Breaking down gender stereotypes

We are all victims and perpetrators of stereotyping at some point in our lives. Gender stereotyping in particular is deeply ingrained in our psyche and creeps up in seemingly innocuous ways from early childhood. Stereotypes like “Girls play with dolls and kitchen sets while boys with cars and video games” don’t make allowances for children to develop their individual likes and dislikes. “Boys don’t cry” is another negative stereotype that makes men emotionally challenged and unable to express their feelings well into their adulthood.

A recent advertisement by a popular hair-care brand successfully challenges sexist stereotyping at the work place. While a man in command is viewed as a “boss”, a woman in a position of power is labelled as “bossy”. A man trying to get his view point across is “persuasive” whereas his female counterpart is “pushy”. A man working late into the night is “dedicated” while a woman doing the same is “selfish”. A well-groomed man walking down the street is “smooth”, but an impeccably dressed woman is a “show-off”.

It is remarkable that in a mere 60 seconds this advertisement is able to challenge the deeply entrenched double standards towards men and women in the work place. It is no surprise that Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and a vocal advocate of equal opportunities for women in the work arena, has wholeheartedly endorsed this campaign. In a statement she has said, “This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen illustrating how when women and men do the same things, they are seen in completely different ways. Really worth watching. Lean In prize of the day for sure!

The advertisement is making waves on most social media channels and has obviously struck a chord with its audience. “Don’t let labels hold you back.” is the tagline of the spot and it’s a powerful message that we all need to internalise. Kudos to the Pantene Philippines team for driving home the message so convincingly!

Posted By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: December 17, 2013

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