This Moving Advert Challenges Gender Roles In The Most Powerful Way

An advert by Ariel India is urging society to #BREAKFREE from gender roles and #ShareTheLoad…

Gender roles landscape.jpg
Gender roles landscape.jpg
(Image credit: Rex)

An advert by Ariel India is urging society to #BREAKFREE from gender roles and #ShareTheLoad…

Ariel India, the laundry detergent company, released an advert last week that has received a lot of attention.

Following the global advertising trend led by Always and Addidas, Ariel chose to bypass its actual detergent product, instead concentrating its video ad on a much bigger issue, the deeply engrained gender roles that structure India and society in general.

The advert makes us challenge society and question what has become normal, urging men to #ShareTheLoad and raising the question ‘why is laundry only a mother’s job?’

The powerful video follows an elderly Indian man who is visiting his adult daughter and her family, witnessing the unequal gender roles that he has helped to enforce. The scene depicts what most of us would consider to be an average weekday evening: the husband sitting in front of the TV with a beer and the wife juggling work, cooking, cleaning and child care. We watch the video through the father’s eyes as he narrates a letter to his daughter, reflecting on how he has raised her in terms of gender roles, apologising for his errors and promising to do better.

Disclaimer: If you’re anything like us, you will cry…

‘My little baby girl, You are all grown up now, you used to play house and now you manage your own house, and your office. I am so proud and I am so sorry. Sorry that you have to do all this alone. Sorry that I never stopped you while you were playing house. I never told you that it is not your job alone…but your husband’s too. But how could I have said it…when I never helped your mom either. And what you saw, you learnt. Your husband must have learnt the same from his dad. While playing house, he would have pretended to watch TV, and a little girl like you would have pretended to make tea. Sorry on behalf of his dad. Sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example. But it’s not too late… I will make a conscious effort to help your mum with the household chores. I may not become the king of the kitchen but at least I can help out with the laundry. All these years I’ve been wrong, it’s time to set things right. Yours, Papa.’

The powerful advert has been praised for highlighting such an important issue and prompting a long overdue conversation on gender roles.

The power and poignancy of the advert lies in its subtlety. Instead of opting for the shock factor and depicting extreme scenes of violence and abuse, the video is a simple and relatable snapshot into all of our lives, making us question why we accept these unequal gender roles on a day to day basis without question.

As we enter the final week of our #BREAKFREE campaign, focusing on fighting gender barriers, it is encouraging to see adverts like this, challenging societal norms and promoting change.

It is time to do more though, it is our responsibility to make our voices heard and create a change. We must re-evaluate gender roles and empower each other.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.