Advertisement and the Identity of Women in India


Among the media the Advertising Medium is omnipresent; it seems to pervade and affect every aspect of the day-to-day life of individuals, communities, societies, and nations. Once upon a time it was seen and thought that ads were placed in between the programmes; today programmes are placed in between the ads so that the primary focus is the ads and not the programmes, news included. Today Advertisement as a medium is a multi-billion euro industry. In India the advertising industry is large because the media is very large. And it has grown somewhat along with the 300% growth of the stock markets in India and the 9% GDP growth from 2004.  In the present Indian population of 1.03 billion, women number 496 million (2001 Census). Before one can talk about how this huge number of women are influenced and affected by the large advertising industry in India, it is imperative to look at the status of women in Indian society. The status of Indian women throughout the centuries has been one of subordination to men except in the ancient India. Generally today’s advertising industry has only reinforced their low status by presenting women in stereo-typical roles, rather than unleashing a new and fresh image of Indian women. According to the image presented by this industry the identity of women consists in being fair, beautiful, being a dutiful wife, a caring mother, and a non-thinking person who has no mind of her own. The only power they are told they have is over their skin.

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