Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Of Blanknoise project and two ads

'This women's day was special, because my friend told me about the blanknoise project.
Interestingly, within a few days, when those blogs were still fresh in my memory, I came across two ads on the TV, being played over and over as fillers during the India-England cricket matches. It could have been completely unrelated, if it were not for the fact that I was thinking about the (ambiguously named) eve-teasing issue, and had a lot of questions in my head.

The first ad was the quite obvious coca cola ad with Aishwarya Rai being whistled at. Personally I have never admired Aishwarya Rai, but the ad, well, at the risk of sounding stupid and being impressed by triviality, I must admit, I liked the ad. The ad goes somewhat like this:
Ash walks past, clad in a demure salwar-suit, with a group of other college girls, and one among the group of guys sitting at the corner whistles at her after commenting on her figure. She turns back, asks who it was, and the guy proudly proclaims that it was him (asli mard kabhi nahin darte yaaron). Instead of slapping the guy, she makes fun of him.
First, she says that the whistle was too bad, sounded like a tired pressure cooker cooking dal. Then, she gives them samples of other whistles:
a) 'Jab ladki se sunna ho karari si gali, toh aise siti bajate mawali ' - which means, you can whistle like this, but only if you are ready to be blasted verbally.
b) The second sample is to be used, if you would like to be slapped with sandals
c) The third one, if you don't want to be rude, is a very mild tune, almost like a flute with a coke bottle.
The endline sums it up, 'Ab faisla aapki kyunki aakhir hawa hain aapki' (Of course, if the breath is yours, you need to decide how to use it albeit for which type of whistling).
As she leaves, the guy who whistled is already red-faced.
Some say, the ad trivializes eve teasing, others say, she doesn't really do anything, thereby encouraging the eve-teasers.

To all groups, I say, it's a start. It is a soothing way to handle an irritating situation, and in the process, winning friends too....

Which brings me to the next ad, the Indica Ad.
It has a group of four supposedly hot girls in cute short things driving down to a beach, when they stop beside a guy in colourful cargos and ask him 'if he knows a hottie who can get naughty with them and help them rub sun tan oil on their bodies'. The guy, not taking the hint, tells them that they can try the beach cafe. The girls smirk and drive away, and the backgroud music says that the guy was dumb not to take up the offer.

Women empowerment?
Gender equality and sexual freedom?
Or just a blatant stereo-typing of the male psyche?

Imagine the scenario where roles are reversed:
There are four sexy men in the indica which pull up beside a cute girl in a swimsuit or even denims and the guys give her the same hints. The girl shrugs it off...will you call her dumb?
You would probably call her smart......intelligent.....playing safe....or even a woman with a mind of her own.

So, are men supposed to be this high-on-adrenaline animals who will grab (forgive the pun) any opportunity to paw girls? And if they don't, are they dumb? Aren't they suppsoed to have a choice where sex is concerned?

In all probabilities, this was intended to be a fun ad, and I am sure I am just giving it more importance than it deserves, but hey, I have a strong reason...I am bitten by that blanknoise project bug....and my millitant feminism is making a strong comeback to the forefront....only it is not really saying 'all men are animals and are to be kept away for a world full of happy women'....which is making me think...as usual.


Blogger Tanushree said...

Great writing, Aparna. I like your analysis of the two ads. I agree that Aishwarya's making fun of the guy who whistled at her is a good message. But do you think another whistler is going to get the same message you got? Or will he see it as an opportunity to prove himself smarter than that dumbo who got made fun of, and see if he can do any better?

"No Comments" on the Indica ad. :)

Wed Apr 12, 02:26:00 AM  
Blogger Aparna said...

That's a pertinent (for lack of a better word) question that you have....and I can't answer it, for the same reason why I left open questions for the Indica ad, which is, I am pretty much unable to understand the psyche of the person here :)
But yeah, really, hope he gets the message and feels sufficiently snubbed as to not make an attempt and not too incensed to come back with something stronger.

After all, one can only hope....

Wed Apr 12, 02:31:00 AM  
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Sun Jul 23, 05:43:00 AM  

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