Wish every girl was like Aisha?

Man: “I can sleep with you, but I can’t marry you.”
Woman: “It’s okay I will find you a girl in the matrimonial.”

Man: “I am going out with Vanessa.”
Woman: “Shall I book you movie tickets?”
Man: “Aren’t you jealous?”
Woman: “I am not programmed for that.”
Man: “Wish every girl was like Aisha.”

What do you think of this advertisement?

I found it offensive, and let me try to understand why.

1. It seems to propagate the thought that men want sex without commitment or marriage. And women in relationships with such men, generally want to marry them. [Edited to add: And if they don’t, then they are seen as women of dubious morality or respectability.]

Now, patriarchal societies have high tolerance for men sleeping with women who are ostracized or condemned for sleeping with them (Sluts, sex workers, ‘moral-less women’).

It’s only when men have sex with women who they see as ‘respectable’ that it is considered ‘harmful to the society’. (More on such attitudes in the Related Posts below)

This stereotype is used to excuse sexual harassment and even violent sexual crimes by men. “The worst of all is this assumption of the unbuttoned, lust driven man who can’t control himself.” (click to read)

All this encourages double standards.

‘Got stared at’ poster shared on facebook. Click to see more posters.[If you do it you are a Stud, if I do it I am a Slut?]

2 – It seems to convey that all women pressurize unwilling men to marry them. (Stereotype: Men want sex, and women want marriage.)

Women are definitely under more pressure to get married (and stay married). It’s a matter of grave concern for many that this is changing – in a society with Gender Neutral Moral Values, some women might want men like Aisha.

3. It conveys that all women are irrationally jealous and men find it inconvenient.

Jealousy has no gender. Women are culturally permitted to express how they feel, while men, unfortunately, are discouraged from expressing any emotion except anger and violence. News like this is not uncommon – Jealous Indian cut wife’s throat eight times in Oz

And isn’t is sensible to want to have a realistic idea about a partner’s expectations from  and commitment to a relationship, specially if they seem to be interested in sleeping with a partner while planning to marry somebody else?

4. It also seems to convey that men want to be in relationships with robots programmed for providing unquestioning service  and obedience. [Kislay Usha Chandra blogged about Robotic Naari, here ]

Some men might want women who behave like they have no feelings or minds of their own, but a vast majority seem to prefer humans over robots.

What do you think makes this ad offensive?

Related posts:

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.
We generally expect men to be afraid of commitment, but obviously women can have similar doubts.
Live in Relationships: The man gets a temporary disposable wife?
Live-in relationships in general are inherently advantageous to men and disadvantageous to women?
Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.
So how does Delhi – NCR Police define Rape?
How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.

18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear.  - By Rebecca Lammersen (being shared on facebook)

125 thoughts on “Wish every girl was like Aisha?

      • Thanks for the link, IHM! Just read Kislay Chandra’s post! I shuddered to even think of a scenario where for every 1000 men we’ll be left with just 100 women! How gorily real it may get if we dont let our daughters live! :cry: :(

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    • I can’t seem to post an independent comment, so replying to the thread:

      Is it only me who is creeped out by the fact that the man is so lonely/weird he’s in an open relationship with his phone? Gives a whole new dimension to men describing their phones as “sexy”. Ick.

      I’m feeling sorry for the phone company who made this ad (NOT) – not only are they going to face criticism for this cringe-inducing ad, but they’re going to have their pants sued off them by Apple for the Siri-like Aisha. I’m sure there’s a patent lurking there somewhere.

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  1. ‎” It conveys that all women are irrationally jealous and men find it inconvenient.”

    In fact this fact is so entrenched in male minds that they cannot see beyond it. Makes me sick. Anything a woman in their life says is construed as jealousy. Men actually find it “convenient” to believe that all women are jealous, instead of facing up to whatever the problem is.
    This myth about jealous women is reiterated by ads, movies, literature et al. Jealousy is not a women-centric feeling. Men feel it just the same. It depends on individuals, not a gender as a whole.

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  2. Seriously? A voice app needs to be advertised by promoting it as a sexually available, morally uninhibited yet domestically inclined woman for it to garner any attention? What does this say about our society?

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    • Also, the assumption that the target audience for this commercial is male, 18-40, because women don’t use apps, or even cell phones, right?

      I will NEVER buy ANY Micromax product again.

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  3. Found it very offensive. The reasons are the assumptions I see:

    1. Women exist to make life smooth for men.
    2. Men want a secretary and use of the female body ONLY.
    3. Sleeping with someone comes with the high price tag of marriage (with its stereotypical losing freedom, ball and chain type reasoning).
    4. Using people is okay.

    Was buying a phone recently and explicitly ruled this one out of my list. Yep, a puny one person not making this choice will not bother the advertisers or the company but had to live with myself afterwards!

