Nowadays women are being featured almost every day in the commercial of cosmetics, beauty and other products. In those commercials, women have been presented in a way where women as a human are less emphasised. The media, with its influence, has reached every home, workplace, restaurant and other areas to promote beauty culture. Every day, a massive amount of beauty products are manufactured and numerous ad films are shot to promote the products. This has created a certain standard of value and capability and a mindset amongst people which is very discriminating.
Today’s media promotes beauty products presenting women as nothing but products. Women may or may not realise this process of being “commodities” themselves. Almost every beauty product uses visual advertisement to market. But they make very racist advertisements to promote products. Almost every beauty product showcases a woman with a dark complexion, which is done through make-up. The dark woman is shown to be always rejected in work or in relationships because of her dark skin tone. Then, she is suggested a beauty product by one of her friends which changes her skin complexion to brighter. She is later promoted in the job, successful in relationships and becomes a role model of success. The problem with these types of commercials and the products is that it is creating a standard in society that being fair is equal to being successful. In this logic, a girl or a woman who is not much pretty has no value whatsoever which is indeed a wrong ideology altogether. It only cherishes stereotypes in society and limits the capabilities of women.Not just beauty products, home appliances also advertise their products using female models in the wrong fashion. Almost every home appliance product is advertised with women shown to use these appliances. The commercials try to appeal to women of the usefulness of the home appliances but it creates the idea that only women can and should use those products and men cannot. Refrigerators mostly advertise with women standing beside them, indicating that a woman very much needs a refrigerator but a man does not. It objectifies women to be someone who is always caged in the four walls of a house or a kitchen. It promotes this idea not among women but also men. It clearly spreads a false message.
On the other hand, men too often fall prey to products that are claimed to increase height or complexion, establishing the notion that being of a decent height brings upon success or being good-looking may help in various situations. These products and their advertisements also objectify men.
However, the consumer class is also at fault to some extent. First of all, they do not realise that allowing such products and advertisements can only cause stereotypes and limitations. It is their lack of awareness and realisation. Moreover, the long continuing practice of warning is also responsible. Many girls from their childhood are warned not to roam around too much in sunlight lest they may get dark skin tone while boys are told to ride bicycles to achieve a good height. It is right at the roots where stereotyping begins. As a result, the people who are born a little dark or short face discrimination and feel within themselves that they lack something. That is why, when these people come across such advertisements, they tend to see a ray of hope. This is a flawed mindset altogether.
A product may increase skin tone or height, but it should not be a unit of measurement or definition of someone. People are defined by what they do but not by their gender or how they look like or how tall they are. Rather than focusing on appearance, people should focus more on their work. Only then, they will achieve success.
Sajid Ahsan Latif, student, BRACUniversity