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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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It is very unfortunate that media products like these are made when we all know how domestic abuse is a prevalent issue. Advertisements like these validate the actions of abusive husbands and women are given this message that they should tolerate abuse because their gender makes them inferior in their relationship. What brands do not realize is that they strengthen the foundations of abusive households instead of using the power of their media products in the right manner by setting new precedents of treating women with respect and as equals.

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I read the statement embedded within your writing and it took me a good five minutes to come to terms with the fact that this was actually published somewhere and was deemed acceptable. In countries like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan where women are already being tormented on a daily basis, adverts like these only add to the existing issues at hand. Media products should be a means of educating viewers, rather than reinforcing any and all stereotypes that have long been gatekept by so many generations.

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kashaf noor
kashaf noor
Dec 11, 2022

The entirety of Pakistani Media has always normalized domestic abuse, from advertisements to movies and dramas as well as short films. Domestic violence is a real issue in Pakistan, but to this day, it is shown in a light, humorous tone, and when that is not the case, then it is romanticized in some way, where the female lead ends up falling for the male who abused her in the beginning.


This advertisement is wrong in so many ways. Firstly, the word 'Dhulai,' is extremely disgusting to be to portray a woman being abused by her husband. It is normalizing domestic violence in so many ways, as this clearly gives men the green signal to go ahead and abuse their…


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What shocks me is that it is still so easy for men in gatherings to talk about their wives and boost about how they are the powerful one in the family. You are totally right in stating that among men it has now become a source of proudness that you are beating your wife or are being harsh with her, so she says yes to his yes. Your article also makes me think about the concept of "Runn-mureed", a derogatory term given to a husband whose crime is just that he talks to his wife or listens to her. Our society marks such husbands as weak and incapable of sitting among the "real men" whose conversations begin with beating their…

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Myra Shahab
Myra Shahab
Dec 07, 2022

This advertisement is an example among many about the power-dynamic in a husband-wife relationship and how the man is always portrayed as the dominant, violent one but justified in being so. Advertisments about electronics and domestic products such as laundry detergents, soap etc. have always shown women in a domestic sphere and as housewives. Despite being written letters to, called out and bashed for such bigoted avdertisements that offer quick laughs at the cost of contributing to a larger social problem, it seems as though the industry can never change. This blog post reminded me of Molty Foam's Mashaadi ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbDw-3GIiVU) . We have all seen Molty Foam ads through the years with the classic dulhaan and rukhsaati scene- ideal…

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