The new series of advertisements from Head and Shoulders India – a shampoo brand, awakened in me such an anger that I just had to write immediately. You can watch two of the three variants here and here, and I will also most kindly break these silly ads down for you.
They invariably begin with a man complaining about something. In the link above, it is his maid. In some others, it is the fit of his jeans. He will proceed to speak in a slightly effeminate way on a topic that is considered exclusive to women. Because only women should be concerned about the household, housework, right? Sorry if you were under the impression that India can be modern now and men also worry about all this. Nope, why trouble them with problems such as maids and their salary? Leave it to the women!
In another, a man pats is seen trying on a pair of jeans and looking at himself in the mirror, displeased. Then he calls out to his wife ‘Baby, am I looking fat? Here?’, indicating his butt. See where this is going?
Then with some mediocre sound effects, the glorious H&S shampoo bottle knocks out the pink bottle already on a table, and in bold letters and a bold voice it is announced ‘STOP. BEFORE YOU STOP BEING A MAN.’
Basically saying, ‘Don’t use your wife’s shampoo, dude.’
But the underlying message of this add is what annoys me. Insecurity about outer appearance is something that should remain exclusive to women, right? We should continue to doubt ourselves in every way, dislike every part of our body that isn’t traditionally beautiful, we should pinch parts and call them ‘problem areas’ and we should feel like we don’t deserve a pair of jeans because they ‘apparently’ make some parts of our body look bigger.
They also imply that a woman’s place is to take care of the house, handle people such as maids and for a man to do this would be a great attack on his ‘masculinity’. Implying that these jobs are below a man’s dignity, implies that a woman has less dignity in the first place!
Are men really so insecure that they think using a particular shampoo is going to stop their testosterone production? Making an effort to help their wives with housework would cut off their testicles? Allowing themselves to be vulnerable denies them their belonging to their gender?
I really hope that most of you men out there are not stupid enough to fall for this advertisement and buy into its message. I really hope that more people have seen the reality of and objected to the horrible message of this ad that perpetrates the age old view that a woman cooks while the man earns, something Indian women have been attempting to fight for years.
As always, opinions and suggestions are welcome. Did these ads anger you as much as me?