Friday, November 22, 2013

Ad Confronts Taboos for Women in India

A still from the Tanishq commercial that stirred controversy for its challenge to traditional gender norms in India. Lowe Lintas India

A new ad from Bangalore jewelry chain, Tanishq, is causing quite the stir in India.  The ad depicts a wedding where the bride has a 6 year old daughter who is clearly not the biological child of the groom.  "Can I call you father from today?" the girl asks.

The commercial is front page news all over India and is being hotly debated. Some, like Shamina Shafiq think "Ads like these can go a long way to mend attitudes, prejudices and stereotypes. We need to see more of them." Ms. Shafiq is a member of India's National Commission for Women. Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the conservative Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said the ad was in "bad taste."  To imply an Indian woman conceived a child born out of wedlock—as the ad suggests—is "distasteful," while endorsing a second marriage, in his view, "violates Indian values and morals."

Second marriages, divorce and premarital sex are frowned upon in Indian culture.  Even widows often get blamed for the deaths of their husbands and are often see as bad luck. The ad will not change attitudes overnight but according to the creative director, the point of the ad was to challenge these norms and get people talking.  He has succeeded in that.

No word yet on how the ad will impact sales at Tanishq.

Link to Article Ad Confronts Taboos for Women in India

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