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    • The worst part is that several women would have worked in production, creative and media planning for this and not one of them would see it as sexist. :(

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    • “Yep, a puny one person not making this choice will not bother the advertisers or the company but had to live with myself afterwards!”

      It does make a difference. Even though it is hard to believe, there is more spending power with women now than there ever was. If those that spend make a conscientious decision like you have done, the market will change. So kudos to you for making that decision!

      Like

      • I think Indian marketeers have a blind spot when it comes to women.

        We are a powerful as purchasers of Whisper and Safola but are conveniently ignored in advertising for all non-domestic products.

        Most Indian commercials for cars and electronic products use women only as eye-candy, not as buyers or end-users.

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  4. I found that ad offensive too..

    Most men I know prefer strong and independent girls. The one depicted in this ad is the kind who prefers to live in a fantasy world which might sound glam and interesting… but it doesnt give the joy of a relationship.

    Men, like us, want companions, not servants/robots. I know there are some who treat the women in their lives shabbily… But there are equal number of men (if not more) who prefer ‘partners’.

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    • Well said puja.. indeed men are Like that and not
      just one but in large numbers.

      The ad has been designed to make a commotion create a flutter so people become enquisitive or curious and its done the job look how many people men and women would have seen this ad.

      Its just a marketing gimmick.
      and they have made the feminists watch the ad too.

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      • Bikram, Puja I agree. This ad seems to be aimed at young men, trying to project such attitudes as ‘modern’, macho and ‘cool’.
        It’s like telling young men in a society where they are not always free to even interact with women, that somehow men having such expectations is normal and even desirable.

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      • Every advertisement or promotion campaigns are designed for a specific market, a particular group of people. This particular ad is no different. But what really frustrates me is how this ad has been taken and assumed ‘all men are like this’.

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      • i agree with you Bikaram… its just an advt created to create commotion.. like how actors are tied with actresses just before the release of movie..

        i think people should not judge the product by advertisement. i dont buy pears soap b’cas the advt is good. i buy b’cas i like it. so, ppl who have commented saying u want buy the product b’cas of the advt, rethink. may be the mobile has good features too.. :P.

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    • BAB,
      This blog entry provides a criticism to the mainstream media. IHM is talking about the stereotypes that such advertisements promote. Such stereotypes are prevalent in the society and hence they get manifested in media and popular culture. The advertisements then perpetuate and reinforce the same.
      Okay Now I am going to highlight all the points that IHM made.
      1. It seems to propagate the thought that men want sex without commitment or marriage. And women in relationships with such men generally want to marry them.
      2. It seems to convey that all women pressurize unwilling men to marry them. (Stereotype: Men want sex, and women want marriage.)
      3. It conveys that all women are irrationally jealous and men find it inconvenient.
      Jealousy has no gender. Women are culturally permitted to express how they feel, while men, unfortunately, are discouraged from expressing any emotion except anger and violence.
      4. It also seems to convey that men want to be in relationships with robots programmed for providing unquestioning service and obedience. Some men might want women who behave like they have no feelings or minds of their own, but a vast majority seems to prefer humans over robots.
      Now after going through all these points I don’t understand from where you seem to be getting the idea that IHM is making a blanket statement about men here, while clearly she is shattering such unflattering characterizations.

      Like

    • This blog entry provides a valid criticism to the mainstream media. IHM is talking about the stereotypes that such advertisements promote. Such stereotypes are prevalent in the society and hence they get manifested in media and popular culture. The advertisements then perpetuate and reinforce the same.
      Okay Now I am going to highlight all the points that IHM made.
      1. It seems to propagate the thought that men want sex without commitment or marriage. And women in relationships with such men generally want to marry them.
      2. It seems to convey that all women pressurize unwilling men to marry them. (Stereotype: Men want sex, and women want marriage.)
      3. It conveys that all women are irrationally jealous and men find it inconvenient.
      Jealousy has no gender. Women are culturally permitted to express how they feel, while men, unfortunately, are discouraged from expressing any emotion except anger and violence.
      4. It also seems to convey that men want to be in relationships with robots programmed for providing unquestioning service and obedience. Some men might want women who behave like they have no feelings or minds of their own, but a vast majority seems to prefer humans over robots.
      Now after going through all these points I don’t understand from where you seem to be getting the idea that IHM is making a blanket statement about men here, while clearly she is shattering such unflattering characterizations. Men and women are not monolithic creatures.

      Like

  5. I wonder if they would have run this ad if the model was an Indian woman – instead it’s a South African. Dispensable foreign women, anyone? :\

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  6. The need for ‘one woman to sleep with’ and another to marry just shows the sick attitude that pervades society – a girl who sleeps with men is ‘loose’, has no morals, is a whore, a slut, whatever variant of that comes to mind, but the girl he wants to marry should be, um, ‘pure, virginal’ or whatever – because of course, that implies she has moral standards, no?

