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From Dove To OkCupid, Here Are 5 Incredible Feminist Ads Of 2021!

These 5 well-known brands like Dove & OkCupid have stunned their audience with progressive, feminist ads that are a delight to watch! 

These 5 well-known brands like Dove & OkCupid have stunned their audience with progressive, feminist ads that are a delight to watch! 

Cadbury’s nostalgic recreation of 1994 ad is a homage to the women athletes who created records in Tokyo Olympics. Even Boost stepped out of their typical framework of casting a boy playing sports and showed us even girls can be amazing fast-bowlers who can astonish players like Dhoni!

Alia Bhat’s thought provoking monologue in Manyavar’s Mohey pushed the envelope on the traditional marriage scenario and raised a very valid point. It’s 2021, we can’t still be treating women as property – even if it is for the brief duration of a wedding ritual. 

Let’s break those stereotypes with progressive feminist ads!

Advertising reaches audiences across different segments of the society and has a crucial role in representing the right value systems. A recent study on Gender bias & Inclusion in Advertising in India by UNICEF & Geena Davis Institute highlighted several issues pertaining to representation of women in Indian advertisements.

Female characters are 6 times more likely to be shown in revealing clothing than male. Women in professional set ups have low portrayals as they are often presented as parents, managing the household or the kitchen. Now, this is not surprising- but definitely needs a lot of attention! 

Few brands have consciously attempted to choose the right tonality and messaging over the years. I look forward to seeing more brands taking a stand on gender equality and shelving those age-old stereotypes.

The exhausted mother who is juggling work and household chores, a wife who is painstakingly cooking delicacies to delight the husband or in-laws, the beautiful, dusky young girl woefully thinking about her wedding, or the homemaker who rushes to welcome the husband returning from work with a steaming cup of tea. Stereotypical roles for women are churned out like mobile phone updates every decade. Women are changing with time, but somehow they are left behind when it comes to portrayals. 

Advertising, movies, serials and any form of entertainment plays an important role in creating fresh stereotypes while refusing to shelve the old ones. My mother’s generation probably had the homely wife or working woman types as predominant ones.

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In my era, these continue to exist along with a whole list of state of the art types. But there is no end to this listing exercise and I don’t see anyone stereotyping the other gender with such dedication. Time and again, numerous brands have shaken up this tree which still remains rooted strong.

Let’s take a look at some feminist ads that pushed the boundaries in 2021! 

SkinKraft #iammytype – Let’s stop categorizing women into ‘types’!

SkinKraft is one such brand which recently attempted this feat with a brilliant montage. If you consult a renowned doctor for the 1st time and find out that she has bright, blue hair streaks- would that concern how you perceive her treatment?

Her choice of hairstyle has no correlation to her experience, but unfortunately society considers her stylish streaks otherwise. And these judgmental looks are most often only reserved for women.

A mother type without a crying baby, a homely type out of the kitchen and the crazy hair type who is not a DJ! For all those out there creating your own types – Keep going, you are adding more variety to the never-ending list. 

Unacademy | Teach Them Young – Men knowing their place!

Women’s day campaigns featuring just women is a norm. But if one such campaign features two members of the opposite gender, it needs to be given extra credit!

A smart, progressive father knocks some sense into the hot-headed young son and his patriarchal notions. A woman’s ability to think, act and stand for herself is often poorly estimated by male family members who wish to take charge on her behalf.

This has been happening for generations and goes unnoticed. But it is high time to address this issue which can only be changed by catching them young! And this is exactly what Unacademy unravels with this creative.

Raising strong daughters is a subject that needs some rest. Let’s shift the lens a bit and look at the sons who actually need it more! 

Zivame – Dekho Maine Kya Kiya – Letting that inner desire take charge!

Guardrails for what a woman can or cannot do are defined by staunch, conservative mindsets. Living within these boundaries often robs us of those moments we just want to be ourselves! Imagine going for a walk in a park with your in-laws and you see a bunch of young boys playing football, which you loved playing as a child! If accidentally the football get close to you, will you grab the chance to kick it and feel the moment or humbly bend over and pick it up with your hands?

When this inner conflict is shoved aside and the woman in you takes charge- that instant becomes beyond beautiful.

Zivame’s ad presents a montage of absolutely relatable moments which we have all experienced but hardly dared to take part in. It brings us everyday scenarios where women often hesitate to live the moment fearing judgement of their age, life stage, status or even their physique. A mother is expected to behave in a certain manner which probably deprives her of the moment when she wants with her child. Now why should she bind herself when she can live freely! 

A woman doing a cartwheel on the beach or trying out a bodycon dress in front of the mirror are moments that the brand normalized. A big round of applause for taking a solid stand on body positivity without actually making an issue about it! 

OkCupid India- It’s her time and let her own it!

We see many inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs from India almost everyday. Their journeys, struggles, achievements and prolific rise give a strong reason for young women to run in that direction. Almost 5 years back, Tanishq’s Niloufer ad threw light on a woman’s struggle in the entrepreneurship journey and lauded the ones who are willing to try something new. It was a delightfully emotional creative which I still fondly remember (along with the collection!!). But a new brand on the block picked the thread and gave it a witty twist! 

Ok Cupid’s ad touches upon a very pertinent aspect that a woman doesn’t need anyone’s permission to choose her career. In a humorous way, it showcases how everyone is out there to take credit for “allowing/supporting/choosing” her. At the end of the day, her journey is her own and let her have that moment. 

Dove | #StopTheBeautyTest – Impossible beauty standards!

Despite all the advancement, the traditional episode of the boy’s family visiting the girl’s house to “evaluate” the girl still happens in many places. Fact checks on complexion, weight, height and every possible physical aspect continues to reign. Dove addresses these with a powerful campaign which leaves us questioning why our society still struggles to validate a woman by her looks rather than her achievements.

It is deeply disturbing to see that poor dad struggles with his emotions and the girl looking into the mirror with self-judgement. Honestly wish the ad ended on a note of women taking charge of these melancholic unspeakable scenarios!

Image source: Stills from ads

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About the Author

Aarthee Suriyakumar

Electrical engineer turned into Marketer. From heartland of Tamilnadu but almost Mumbaikaar. read more...

19 Posts | 21,729 Views

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