Earlier in the day yesterday, cab company Ola released an advertisement announcing their new cab prices, which were unbelievably low. In fact low enough that the mere announcement would have made them an internet rage. However, they were at the top of all social media talks not for their prices, but for the many gendered stereotypes and sexist undertones that the ad carried.
if it’s an advert about a cab, which is a commodity used by men and women alike, why did the man have to do the talking
I had a problem with this video at many levels. One, it perpetuates the idea that women are frivolous and dependent on men for meeting their needs. Two, if it’s an advert about a cab, which is a commodity used by men and women alike, why did the man have to do the talking, while the woman was just a sidekick, looking all glamorous and acting child-like? Three, was the advertiser trying to show women their place, by telling them they are as non-human and objectified as a cab?
To some extent this is also true, as many women try to get away with the hardships that come with taking responsibility of one’s own life, by simply aligning to the general, gendered expectations of behavior. Not their fault, though. They have been hard-wired to see life a certain way, and believe that it’s the only way. Perhaps no one tells them the price they would have to pay could get as heavy as being dehumanised, sometimes to the level of a cab. Man feels it is his prerogative to treat her the way he likes, since he is paying for ‘its’ running expenses.
Also read Sexist Ads: What were you even thinking, Nando’s?
Man feels it is his prerogative to treat her the way he likes, since he is paying for ‘its’ running expenses.
So is this plain unthinking, or a publicity stunt? Perhaps it was simply feminism gone wrong; we can’t tell. But the advert definitely made me reflect upon the state of our society, where venturing into the career path is an option that we are exposed to, though we are still expected to prioritise our roles as wives and mothers. In short, roles that limits us to the domestic sphere and keep us uninformed.
Unmana, expert on social media observes this fact about marketing that she tells ShethePeople:
I think brands, marketing media in general have taken a long time to catch up with feminism. There are many different kinds of values in our society but we have some people who are feminists, who are liberated. Popular media doesn’t really reflect that. I do know that’s a reflection of society. I think the rest of the world, especially the media needs to catch up with these changing times.
Thanks to the digital media, public outrage to the video was so strong and prompt, that the video had to be taken down from their end. However, several copies of it had been generated and downloaded by then, and it continues to be accessible on youtube and other video platforms. Treat your eyes to this tweet, where Ola still doesn’t miss to remind people of their discounted cab rates!!