be heroic here. Surrogate Product
07. Denver Deo “Cool is hot” Saif Ali Khan is shown instigating women with his smell and girls are swooning over him Riding bikes, enjoying the company of girls swarming around him is possible after applying deo. The deodorant is a means for attracting girls. Here, girls are depicted as passive Male Deo
08. Fair and Handsome “Duniyaki no.1 fairness cream, mardon ke liye” Shahrukh Khan, advises a boy to apply a men’s fairness cream to get fair skin, boost his confidence. He strictly asks him to forbid women’s fairness cream and rebukes him for using girls’ fairness cream. Women have been shown in poor light, and using women’s products have been shown to be demeaning. Furthermore, it has been stressed that a fairness cream will work wonders for man and uplift his social status and rewards him with women craving for him. Men’s Fairness Cream
09. Envy Deo “No hawaabaazi, sirf deo” Irrfan Khan is claims that sneezing keeps women at bay, hence a good deo will attract them towards you. Women are depicted in a very gross manner where they are swooning over men. It has been propagated that the fragrance of a good deo is vital to attract women. Women here are depicted to be slavish. Male Deodorant
10. He Deo ” Be Interesting” Hrithik Roshan introduces men who have done interesting jobs, and who are lovable because of the deodorant. The deodorant makes people interesting. Using this particular deodorant will make people interesting and enhance the personality. He even goes on to say, “For the man who is interesting”. Therefore, using this deodorant will attract women and will enable men to achieve great heights both personally and professionally. The advertisement mentions, “For the man who does not take easy way, is stylish and follows heart.” These kinds of statements persuade people to purchase the product and achieve distinguishable feats. Unrealistic claims are made. Male Deodorant
11. Adiction Deo “Get the world addicted to you” Sunny Leone, dressed provocatively hovering around the beach in search of a man who will impress her, not with good looks, sweet talking style but by smelling good. Women here have been depicted to be hunting for men and to jump immediately on “Addictive man”. The lady here is dressed provocatively, which shows women in poor light. Male Deo
12. Bajaj Pulsar “Thrill has a new name” The bikers riding this bike are shown to race haphazardly, showing aggression and force. The commercial asserts that force, aggression and speed is exciting for men. Bike
13. Maggi Oats Noodles “Health is Enjoyable” Madhuri Dixit is shown making Maggi oats noodles and feeding it to her kids and husband for breakfast. Women are depicted to be housebound and the only joy is to feed her family single-handedly Unisexual
14. Parachute Jasmine “Shine kar ke to dekho” Kriti San on wants to be with her friends for a dance fest but is refused for being unattractive. The hair oil, helps her in turning into a diva overnight and the friends who had rejected her, now crave for her to join them for college fest. The motive for women is to look beautiful and garner the attention of male friends. Looking good makes one socially more acceptable and the status gets elevated. Hair Oil for Women

According to Jhally (1987), “Adverts have a key role to play in the ideological transformation of public discourse. And within modern advertising, gender is probably the social resource that is used most”. Hence, advertisements must be socially more responsible. Women play a very minimal role, limited to being the object of man’s desire and being the object for his possession.

This stereotypical portrayal of women as housewives is disastrous. The ornamental models are treated as “commercial objects”. The touch, positions and expressions of women suggests her submission to the man whereas he emerges as the Victor. A message has also been disseminated that looking good, smelling good elevates the status in the society to considerable extents.

Conclusion

People should not just be educated about the negative portrayal of women in the media but also of how men and the values traditionally associated with them are perceived. By cultivating an awareness of these images and addressing them, better gender relations and equality can hopefully be fostered. Though there have been instances of good advertisements which show women in good light and promote empowerment of women, most of the advertisements are based upon masculine themes, glorifying men and downplaying women.

The primary aim behind advertisements is to persuade the thinking process of the receivers to motivate them to purchase the product or service. The advertisers should prohibit themselves from swaying and inducing gender oriented thoughts. Our country has already encountered several instances of violence and crime because of the prevalent gender bias existing in the patriarchal society.

References

  • D. A. Rohlinger., (2002). Eroticizing Men: Cultural Influences on Advertising and Male Objectification. Sex Roles, Vol. 46, Nos. 3/4, February 2002.
  • Jhally, S., (1987).The Codes of Advertising. London: Francis Pinter.
  • Jonathan. E. Schroeder.,& Detlev. Zwick., (2004), Mirrors of Masculinity: Representation and Identity in Advertising Images; Consumption, Markets and Culture. Vol. 7, No. 1, March 2004, pp. 21-52, ISSN 1025-3866 (print)/ ISSN 1477-223X (online), Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Watson, J. & Hill, A.,(2003). Dictionary of Media and Communication Studies. London: Arnold Publishers, p.115.

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