    Sick, sick, sick ad. And just to drive this home, they use an attractive woman putting on a ‘come to bed’ voice – and all the sexual innuendo of course, ‘I want a new position’ is what I think he says.

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  7. //
    Man: “I can sleep with you, but I can’t marry you.”
    Woman: “It’s okay I will find you a girl in the matrimonial.”
    //

    Just realized….if matrimony is the opposite of premarital sex then the woman will marry him but not sleep with him :0

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  8. Oh Yes! saw this ad last week and was quite disgusted. Which reminds me ….
    Going slightly off tangent. I am not sure how many here see the Tamil program “Neeya Naana” (You or Me) that’s telecasted in Vijay TV. Couple of weeks back they had a discussion on “Are women forcing the men to tease them by dressing improperly” .
    One side had women and the other side men (obviously). The feeling of smug condescending superiority coming from the men’s side literally knocked me back on my sofa.

    Part of the discussion went something like this:
    Lady1: “It is my god given right to dress as it pleases me, I do not comment on your dressing sense, who are you to make such cheap comments and tease me”
    Man: “If it is your right to dress like you please, it is my right to tease and comment about you. Do not blame us for teasing you. You are tantalizing us into misbehaving. Its not our fault”

    Lady2: If you are going to be blaming women, how about the crowd of romeos around schools who make the lives of school girls, who wear salwar with neatly pinned dupatta, miserable?
    Man: *dismissively* oh! thats just age, one cannot blame the guys for the josh they get at that age.

    Lady3: I leave early to work and men, even in their 40s and 50s, paw us in public transport, despite leaving early enough for the transport to be empty.
    Man: Men are like children, you really should not take it badly.

    By this time my quotient for BS had over exceeded and I changed channels.

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    • TW : sarcasm ahead
      Ah the sense of entitlement! Didn’t you know that the right to sexually harass and disrespect women is enshrined in our constitution? And how could you not know that men are just children, with no deliberative faculty..for goodness sakes they are simple testosterone producing machines and woman you have got to right to place the blame on men.

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    • Aahaan! So men are like children? Let’s ground these mis-behaving children until they realize what they are doing and let the women go about like they are the adults. In other words no walking, talking, wolf-whistling, standing in droves in public places until you learn to behave. Not “shut the woman inside and make her wear 53 layers of clothing in 40 degree celsius weather”.

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    • If men are like children, then they should really not be running the government, sitting on the boards of major corporations or even driving a car.

      If men are like children, they really shouldn’t be having sex or even thinking of it.

      The regional TV shows are eye-openers. They remind me that I am part of a miniscule minority in this country.

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    • @ Sanjana

      I agree. I saw that episode of Neeya Naana and i was disgusted by the route the discussion took. The guest of honor in the episode ( a doctor) spoke about how the society in general does not teach young Indian boys on how to control themselves when it comes to their sexual feelings for women and hence, unless parents take an initiative to teach their boys that, they really cant be expected not to behave like that. All I felt was “‘I dont care who taught what to them when they were kids.. As adults, they need to have some sense of their own and take responsibiltiy for their actions, regardless of what they were taught when they were 8″

      The worst part was that apart from a few, most of the women in the show were talking about how old and young men harassed them in public regardless of what dress they wore.Very very few women mentioned the point that they have the right to wear whatever they want and that it is nobody’s business to comment or take advantage of that. I feel many of them would have felt that except that our social conditioning prevents us from voicing such point-blank and non-defensive views in public without being labelled immoral.
      I felt the whole topic itself was BS because even if the clothes women wear is a reason for an increase in sexual harassment, that reason( or anything else for that matter) is DEFINITELY no justification for the act in itself and trying to find out the reason is totally unnecessary. I was left wondering what on earth was Vijay TV trying to achieve by debating this completely useless and biased topic.

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      • @ Nithya,

        From what little I saw, I got the feeling that most of the women were very tentative, almost frightened to put their opinion across, as though they would be penalized for their ideas. So they stuck to what they thought was the safer topic.
        One lady especially was very effective though. She was the one who kept asking the men to give statistics on how women in rural areas are not teased and asked them who they were to impinge on her rights to dress.

        The men were so sure in their king-of-the-world attitude, they were not even willing to see the very valid points given forth by women. And as you said, so many “reasons” are given to excuse this kind of behavior, its almost like they are encouraged to treat the whole female gender as their personal playthings.

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  9. A woman seems to be one who needs to be at the man’s beck and call. And this is the only case where the man seems to be happy. She needs to have a solution to all his problems and not have any problem of her own. She should be just happy with the time he has to offer and ask no questions.

