gender stereotype 21st century advertising
Image Source: Screengrab from Facebook

Addressing major issues that can lead to people realising what they are doing wrong, can be done effectively through ads. Therefore, to make a better today and tomorrow, you can embed lessons in your messaging. But brands still choose to normalize problematic issues such as gender stereotypes.

Gender Stereotypes in today’s ads

Let’s have a look at what I mean by that.

You will come across ads that show men participating in housework. This may come across as woke, as notions defying society imposed roles. However, men are either shown as people incapable of household hold chores or they are immensely appreciated for it. By doing both of these, you are telling men that they are not made for these home tasks.

The first ad is of a brand providing the facility of cleaning homes. While one might think that this idea is the need of time, the way they promote it is problematic. The DVC shows that a woman does not believe it when her husband claims to have cleaned the house. Sure of his incompetence in this specific avenue, she continues to investigate. By telling the viewer that the husband actually got someone else to clean, the stereotype is further reinforced.

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Let’s move to another message. These days, brands are placing their products in web films. In the following clip you will see brand placement first hand. You will see a husband who refuses to take part in the work and the wife trying to get him to participate in it. As the story evolves, the short film shows that the wife returns to find a clean house, she is ‘surprised’. Later on, when the husband reveals how he ruined every task assigned, the stereotype was further imposed. Take a look and tell me if I am wrong.

Is every ad like this?


Not every ad is like this. There are ads where you will see men taking initiative and no one singles them out to appreciate them; it is considered normal, a routine phenomenon.

Keep this in mind and take a look at the Pamper’s ad that aired this Father’s Day. In the ad, you see a man realizing upon seeing his daughter the role he needs to play in the life of his little one; a role that is not just limited to earning money but one that is emotionally and physically available as well.

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You might also not have forgotten the famous ad by Shan. The brand showed a man going to his girlfriend’s house to convince her family. Instead of showing how toxic ‘rishta’ meets are for women where they have to discuss their cooking skills, the ad shows the man showcasing his cooking skills.

It is clear that our creative industry is capable of producing narratives that deal with issues like gender stereotypes. Ads like Pampers and Shan Foods show that. But are we playing our part to our best of capabilities because if we were then in 21st century we wouldn’t still be producing problematic advertising messages such as that men are not suited to work in the house.

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