People in the communication business have a responsibility to evolve the narrative. Creative thought nurtures diversity.
The scripts that emerge in advertising are still full of stereotypes. The problem is the prevalent breadwinner complex in reel, when in the real world more and more people are sharing the load at work and at home.
Brands in their bid to be relevant and full of purpose have been doing their bit to change the portrayal of women in advertising. While that’s a welcome change, portrayals of men in advertising are still limited by traditional outlines – bread winners and decision makers.
Change is coming, though, as we’ve seen in some recent brand work. But Jack’s road to enlightenment is a long one.
Ariel’s globally recognised campaign ‘Share the Load’
Gillette’s ‘Barber Shop Girls’ ad
HP’s ‘Father’s Day’ where men are no longer being treated as ‘foolish and self-centred’
The “Axe – Make Your Own Rules” campaign took a sharp U-turn from the otherwise sexist content that most brands in the segment go with
Huggies showed a new dad quite capable of changing diapers
The #MomsNeedHugsToo campaign showed a new dad who is an active participant in parenting and also recognises the pressures and needs of a new mother
But change is never easy, P&G’s campaign for Gillette faced severe backlash as some saw it as an attack on traditional masculinity.
Even as marketers become more conscious about stereotypes, and work toward breaking them, the battle is between messaging and reach.
The change, in whatever limited quantity, is gradually coming in as we are seeing more honest and human representations of society on screen. To bring in gender neutrality, we should show depictions of real men.