- What values are being conveyed?
- How are the advertises similar/different in conveying this?
- How do they provoke thinking about the global issues
- How does the craftsmanship of the text explore the idea of representation and identity?
The left side of the photo on the left shows a girl in traditional Indian makeup, jewellery and dress. However, on the right side of the picture, the girl is shown to look more masculine with short hair, thick eyebrows, no makeup and she is wearing a shirt instead of a blouse. This clear contrast in gender presented on the same individual shows how Indian society values boys, considering them to be superior compared to girls and they are often prioritised when there are limited educational resources. The photo on the right shows the side profile of a girl wearing a short skirt that has the label “Whore” next to it. There is also a ruler indicating other skirt lengths, and they come with negative labels like “Prude”, “Slut”, “Cheeky”. The underlying value that this advertisement is trying to critique is how judgemental our society is with regards to how women dress since the advertisement shows how there are negative criticisms no matter the skirt length. In the sense that women’s attires are often associated with a negative connotation.
The advertisement on the left uses the technique of contrast to show how different genders in India are treated fundamentally differently. The advertisement achieves this effect by using the same model who is presented differently, conveying their desired message that girls and boys are fundamentally the same and it is the society that grants them different rights purely based on their sex. Furthermore, the dark red, almost sinister background of this advertisement suggests the hardship that women in India are going through just to be educated or granted equal rights as men. This is because dark red and black are often used in the description of dangerous places, similar to how hell is being described in the Bible. On the other hand, the advertisement on the right uses a scale which resembles a ruler that measures the length of skirts that women are wearing. The effect of this ruler image shows women to be judged very harshly, as a ruler is associated with precision and accuracy, and this suggests that women are being judged very closely by society. Interestingly all the labels on the ruler are negative, revealing how women will be judged for wearing a skirt that is either too long or too short. This mirrors the highly judgmental nature of society where they will never be satisfied with how women dress and will always be critical of it. These two advertisements are similar in a way that both are focused on the physical appearance of women in conveying their values since both advertisements use pictures of women to deliver their message. This focus on women’s physical appearance highlights how it is the physical appearance of being a woman that ultimately results in the hardship she faces.
The advertisements provoke thinking about these issues by exposing societal attitudes that we might think is normal just because many people hold those views. For instance, if a person is raised in a conservative Indian society, he or she will most likely think that it is right to prioritise boys in education since girls are supposed to get married and be dedicated to home chores. The same applies to the second advertisement since it is common to judge a girl if she is wearing a mini skirt, and we unknowingly hold on to the idea that decent girls will not dress that way. The fact that the ads highlight such societal attitudes will propel us to give them a second thought and reconsider if these attitudes that we hold are really fair, or if we are just being judgmental based on our own improper perceptions of people.
Furthermore, the use of slogans and text in both advertisements aid in the craftsmanship of the texts by delivering the advertisement’s main messages. In the first advertisement, the use of statistics in “In India, more than 30% of women are illiterate.”. This statistic illustrates that almost one-third of India’s female population is being denied education, showing this is a serious issue. Additionally, the line “Do we have to come so far to get equal rights?” is the use of the rhetorical question to make the readers realise that how much effort and hardship females in India have to go through just to earn basic rights as men who have them readily available. In the advertisement on the right side, the line “Don’t measure a woman’s worth by her clothes” effectively uses diction of “measure” and “worth” to make readers realise how commonly society objectifies and labels women according to their physical appearances and dressing, which is both inaccurate and unfair. The word “measure” also links to the visual representation of the ruler in the advertisement, making readers realise that it is demeaning to judge a woman in this superficial way.