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Are We Normalizing Domestic Violence?

It is safe to say that one of the most consumed media products is advertisements. We see ads almost everyday. As a result, there impact and influence is also enormous in our lives.

Although there have been ads that have contributed positively to the societal problems, others have aggravated the situations.

One such example is Kenwood's advertisement, featuring Nawaz ud din Siddiqui, that mocks a serious issue.

The ad shows a group of male friends sitting together. When one of the friends ask Nawaz about his wife, he tells him that they got in an argument. He says,

"Mujhe gussah agaya, or mera haath uth gaya"

"Dhulai ki"

Lets list down the problems with this statement and the ad itself.

Firstly, he is boasting about beating his wife in front of his male friends like it's a very "manly" and honourable thing to do when it is clearly not.

It becomes highly problematic especially in the context of Pakistan where between 70% and 90% of married women have experienced abuse from their spouses at any time in their lives (A survey on 1000 women in Punjab, Pakistan).

Secondly, the ad is normalising the action of beating your spouse in a state of anger. Beating someone out of anger should not be an excuse of justification for your uncultured behavior.

Thirdly, the ad is associating the feature of a washing machine (an object) to torturous behavior that is inflicted on women in marriages. The word "behtareen dhulai" is used in the context of "cleanse" which should not be linked to the barbarous action of beating someone.

Fourthly, such ads normalize the thought process that goes behind this violent behavior that most men adopt with their wives especially when it is presented in a humorous way.

It's time that we, as consumers of these media products, actively identify these problematic issues and raise our voice against such ads.

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