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  10. Its a tongue in cheek ad. One thing that most commentators have forgotten is that the man is being upfront and honest about what he wants, sex without commitment. And since “women own their bodies and have every right to take decisions”, it is her decision whether to stay, have sex with him or etc etc. If woman are adults, capable to taking their own decisions (I think they are), then I do not see what is wrong with the ad. The man is very clear about his wants. He is not “statutorily raping” the woman by promising her marriage. He is even honest that he wants to try out new positions. The woman is free to decide. Since both are adults, I do not see the problem.
    I thought feminists fought for women’s right to her body and her right to decide what to do with it — be promiscous or chaste. And why is it that men must be dictated to as to who they should marry. It is entirely a man’s prerogative to marry a chaste or relatively chaste woman or marry a slut. One may want to have fun with a slut but not marry her. So long, as the man is being honest and the slut has the right to turn him down, I do not see any problem. Both have the right to seek what they want.
    Now for a more serious argument — Men and women have different reproductive interests. For a man, having sex without commitment is a win-win argument while for a woman, getting the commitment of a “high status or high provider or relatively alpha male” is a win win.
    KC

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    • I don’t think anyone had anything to say against the woman/man and sex outside a marriage. The man is pretty interested in getting married in the ad. And the woman wasn’t bothered by his ‘inability’ to marry someone who he deemed unsuitable.

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    • Now for a more serious argument — Men and women have different reproductive interests. For a man, having sex without commitment is a win-win argument while for a woman, getting the commitment of a “high status or high provider or relatively alpha male” is a win win.

      Sorry, but that is a sweeping generalization which has a basis more in social stereotyping than fact. Human relationships simply do not work like that.

      As a species, human beings have a highly flexible, sophisticated mating system, and the mating behavior of an individual will vary in response to ambition, age, social context, culture, self-image, personal experiences and so forth.

      A more accurate statement would be – Different PEOPLE have different reproductive interests.

      Getting the commitment of a good provider does not mean much for women who can already provide adequately for themselves.
      Also, I’ve seen enough of life to conclude that most people (of either sex) begin to desire emotional intimacy at some point in their lives. Once this point is reached, mindless sex completely loses its charm.

      Having sex without commitment is a win-win for some men in some situations, but for other men, marriage/a long term relationship fulfills emotional needs better. Which, of course, is why most men do want to get married at some point.

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    • @ Natasha S
      Exactly. Human mating behaviours are far more nuanced than hypergamous-female-looking-for-alpha-male pop psychology PUA stereotypes. We are humans, a being with highly developed and extremely diverse cognitive triggers, in addition to our biological drives. It is different from being a Neanderthal ape in heat.
       
      Sex without commitment works for some people and not just men, but women as well. A lot of women I know want nothing to do with commitment while there are a lot of men hungry for commitment. It is more of a personal equation. Different strokes for different folks.
       
      As someone who worked in Central and Eastern Europe, the whole ‘variety without commitment’ thing starts to lose its appeal after a point of time. I am also acquainted with a couple of men who worked as porn actors in Europe. They have a tendency to date asexual women – the last thing they want in a relationship is sex.

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      • //”We are humans, a being with highly developed and extremely diverse cognitive triggers, in addition to our biological drives. It is different from being a Neanderthal ape in heat.”//

        Bingo. But this fact is forgotten (conveniently) by most in the ‘heat’ to make their pop-psychology influenced points.

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    • ///It is entirely a man’s prerogative to marry a chaste or relatively chaste woman or marry a slut. One may want to have fun with a slut but not marry her. So long, as the man is being honest and the slut has the right to turn him down, I do not see any problem//
      So let me see if I get this straight you see the ad and come away with the impression that Aisha is “the slut”…like “the car” or “the bed”, merely an object in the man’s life as opposed to a living/breathing human being with the requisite plumbing to be oh I don’t know a WOMAN!!! See that right there is the problem we feminists have with this ad, not that he wants to have sex without commitment (which FYI is certainly not discussed as a “I want to marry someone else” conversation…uuhh cos I don’t know due to simple common sense!!) but that he is an asshat who expects that when he tells a woman he is having sex with that he wants to marry someone else she SHOULD HELP HIM!!! No…no…no!! Actually screw being a sexist shit head who believes that woman are there only to make his life easier, that just make this guy look like a fool. Which btw we feminists also have a problem with, as feminism is not about women’s rights ALONE but for both men and women to not be regressed into cardboard gender stereotypes!!!
      //Men and women have different reproductive interests. For a man, having sex without commitment is a win-win argument while for a woman, getting the commitment of a “high status or high provider or relatively alpha male” is a win win.//
      Really!!! Cos as a woman I did NOT get this memo!!! Seriously who is responsible for this massive oversight that dares to change the order of things where all men and women are homogenous organisms with similar feelings, interests and ambitions!! Come on seriously asleep behind the wheel ass management get your act together!! (kc you deserve only the sarcasm I can dish out)

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    • Since we are talking about mating strategy here, it is also “win-win” for women to have multiple sexual partners whom they can fall back on in case the primary partner refuses to provide.

