September 10, 2013

Always Around the Corner: Using Female Abuse to Sell

I RECENTLY RECEIVED a comment from a reader of another blog I write, stating that she didn't believe patriarchy was such a menace in America. I read the comment, took a deep breath, and pondered on the gentlest possible way to dispel that notion without mailing her a dossier of statistics. Turns out I didn't have to wait too long or look too far. Consider this latest addition to a long and endless series of media depicting the abuse of women without comment or apology.     Patriarchy--which encompasses culturally accepted attitudes toward the abuse of women--is robust and kicking, and not going away anytime soon. Thankfully, neither are some sensible people who find it offensive and won't let it slide. If you will recall, there was another misogynistic advertisement in the Indian news earlier this year, that went viral prior to publication because it showed scantily clad women gagged and bound in the trunk of the car the ad agency was hoping to sell. Ford, the car manufacturer, has since apologized and several people associated with the copy's creation at JWT were fired. Obviously, we have a long way to go before the message of inappropriateness sinks into all the thick skulls of the world.  
Domestically and abroad, violating women continues to be a popular theme, not just in advertising, but in all forms of pop culture.  
  What are your thoughts? Do you see this as an excellent marketing gimmick beyond its offense value? What would your reaction be if you came across a similar public message?   Updated to add: Less than 10 hours after this post went up, news filtered in that the company who created the ad above has destroyed the decal in the face of criticism and backlash.

About: Dilnavaz Bamboat

Dilnavaz Bamboat manages communications and social media for a Silicon Valley non-profit. She is part of the editorial team at Ultra Violet and takes care of the section on Diaspora. She is also a writer and editor at IDEX, India Currents magazine, and Women's Web, and a founder member of India Helps, a volunteer network for victims of disasters. Originally from Bombay, she has shuttled between India and the United States for the last 12 years and now lives in Silicon Valley with her spouse. Singing, history, and red velvet cupcakes make her happy.

2 comments to Always Around the Corner: Using Female Abuse to Sell

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