View larger image:http://imgur.com/yz87qTI
This is an advertisement of Ariel’s washing power. A woman is holding a brand-new T-shirt with expressions of happiness, satisfaction and pride on her face. Two lines on her right indicate that she is the wife of R. Ashwin and her name is Mrs. Prithi Lakshminaryanan. At first glance, almost everyone would declare that it’s just a normal advertisement of household goods and nothing is wrong. However, why characters of advertisements for housewares are always women with identities of mothers and wives instead of male characters act as husbands or fathers to do housework. The reason for that is a gender stereotype of women is response for housework influences people for centuries deeply.
The traditional gender stereotype originated in a social changing from shifting agriculture, which women actively participate in farm work, to plough agriculture that the plough required considerable upper body strength. From then on, the society had a specialization of production which men had an advantage in farming so they work on farms while women work at home (Alesina et.al, 2011). Therefore after women worked at home for centuries, housewives had become a gender role for women. However, after the industrial revolution, women attached greater importance on human capital and an increasing number of women have higher education and participated in the labor force. Nowadays, as technology developments, women and men become more similar in the participation of the workforce.
Even though in modern society women have the same working pressure as man, they still need to take the responsibility of housework. The reason is not only people have the gender stereotype in depth, but also due to information spreading and enhancing gender stereotype from social media. Besides, the merchant even deepens the gender-biased opinion by putting a definition “wife of R.Ashwin” in the advertisement. The misleading information tells consumers that providing clean clothes is the obligation as a wife. Therefore, even wives have similar participation in the labor force nowadays as their husbands, the gender stereotype has not been modified but rather deepened by the social media.
View larger image: http://imgur.com/ZwwcQWh
In the original advertisement, customers were unconsciously influenced by the misleading information and deepen the gender stereotype of women is responsible for the housework while in my jammed version of image, I aimed to reveal the message that the relationship between a woman and a men should be equitable in every aspect within a marriage. For example responsibilities and same bargaining power. While women contribute to household income, men should give the same contributions to housework as well.
In the jammed version of advertising, I changed the “wife” to a couple with towels between them while showing their happy emotion through their intimate behaviors and expressions on their faces. These mean they both enjoy engaging in housework together. If husbands have less tendency of gender stereotype and adopt the same amount of responsibility of housework, wives should be more satisfied of a marriage because they have less pressure. Besides, men take responsibility of housework also represents equity and love within a marriage. More than that, as an advertisement, informative information eliminates the traditional gender-biased role for women and emphasizes by undertaking housework together, couples show a good relationship to customers.
From my perspective, the social media does not have the responsibility to help eliminating gender stereotype, however they have the duty of not deepen gender stereotype information to customers in order to sell. As customers, we also need to aware of the misleading information and distinguish the difference between fair and unfair even within the family with your closest partner. Because no one is born to take more responsibility than others regardless of gender, race or age because of social justice. Therefore, everyone should be treated the same, and the gender stereotype should be diminished.
Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., & Nunn, N. (2011, May). On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w17098