      You do know that monogamy is one of several mating strategies that human females have used across the ages, right?

      Your assumption that women ALWAYS seek commitment and men ALWAYS seek commitment-free sex is incorrect because both genders change their mating strategy depending on social circumstances and need.

      However, I agree that women are more cautious about sexual partners because their parental investment is higher.

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    • “For a man, having sex without commitment is a win-win argument while for a woman, getting the commitment of a “high status or high provider or relatively alpha male” is a win win.”

      Human sexuality has evolved so we can reproduce and raise offspring to maturity, so our genes are transmitted onwards.

      It makes sense to not only sire children but also stick around to ensure that they reach adulthood.

      If men follow a “wham bam, thank you mam” mating strategy, then they cannot be sure that their offspring will survive to adulhood.

      They cannot even be sure if their sexual encounters have borne “fruit” or not.

      This is primarily why most humans form largely monogamous pair bonds (with a little cheating on the side).

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  11. There was an interesting discussion on the relevance of ‘Sita’ following the Bombay High Court comment asking the wife to follow her husband like ‘Goddess Sita’. One of the questions which was discussed was which Sita is being referred to, since there are indeed as many Sitas as there are interpretations over time. Interestingly, the notion of a ‘Goddess’ came up only around the 16th century with Tulsidas’ version, which was then taken by in the teleserial Ramayana, with Sita as the sacrificing and chaste woman. One of the statements made by Barkha Dutt rang quite true- that women are either vilified or made into goddesses, and we all know that we’re neither perfect feminists nor perfect villains. A panelist on the show- Nanditha Krishna spoke of how Surpanakha was vilified and had her nose cut off only because she dared express her sexuality and desire. (As an aside, another interesting point was made by a sociologist (MALE!) who said the entire problem was that marriage was seen as the basis for an ideal Indian society- once that was done away with, the relevance of Sita would be discussed in very different terms.)
    The stereotypes set up by this ad though do represent how a majority of men AND women think.

    One of the reasons why this ad disgusts me is that it propagates that horrid notion of “one woman for an affair- another for marrying’- again: marriage being set up as an ideal that ALL women must of course aspire towards and therefore not be ‘sluttish’ etc.

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  12. I find the whole idea behind this ad offensive. There are a lot of men in India desperately looking for commitment, and there are also a lot of women in India who commit to a marriage only because they see it as the least worst option (living as a single woman in India can become very difficult beyond a certain age).

    There are definitely better, smarter ways to sell phones, but I suppose the marketing agency behind this knows who they’re selling to, and also knows what might work on such an audience.

    Most Indians definitely have different standards of morality for men and women. My own in-laws had (and probably still have) huge issues with me because I was forthright about my relationship history. When I got married, I was no ‘sati-savitri bharatiya nari’, and I saw no need to apologize for that. Thankfully, my husband is pretty perceptive, and managed to preempt any unpleasant scenes by clearing all of this beforehand with his people. The clearing-it-out part probably wasn’t pleasant either, but it was better than having an ugly public spat with them.

    Many years ago, my parents wired $500 into my bank account so I could buy something nice for my Birthday. Due to severe time crunch, I did not spend the money until I returned to India on vacation.
    After much looking around, I decided to buy myself a new cellular phone. The salesperson I went to lit up when I asked him to show me around, and handed me a phone which was supposedly a ‘women’s special’.
    For some reason, this annoyed me much more than I would care to admit, and with all the unreasonable petulance that comes with young age, I brusquely ordered the poor fellow to show me the BlackBerry Smartphones instead.

    I guess this Micromax phone is just a men’s special, built for the stereotypical man.

    I wonder how many men will refuse to buy it just for that reason. I do believe I know more than one such man,

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    • Many men in the target age group will buy it precisely because the ad makes them feel macho and superior.

      The percentage of men who will see through the “men can have their cake and eat it too” message is probably miniscule.

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  13. I wonder..whether it is Siri or Aisha ..why does it have to be of female gender?how about a male voice providing ..answering…suggesting..? It could have been depicted like a superman-ish character who is ready to help out !!

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    • According to market research, Indian audiences prefer male voices for providing information or explaining facts, especially for non-household/domestic products.

      Female voices do not inspire as much trust, confidence and credibility as do male ones.

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  14. Sure! Give me a man like James Bond and I’ll be an Aisha.

