1. How is the #MeToo movement impacting the brands and the future of advertising?
Use of sexual innuendos, inappropriate portrayal of women as either glam-dolls or dutiful homebodies, brazen male chauvinism and stalking termed as “cool” are just some things we’ve been used to seeing from advertisements and movies that slowly crept its way through everyday life.
Misogyny and patriarchy have been so deeply entrenched in our lives without us realizing that we eventually found ways and means to normalize it.
#MeToo called out everything that we thought was okay and encouraged women from all walks of life to open up about the ordeals they faced. The #MeToo movement let the world know that issues would no longer be brushed aside or swept under the carpet but would be tackled head on. This, coupled with the power of social media made everyone introspect on what they have done or should do. Even before the #MeToo movement, brands have been called out on their misogyny through outrage on social media in India; whether it was a movie star carrying a woman on his shoulders with an inappropriate tagline for a clothing brand or an agency that submitted a disturbing ad for an automobile brand; constant conversation on social media citing what’s right and what isn’t has led to brands and agencies to develop better sensibility and understanding while still playing the creative field.
A recent piece of news that tells me women have finally arrived for brands in 2018 is Diageo introducing ‘Jane Walker’ scotch, The Johnie Walker Black Label Jane Walker Edition bottles in a bid to attract women customers.
2. Has the #MeToo movement in any way changed how you view things at your workplace or any changes in policies or workshops on awareness?
We’re definitely more aware as a unit. Male colleagues are more empathetic and aware.
3. Has there been any other social cause or movement or maybe even a protest that created waves in your field?
Women like Elsa Marie and Akancha Srivastava in India are doing phenomenal work on helping women or giving them a platform to address important issues like Eve-teasing and Cyber bullying, which is commendable.
4. What advice would you give to young women who have just started their careers?
You live in a much better time where access to information and data is literally at the tip of your fingers, use this gift to its fullest. Read and research everything. Make yourself more aware of the ongoings around you, your country and the world at large. Ask questions shamelessly. Be opinionated but more importantly be a good listener. Being average yet empathetic takes you farther than being brilliant but brash.
5. What is your personal opinion about #MeToo?
With the countless number of women fessing up about their #MeToo stories; men in general (husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, friends) have truly realized the ordeal that women have had to put up with all their lives. It got men to acknowledge the fact that there was a problem graver than what they could collectively comprehend and while this hasn’t eradicated most problems, acceptance and empathy (even from a number that is minuscule) gives hope that things could change in the future.