How #SearchForChange Openly Acknowledges AND Calls Out The Stereotypes We Live By Everyday

Google's #SearchForChange billboards have featured many women from different fields, women of changing India, & what they face every day...

When I go for a drive, I come across ads featuring women, on giant billboards, but mostly these ads are either for matrimonial sites or jewellery or clothing brands, etc. But something different happened this time.

So, while I was in Delhi for a trip I came across many Google #SearchForChange campaign billboards that were put up across India for women’s day.

While I have seen Google’s #SearchForChange ads on TV which are revolutionary in their own way, what caught my eye on these billboards was the content displayed on it.

All these #SearchForChange billboards had different women on them- women from different fields, women of changing India. And in a very innovative and clever way, they put the search-in bars with common searches and phrased them into an everyday taunt or questions or doubts that women face in society.

#SearchForChange billboards, the women and the message

The first one I saw had one of my favourite actresses Vidya Balan. The content on the board read, “Box office pe female lead wali movie challegi hi nahi” along with the #WhyTheBias.

 

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Tweeting the picture of the billboard, Vidya Balan wrote, “When I started in the Indian film industry, I had to hear a lot of these taanas(taunts). This was one of them. I decided to stand my ground, keep asking the tough questions, and make changes slow and steady. That’s what helped me be a part of so many films that didn’t need a ‘male hero’. Things are still not perfect but we’re getting there, thanks to every woman who decided to find the right answers.”

Times are changing & now there are films like Raazi, Gunjan Saxena, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Vidya Balan’s own Kahaani, English Vinglish, etc. The change is happening for sure.

I started looking for similar billborads across the city and much to my satisfaction I did find more.

Former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen was featured on one. Honestly, not seeing a woman as admirable and courageous as her, who broke all the stereotypes and chose to adopt outside marriage, would have been a little disappointing.

 

#SearchForChange is about breaking stereotypes and rising above them

Not Just actresses, there was photo journalist Zoya Thomas Lobo, entepeanur CA Rachna Ranade, pilot Rithu Rathee Taneja, footballer Mamta Gujral & also Indian cricketers Nuzhat Parween and Smriti Manchanda. 

All of these had one thing in similar, what most women in India have heard- Dhoop mein khelogi toh kaali ho jaaogi (You will tan yourself if you go out in the sun and girls have to be fair to get married…right?)

Many of us would have heard this in our childhood, “ladko ke saath cricket practice karogi toh log kya kahenge” (simply translated to ‘good’ girls don’t play with boys), etc. And there might have been many more that I missed.  

For men, this might be just a simple billboard on the occasion of women’s day but for us, it is much more than that. It is not just our achievements or progress in society but the acknowledgement of taunts and statements that we have been hearing for ages and on daily basis.

Plastered up there for everyone to see, I hope everyone sees the problems that lie beneath those words. The words that we have lived many times! 

This campaign, along with honouring women who have brought a change in the world, is also acknowledging their breaking of stereotypes and rising above the words and taunts thrown at them.

It is also giving many young women with dreams, but surrounded by prejudices, the courage and hope to fight against these stereotypes, that in the end are just alphabets strung together to hold women down.

Looking at these billboards I was filled with hope that the change we talk about is happening for sure. 

The challenges are as important as the success

While we honour the achievement of women of India, we often forget to acknowledge the struggle, the taunts, the stereotypes that they face on almost daily basis.

The struggles, the challenges are as important as the success because these fuel a passion inside many of us- to break them and prove the society that none of it can hold us back.

We are the powerful, admirable and revolutionary changemakers.

There are more stories about women who dare, like E rickshaw driver Vandana Verma, India’s first shehnai player Bageshwari Qamar, and Google Workplaces’s very own Engineering Director, Smita Ojha on Google India’s Twitter Handle or you can search #SearchForChange.  

Image Sources: YouTube/Twitter

 

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Mrigya Rai

A student with a passion for languages and writing. read more...

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