    In reality – the guy in the ad represents the requirements of the average indian man(and his parents) when it comes to seeking out a wife. How many classifieds have we seen where men advertise for women with – sense of humour, eclectic taste in literature, interest in astrophysics, loves to river raft – or anything stimulating? you will always find them seeking out ‘convent educated, fair, slim’ and thats about it.

    aaah the ‘jealousy’ bit really is a figment of such a sod’s imagination – one must forgive him. it is a psychological balm to prop up the ego, it pleases the mind just so to think women are fighting over him. Delusional as it may be, it fills the boy with a sense of accomplishment and greatness. Take this away and the poor bloke won’t have anything to wake up for.

    Now in the rest of the world – a guy like the one in the ad – well..he has to settle for his hand as ‘aisha’ as he watches movies where the leading roles are assigned to body parts.

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    • In real life, I have known many more neurotically possessive men than women.

      Many of my female friends have husbands who are possessive in varying degrees.

      That’s probably not because of sexual jealousy alone though.

      Many Indian men think their wives have to be “controlled”. I think it’s not so much about sexual jealousy as it is about “mate guarding”; which men indulge more in.

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    • Settling for one’s hand is not that bad of an alternative as some women try to make it out. Just as women are complete without men, so are men complete without women. Having a “loving” wife or gf is no measure of contentment in one’s life.

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      • That’s true.

        Also, it appears to me that men can decouple sex and emotion more easily than women can.

        The male mind can “objectify” more easily than a female mind.

        An ad like Aisha would never work with a female audience because the desire to sexually objectify the male body seems to be less strong for women.

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      • In the context of this ad where the guy wants a stepford woman, I believe he is better off with his hand. Never meant to say that a man or woman is incomplete without a spouse. and you are absolutely right – ‘loving spouse’ will not always complete you.

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    • //”it is a psychological balm to prop up the ego, it pleases the mind just so to think women are fighting over him.”

      Yes! Such men thrive on the ‘women are jealous’ idea as it gives them a massive ego massage.

      Like

  15. I made this point earlier, and I believe it needs to be said here again. All ads and marketing campaigns are designed to target a particular part of society or groups of people – heavy research and money goes behind such ads. This ad, for me, is like any other ad and I don’t bat an eye-lid at it. Here in the UK there is an ad by Lynx deodorant where a male sprays it on his body and where ever he goes, female angles drop in front of him, wanting sex – I mean this is marketing for a purpose.

    The annoying part of all this, is to literally take this to be the case. This ad cannot be taken seriously – as assuming that all men think like this or behave in such manner is totally out of order and sexist (if that word can be used).

    I have had sexual relationship with women and that because there is attraction between us, I can’t see why I want to have a sexual relationship with a women for any other reason. What does this make me? As for women, well you can’t exactly clap with one hand.

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    • Advertising, tele-serials, all forms of visual culture need to be taken seriously- I don’t think unpacking what goes into the making of visual culture is equivalent to taking it literally. But trying to understand the processes that go into its making and reception help us understand the thinking behind the ad, as well as the target audiences via the reception.

      You mention the deodorant ad: almost ALL the ads for male products here play on the same idea- use this deo and women’s clothes will fall off. When you say marketing for a purpose- surely the ‘purpose’ cannot justify the objectifying of women’s bodies in these ads? Its bizarre- men deo= scantily clad women lusting after him. Women’s deo= fairness, increased attractiveness to men. increased chances of marriage. What exactly is the purpose?

      No one is dissing sexual relationships. What is being questioned is the manner in which stereotypes are being set up- not just in the ad linked here, but the entire series put out by this phone company.

      Also intrigued by what you mean when you say “As for women, well you can’t exactly clap with one hand.”?

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      • In a typical mind of a person, it seems men are the cause of all problems, but in reality men are just as much victims as women are. I could say: Women have allowed themselves to be put into this position – but that would be unfair as men equally have allowed women to be put into that position. Coming back to men being just as victims as women was further discussed by a TV programme aired who the host is Aamir Khan. The most recent one indeed was an eye opener, as it’s not just women but men too who suffer. That said, I live in the UK and never travelled to India, so my views are based on what I see mainly on TV or what I read.

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        • “In a typical mind of a person, it seems men are the cause of all problems, but in reality men are just as much victims as women are. ”
          Feminism is a position one takes, whether a man or a woman. And not just in terms of gender relations. And patriarchy is not propagated by men alone.
          No one is suggesting that only women suffer. Least of all this blog. The stereotypes in advertising are as demeaning for men as they are for women.

          And please, please don’t base your ideas about ‘India’ on what you see on tv only!

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      • I think ads for male products play on men’s need to be desired and pursued. Such ads also bolster men’s ego — they can have any woman they want.

        Here’s what I don’t understand: All Indian ads for men’s products denigrate and objectify women in SOME way.

