Despite the massive evolutionary change, it is unfortunate that we still find the elements of conventional school of thought in our media representation of women. For women are either misrepresented or underrepresented, and rarely do we see examples of them depicted otherwise. For decades, the media representation of women has been favoring the patriarchal view, while reinforcing the traditional gender stereotypes that are embedded into our culture. From dramas, movies, and advertisements, Pakistan’s entertainment industry is replete with such examples. Either a woman is shown in her vulnerable, suppressed state or used as a magnetizing element in ads where we don’t even necessarily feel the need of a female figure.
However, as brands are now moving towards thematic ads now, we see a significant change and perhaps, progress in the kind of media productions taking place. Therefore, these brands should be given the limelight they deserve, for they play a distinctive role in smashing the stereotypical mindsets of society by reversing the gender roles. One such example is Shoop Noodles, that came up with its campaign #TrustTauMustHai.
The commercial begins with a man attempting to change a tyre on his car when his teenage daughter notices him and steps outside to assist. When the man sees her, he asks for a glass of water, as we usually do with the youngest members of the family. Instead, she asks for the tool to get the tyre fixed. Her father reluctantly passes the tool to her, leaves his trust upon her and thus steps aside. The look of surprise on his face as he discovers that his daughter is actually adroit at the skill is understandable, for it is not normally expected from women to know such practical skills.
Shoop’s advertisement is, therefore, subliminally pointing towards the reversal of gender roles that are deeply woven into our patriarchal social structures. Traditionally speaking, the onus of tasks such as changing a tyre or an electric wire, or as simple as hammering nail into a wall is expected to fall upon men. Women, on the other hand, are expected to be caretakers of families and involve in tasks such as cooking and cleaning as this is what they are handed down since decades, even if this is not what they necessarily want to do. How often do we get to see the rare sight of a woman in the middle of a road, fixing her tyre herself or how often do we see men being the nurturers of house?
We definitely need more such ad campaigns, for they not only help in bringing about a paradigm shift in the mindset of society regarding women, but also targets the masculine standards men are expected to maintain. Shoop’s ad serves to be a perfect example of how an Individual's abilities are to be trusted, regardless of age and gender.