By Manasi Nene
We’re all really unfamiliar with how sexist advertisements can be. Ads that expect we’ll swoon over all men given the right deodorant, and nobody will bat an eyelid when our bodies are equated with a car. It’s not so hard to believe we can do better, right?
Bata, the shoe company – the Bata that we all grew up with – has just proved that it has missed the point entirely.
Check out this latest ad, which is a pinnacle in absurd sales tactics. It doesn’t really succeed in selling you anything but a very marketable idea of upper-class feminism, that is completely shut out from the bigger issues.
“Aren’t you glad you were born a woman?” asks the ad, while really pretty women show up against really pretty backgrounds. “You get to wear make-up, wear heels” it continues, completely ignoring that not only are these choices that woman can make, but also imposes the pressure of ‘looking good’ everyday, never mind that they’re very typical products that contribute towards a very typical idea of beauty. The whole point is that we should be comfortable in our bodies and with how we look, without being sold the idea that we should look a certain way.
At least we can “cry in public”, according to Bata. And when that fails, there’s retail therapy.
The ad fails to understand that as empowering as these things can be, they’re never the main source of empowerment. The point isn’t that women “can cry in public”, but it’s that we’re in a whole system of interlinked injustices that cannot be fixed by buying shoes. Not all of us have the luxury go on shopping sprees, citing retail therapy, and expect to come back to find everything fixed.
“Aren’t you glad you get free club entry?” asks Bata-lady. No, no we’re not. That is literally not the point of equality or feminism or common sense. The rules on stag entry were designed so that women don’t feel uncomfortable – thanks, but I’d rather pay the entry than get in free and deny others an opportunity to hang out at a club.
But hey, we’ve got cool shoes, I guess. Thanks, but no thanks, Bata.