        It appears that the best way to bolster men’s egos is to put women down.

        Is that how most men feel or is it just bad advertising?

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    • “I have had sexual relationship with women and that because there is attraction between us, I can’t see why I want to have a sexual relationship with a women for any other reason. What does this make me?” Answer – It makes you normal :)

      See the Lynx ad is such a wonderful hyperbole and so tongue-in-cheek that it cannot be taken literally, unless one has the mental maturity of a 3-year-old. But the ad succeeds in a good brand recall – which is the primary goal.

      Coming to this particular ad, aimed at the Indian market; unfortunately the import of the message so devoid of humour and creativity – is too close to reality in the Indian context. You are right – their research and conceptualisation is bang on target. Yes the ad is sexist and reinforces gender stereotypes ALREADY in existence in the Indian society for centuries. In a country where millions consider sex as a man’s prerogative, and a woman’s ‘duty'; where millions live under a framework where men ‘need to be attended to constantly by women (mother, wife, sister) – this ad is really off-colour. And challenging such sexist stereotypes is the aim of this blog, and all the commenters – which is what all of us are doing really :)

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      • “And challenging such sexist stereotypes is the aim of this blog, and all the commenters – which is what all of us are doing really” I could swear it seems that the aim of commentators here are trying to prove that the ad is the mentality of all men.

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        • I would argue exactly the opposite…that most men I know can function pretty well with the opposite gender. I think it is the advertisers who are trying to reduce the entire male population using the lowest common denominator!

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  16. The British Asian Blog is right on the money. This ad was meant to be humourous, by exaggerating a few social stereotypes as a gag factor. It is a common marketing gimmick. The way a lot of people here have taken it as a literal expression of sexism reveals what is unfortunately, a characteristic Indian lack of humour. Everything has to be serious.

    The very idea that men want a docile robot is sexist against men but I don’t see men raising a hue and cry about it. Also, as kc put it up before, if a man really wants a woman like that and the woman is willing to be a part of it, whats the beef? Is choice so offensive? Or is it just another Indian posturing, where people are supposed to have approved choices?

    The bottom line is, this is just a commercial. Commercials are supposed to grab eyeballs, in an ends-justifies-the-means fashion.

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    • Not really, AI.

      All people don’t find the same things funny.

      I find this kind of patently sexist, sophomoric ‘humor’ unfunny and stupid. It does not follow that I lack a general sense of humor.

      Also, the issue wasn’t so much with the woman’s personal choice as it was with the idea that such a woman is supposedly an ideal woman that any man would want.
      Maybe the ad was meant to be funny, but to me at least, it just came across as smug and chauvinistic.

      Which is probably because it wasn’t directed AT me.

      Whatever.

      Like

    • Do explain what ‘Indian’ posturing is. You mean all people living within the current boundaries of the Indian nation? Or all people with Indian passports/ PIO cards?

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    • @ Natasha S
      I agree that all people don’t find the same things funny, but Indian people in general, are offended by a lot of things that are supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic or just plain satire.

      I understand the implications in this ad, but unless the women here assume that men are such cognitively challenged imbeciles, that they’ll have their sexual/dating preferences swayed by a Micromax ad and feel threatened by it, I don’t see why this has to be so offensive.

      @ The British Asian Blog
      Thank you BAB and of course. As a snarky, IQ-challenged and disgustingly chauvinistic ‘Indian’ male, I am going to have a lot of sleepless nights over the three thumbs down in my comment. Ah, the tragedy! Tauba Tauba!

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    • Yes the ad probably was tongue-in-cheek, and the stereotypes were exaggerated for the gag factor maybe, but how does it mean it can’t be dissected and some underlying sexism can’t be discussed? Just because it was supposed to be humorous doesn’t discount the possibility of it reinforcing those stereotypes that it was probably taking a jibe at. And just because some people didn’t find it funny, it doesn’t make them particularly humorless. Lastly, Just because men haven’t raised a hue and cry about it and have chosen not to point out the sexism, doesn’t necessarily make the arguments and this whole discussion any less worthy.

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    • “Commercials are supposed to grab eyeballs, in an ends-justifies-the-means fashion.”

      So you would have no ethical objections to a commercial that showed women from the North-East as being, let’s say, sexually available and sluttish?

      Or men from the North East being, let’s say. servile and technologically challenged?

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      • Ouchies! That Appeal to Emotions hurt my technologically challenged and servile ego! Now I must get my dao and go head hunting everyone who makes that commercial….
         
        ….oh wait. Gotta take my dog for a walk.

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        • Sorry, didn’t intend to hurt your “technologically-challenged and servile” ego. I was just asking you about your perspective if such a commercial were to be made.

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        • I have no idea what my perspective would be, till I watch the said commercial. You’ll be the first to know.

