We’ve all seen the glorification of “motherhood” and mothers within all media sources including films and television shows. In many ways, however, the manner in which Pakistani advertisements portray this very image of “motherhood” is unique in its method of inducing stereotypes. Ideas like childrearing, housekeeping, and general happiness within a home are presented to naturally be the responsibility of the woman, the wife, and obviously, the mother.
So deeply entrenched are such ideas that some famous brands have their taglines running down from generations endorsing such ideas. “Jahaan mamta wahan Dalda,” is one prime example of advertisements glorifying motherhood by reducing them to ideas like cooking.
Another example of such use of motherhood lies within the Lifebuoy advertisements,
“Aik maa hi banati hai beti ko sar say mazboot, jar say mazboot.”
Interestingly, in many of these advertisements, motherhood has little to do with the product being marketed. After all, everyone (or mostly everyone) would be needing shampoo and cooking oil at some point! But the need to add a motherhood element, in many ways, seems to be a necessary condition that most advertisements need to fulfill. In many ways, a glorified, good mother becomes a symbol of a happy household. A mother who knows how to cook and braid her daughter’s hair is one who promotes the well-being of the members of the house and signifies that the use of a particular product will bring the same for all.
A deeper meaning lies in the fact that much of this idea of “motherhood” is presented as so “natural” in that it reinforces the notion that mothers are naturally inclined to work for the house. While there may be nothing wrong with mothers being showcased as the source of happiness for a household, in many ways such taglines make this a binding condition for all mothers. Any mother who has anything slightly less than such portrayals becomes problematic. Right from when you are a toddler with the television playing in the background, to when you’ve grown old enough to register information, such taglines and ads have already taught you who a mother is. And anything short of that becomes hard to digest for most.