INTRODUCTIONTheprocess of gender socialization begins from the birth and goes through fourmajor agents of socialization which are family, education, peer groups and massmedia.
The mass media including television, radio, movies and the internetserve as significant transmitters of cultural ideas about gender (Walters 1999).The aim of this paper to understand the gender relations that are representedin television commercials, to analyse how the women are portrayed in theadvertisement, to have an insight about the social structures and its dynamics,to be able to relate the concepts learnt in class and analyse them with theadvertisement.Theparticular advertisement selected for the paper was produced by Jui, hair oilcompany and the video has been shared as best ad on Facebook and received 4.3million views and shared 45 k times. The ad begins with showing a beautyparlour where a young woman waits for her turn while she watches a girl dressedup for her wedding. As soon as the woman takes her seat the hair stylistpraises looking at her beautiful hair and asks what she would like to do withit to which the woman insists to cut her hair short. After cutting a smallportion of her hair, the stylist says that longhair looks good on her and layer cut would suit her but still, the womaninsists on cutting her hair shorter. The stylist asks her the same question inorder to change her mind multiple times but in vain.
The woman’s face is drawnand sorrowful and when her hair is short enough, her eyes gets filled withtears. With an expression of anguish, she grabs a fistful of hair and says tocut her hair so short that no one can pull it. The advertisement ends with asocial message which says,” Hair, the pride of a woman, Let it never be thereason of her weakness” along with the statistics which indicates that every 80out of 100 women face violence in some form or other in their lives. It alsoshows a helpline number for advice and support. This particular advertisement has been selected to analyse andunderstand how the roles and relationships of man and woman within a specificculture or social group regulates according to the cultural and social gendernorms which governs what is or what is not acceptable and shapes theinteraction between man and woman and how often these traditional social andcultural gender norms make women vulnerable to violence by intimate partners. CRITIQUES OF THE ADVERTISEMENTAdvertisingis an important part of the marketing world for any business and now days thedisplay of gender roles is heavily used in the advertisements. To understandthese socially constructed patterns of behavioura comprehensive analysis of the above stated advertisement has been done below.
Socialization and Internalization”Asocial institution that enables continuity of humankind, forms the first stepof the socialisation process, creates norms for social relations, transmits thesocial culture to future generations, and that has biological, psychological,economic, and judicial dimensions.” (Donmezer, 1999). Gendernorms are defined institutionally and culturally, within a household a childfirst learns about the gender roles, relating power and authority withmasculinity whereas inferiority and powerless with femininity. Boys learn toexercise their power over girls and girls learn to obey the orders.
Thus, fromthe advertisement it can be assumed that the husband during his childhood mighthave witness his father beating mother and acquired to commit acts of violenceagainst his own wife. Similarly, the woman learns to submit herself to the actof violence and therefore bears the abuse in silence. Passive ResistanceInthe advertisement, woman might not openly resist the abuse but she uses passiveresistance as the agency to fight against violence, her actions that is cuttingoff her hair indicates that she won’t let the abuse happen on her anymore. Herresistance shows the desire to live her life with dignity and self-respect and can prepare the woman to separate from her partner orto raise her voice against the violence.
Resistance has an important role toplay in feminist movement because the first wave of feminism evolved due toresistance against the gender inequality and fighting for voting rights forwomen, ownership of property, inheritance, education and opportunity to runpublic offices.Power relations between man andwoman”Theuse of term social structure is important here since it clearly impliesrejection of both biological determinism, and the notion that every individualman is in a dominant position and every individual woman is a subordinate one.”(Walby,1989).
Socialstructures are governed by rigid patriarchal gender roles and women often haveto face the domestic abuse. It can beclearly observed in the advertisement that the woman is being oppressed by herviolent husband. The man plays the role of superiority whereas the woman isinferior and considered as powerless which gives a chance to man to beat up hiswife. Even though the man does not appear in the advertisement but hisdominance over her wife can be clearly noticed from the fear that she has forher husband. Breaking the culture of silence”Thesepatriarchal bargains exert a powerful influence on the shaping of women’sgendered subjectivity and determine the nature of gender ideology in differentcontexts. They also influence both the potential for and specific forms ofwomen’s active or passive resistance in the face of their oppression” (Kandiyoti,1988). Whena woman gets married she is expected to adjust with her husband and in-lawstherefore if she is being abused by them she bears it, silently. In theadvertisement, it is noticed that the woman has been abused by her husband andshe wants to talk about it to end the violence.
And also one of the mainpurposes of creating this ad is to address those women who face the burnt todomestic abuse and speak about it as for help and guidance to get out of theviolence.Personal is politicalTheconcept of personal is political came up during second wave of feminism toaddress the condition of women which needed political action such as protests.This concept can be related to family violence which is viewed as a ‘privateaffair’ and not considered as a social evil. Thus, a woman is encouraged todiscuss her personal problems within the family household and not in politicalsphere.
Family which is considered as a place of safety becomes a place whichis subjected to exploitation, domination and violence for women and therefore,raising consciousness about it is essential so that laws formulated .ie.Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 can protect them from domesticviolence which is also seen that a helpline number flashes in the end of theadvertisement. Consciousness Raising Inthe second wave of feminism, consciousness raising about patriarchy, endingdiscrimination and violence was the primary concern as the women were not awareof the institution of social oppression.
This helped the feminists tocollectivise the women and carry out the movement. Here in the advertisement,the woman chose a public place and tried to put forward her fear which the otherwomen in the parlour were able to relate to her immediately. She createdawareness about the oppression as well as about domestic violence among women.It can also be observed that the actual aim of making this ad is to make peopleaware about the severity of the social problem and effective implementation oflaws, support from non-government organization and self-awareness are required toeradicate it.CONCLUSION”Youcan tell the condition of a Nation by looking at the status of its Women.
” –Jawaharlal Nehru Intoday’s India the conditions for women has improved but it is still a maledominated country where women are considered as powerless and inferior. Womenare guaranteed equal rights and legal protection under the Constitution whichhas limited effect where the patriarchy prevails. The media portrayal of genderroles will always be significant in shaping the mind-sets of the people.