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  17. @BAB you are right, men are victimised too.
    Here are two ads that show how men are made to feel they need to behave in certain ways or else be taunted. The ad I have blogged about is doing the same thing – but is doing it more subtly.

    Do take a look at this ad,

    Or this,

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  18. If anything, it portrays men who have this phone in a very pathetic light :D Even if you ignore political correctness, the ad surely has backfired, not counting the obvious iPhone/Siri issues that may be.

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  19. I think that its an ad that establishes a connection between men who’ll buy this phone and those who’ll always be eating out alone :D esp the last frame! An ad that’ll surely backfire, not even considering the obvious iPhone/Siri issue.

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  20. Am I the only gullible soul who did not find the ad offending?!! It just shows that women are changing. And it is true, albeit to a very small extent. A minority of women are indeed independent, and an ad like this (perhaps this was made badly!) could perhaps help people not stereotype women into a ‘Start Plus Super Woman’ kind!!

    Like

      • @Shail,
        I watched the Ad again, and the only thing I found offending was the last line where the guy wishes ‘every girl was like Aisha’. That was silly. But the rest of the ad was good. I mean, for once, we are seeing a girl who is independent, who seems to love her single life, who talks confidently about career. I didn’t find it offending at all. Infact I think its refreshing, compared to the loads of ads that showcase women as loving, caring mothers or wives who are happy in the ‘successes’ of their husband/children!!

        Like

    • Women are changing? It would seem we have gone from being sari-clad Nirupa Roys to Playboy Playmates.

      Both are two sides of the same coin — the asexual, chaste domestic goddess and the insatiable, sexual temptress.

      Both stereotypes harm real women because we are not uni-dimensional caricatures but complete beings who display the entire spectrum of human emotions and behaviors.

      Like

  21. Advertisers are basically lazy in their approach to consumers…They stick to caricatures and stereotypes to sell their products because they have worked in the past…Their justification is that they have only 30 or 60 secs. to tell their story and thus have no time to flesh out their characters…Maybe so BUT wouldn’t it be better if they concentrated more on telling the story of the product rather than on the setting?

    Also, advertising is still a boy’s club…These boys with antiquated views about women are more concerned with ‘catching attention’ rather than crafting an ad around what should be the star- the product…They still think men make all the buying decisions…If they only did their research more thoroughly, they would find that this is not the case now…

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    • Most memorable and successful advertising eschews titillation,caricatures and stereotypes. Remember Cadbury’s “kuch khaas hai…”? :)

      Like

  22. from a purely marketing perspective, this ad is stooooopid!! i had no idea what the product is at the end, bcs the product/ service itself got less than 2 seconds of air time. so micromax has something called “aisha” – but what the hell is aisha?

    of course the ad is sexist.. but its also stoopid. an ad is supposed to position the product, not the model. this ad does a lot of good to the female model, makes the male model appear like a loser (i mean, fancy restaurant, and alone, when u say u r dating xyz?) , and then expects to sell a phone on the strength of an app (did no one at micromax realise that apps are FREE on android phones?) i mean, this is like selling a car by featuring seat covers – easily replaceable, no USP, and worse still, then u spend the whole seat cover ad featuring clothes on women and dont even talk abt the speciality of that seat cover!

    whoever did that ad was stupid. but whoever approved it, had no business heading marketing. i would worry very much with a marketing/ sales head like that.

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    • I agree with you, when marketing a product it should be clear to the customer what the product is. when i first saw this ad it took me about 5 mins to grasp that it was actually a cellphone advertisement, and was highly offended by the way it had tried to market the cellphone. whether we like it or not, advertisements today frequently partake of the sexist conventions prevailing in our society, objectifying the womenfolk and believing that sex sells all the time. since such notions are congruent to the societal line of thought, we accept it and dont question it. fromt he advertisers point of view, they come up with ideas familiar to the audience and somehting which can grab eyeballs, but at the same time not something so differing in thought, something which the society does not allow. hence, we are assaulted with such ads. but frequently now, with advertising councils etc. people like us do complain and ads are pulled off deemed too offensive. and that is the silver lining..:)

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      • aah now i get it.. the siri ad was soooooo much better – good positioning, good product illustration, a little bit of human connect, and u’re done. now that i know what the app product is, the ad appears even more stooopid.. .who wants to have sex with (but not marry) their phone PA app??? now, i really really want to know who the marketing head is who approved this piece of crap.

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  23. I found it extremely offensive not just for obvious reasons….

    but also because it portrayed men to be only interested in sex and not companionship, to be someone whose self confidence depends on how jealous the girl becomes if he leaves her and that men apparently don’t like commitment. In short it portrayed men to be pathetic.

    Sure it was offensive to women. But I found it to be equally offensive to MEN.

    Like

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