Saturday, September 15, 2001
M A I L  B O X


Ad-ding to gender inequality

THIS refers to Anu Cellyís article "Ad-ding to gender inequality" (September 1). Despite the hype of gender equality and the dedication of a year to womenís awakening and empowerment, we do not hesitate when it comes to commodifying women.

Greed has come to dominate our reasoning to such an extent that ad-makers find no better resources than a female body for selling a product be it shaving-cream, after-shave lotion, razors, cigarettes, pan-masala or liquor. The woman today stands reduced to a semi-clad seductress.

But the irony is that educated and modern women are themselves playing an active part in creating such an image. Cultural ethos of the nation and dignity of women seem to have no priority for them nor do they want to challenge male dominance. These engineers of sexual and cultural politics have commercialised womanhood in popular media for their vested interests. It is women who should stand up against their exploitation and break the pattern of willing submission.

Ved Guliani
Hisar



II

The writer has highlighted the extent to which ad persons go in their bid to get across to consumers. Sex has been used to peddle products since time immemorial, but we need to restrain ourselves from overdoing it.

The advertising world in the West has depended on eroticism to push sales of various products. In India, too, products from motor tyres to condoms are being pushed via sexist ads. Advertising pundits point out that the root cause of such ads lies in changing social values. Vulgar film songs, promiscuity and serials on TV point to this change.

The Advertising Standards Council, the body whose job is to weed out offensive, derogatory or obscene advertisements, acts only when there is a complaint.

K.M. Vashisht
Mansa

III

Had this article been written by a male writer, feminists would have been up in arms.

If educated and, of course, westernised young girls get good money for advertising and modelling, why raise a ruckus over it?

Invoking ethics to control or police morality amounts to playing big brother or thought police. Women are free not to choose this profession, if they feel they are being mis-represented. And what about male nudity which is now visible in many ads?

Pooja
Chandigarh

Urge to backchat

This refers to "Controlling the urge to backchat" by Khushwant Singh (September 1).

Backchatting is not invariably undesirable as sometimes it is the only way to express oneís reaction to another oneís behaviour. Of course, malicious gossip, carrying tales and spreading rumours about other people deserves to be condemned.

When a braggart is too crude and rude, it is best to steer clear of him and express oneís views when one sees his back.

Unless one is physically strong enough to risk a fight with other people by calling a spade a spade or one is a honed diplomat, one has no option but to keep quiet in anotherís presence and backchat.

Anyway backchatting is never edifying and is best avoided. But the question is human limitations being what they are, is it always possible to do so?

Chaman Lal Korpal
Amritsar

II

There is absolutely no doubt that backchatting is very common in the Indian society. Whether people are attending a social function or a religious ceremony, they indulge in backchatting and speaking ill of their relatives and friends in order to gain cheap popularity and grind their own axes.

A short temper is also equally responsible for creating disharmony. It leads to jealousy and hatred among people.

The war of Mahabharata would not have occurred if Panchaali (Draupadi) had not spoken ill of Duryodhan and insulted him. People should learn a lesson from this article and control their urge to backchat.

T.L. Bali
Hoshiarpur

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