top of page

The Whiff of Sexism

We've all come across those familiar tropes in advertising, where cooking oil and washing detergent ads often reinforce redundant gender roles and exhibit blatant sexism. And then there's the ever-present male deodorant ad, persistently clinging to the same worn-out blueprint, as predictable as a rerun you've seen multiple times.




Ah, yes, the typical male deodorant ad, where a chiseled shirtless hunk of a man gazes into the mirror with an air of smugness, oozing the confidence of a person who believes they've conquered the world. No need for the magical mirror to utter, 'Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?' because this guy surely knows that he's got it all and then some. And now he will spray on some magically gripping deodorant with names like 'Macho,' 'Axe,' and 'Wild Stone,' also boasting top notes of musk and amber, because God forbid a man with a floral scent and a perfume bottle in a shade unbound by gender norms, is definitely going to pound his masculinity.


These deodorants release an aura of sheer strength; their magic goes beyond mere fragrance. They possess the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Watch as women, usually depicted as overly sexualized beings, run after that gorgeous earth-god, attracted to him like a magnet and going gaga over him because, in the end, that's the only thing women are attracted to.



Such advertisements over the years have done nothing but objectify and sexualize women, perpetuating the stereotype that all women aim for and are willing to do anything for male attention. These ads not only fail to remotely convey the primary objective of a deodorant, which is to keep one fresh and make a good impression, but they also promote the narrative that sex sells. By portraying women as mere sex objects in the name of marketing, these ads contribute to the harmful reinforcement of gender stereotypes and the sexual objectification of women. They limit women to being depicted solely for that purpose, disregarding their multifaceted identities. Moreover, these ads further reinforce the notion that a woman's sole purpose is to seek a man's attention, suggesting that such attention can be obtained by simply doing the bare minimum.


48 views6 comments

6 Comments


Khadija Nasir
Khadija Nasir
Jun 24, 2023

Really enjoyed the read! You've raised such an important conversation about these perfume ads. It really makes you think about how this reflects in the opposite types of ads as well. While in perfumes targeted for males, you find women fawning over them , usually half dressed. But when you look at women's perfumes adverts, they mostly do the same thing. The perfumes are marketed as a means to get more attention from the men you desire, how using a specific types of fragrance will make you more attractive and get more male attention. Its really disheartening to think that even in the opposite case, women are still just seen a s an object of desire at best, nothing more.

Like

Rania Bakhtiari
Rania Bakhtiari
Jun 22, 2023

The advertisement picture in your blog post is somewhat reflective of how such advertisements merely objectify women. Showing women all over Emraan Hashmi is extreme objectification of them and also shows how the use of perfume is only to attract the opposite sex. Such advertisements perpetuate the marginalization of women and reduce women to be seen as objects of desire whose primary goal is to seek a male's attention.


Like

I remember watching Axe's ad on tv when I was a kid, and my mother used to hate it but I could not understand why. now when I think about it, I can understand why.


Addressing the problem with the portrayal of men in deodorant ads requires a shift towards more inclusive and authentic representations of masculinity. It is essential to challenge traditional stereotypes, embrace diversity, and promote healthy and respectful notions of masculinity. By doing so, advertisers can contribute to a more inclusive and empowering media landscape that celebrates the full range of human experiences and identities.

Like

Very well written. I would also like to add that the advertisement you have selected, the one with the spray being called cobra (snake) seems like the man is a snake charmer who is charming all the girls with the spray so these names symbolise and then in essence reinforce power dynamics and gender disparity. Also women being used as mere props in the ads objectifies them. Also why do we always have women perfumes named along the lines of candy sweet or secret angel etc, why can they not be into musky scents? personally I have seen a lot of women buy "male scents" for themselves. The ad portrays harmful stereotypes of masculinity, in this case, man spraying masculine…

Like

It's also way worse when the male in question looks like a child and the women running after him appear to be older, because it's supposed to be a thing to be celebrated if a young boy is the object of an older woman's desire, but it's so problematic!

Like
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page