In the increasingly long line of advertising campaigns that appear eager to recognize women's "sacrifices" in an attempt to sound progressive, comes the "Sunday is her Holiday" campaign by General entertainment channel, Colors TV.
The video shows three women - an employed woman with two small children, a pregnant woman, and a grandmother. The men in their lives look on as the women take care of the housework, childcare, sundry jobs and profession. And then, because they realize that the women in their lives are overworked and exhausted on an everyday basis and have no time for themselves, the men decide to give them Sundays off.
I'm sure this "benevolence" will warm the hearts of a lot of people - after all, what's making an omelet four days a month if it will keep a slave smiling for the rest of the time as she does your laundry, cooks your meals, and takes care of the children she had with you?
The problem with campaigns such as this one and others is that they aim to make men and women happy about the highly skewed gendered division of labour. In simple words, they make you feel sunshiney about gender injustice.
The soulful man singing about the hardworking woman and the hardworking woman smiling like an angel (without a hair out of place) lull us into thinking that this is how it was meant to be from the beginning of time. That all that the woman does is HER work and that HIS work is only to watch. This is why we're supposed to feel "touched" when he makes an omelet that even a six-year-old would be able to make.
Yes, acknowledging that women have it hard is important. But the acknowledgment should come with an attitudinal change that reflects in everyday life. Not a "special" gesture made once in a while. What women need is not praise for doing it all but support that ensures they don't have to do it all.
Why get so analytical about an advertisement? After all, isn't this reality? Firstly, advertising is anything but reality - do you really think a man spraying Axe Effect all over himself will result in ladies shooting out of glass buildings and throwing themselves at him? And it is because advertising is NOT based on reality that the women in the Colors TV campaign look so pleasant despite doing it all.
Secondly, advertising is about selling aspiration. That is, advertisers show you a world that is SO awesome and tell you that this product/campaign/idea will get you there. Is this lazy model of benevolent sexism the aspiration we're supposed to look up to?
Lastly, not only is this campaign offensive to women, it also portrays men as insensitive, selfish beings who're incapable of doing things that all fully functional adults should be capable of doing. It's offensive to the many fathers and husbands who do share the load on an everyday basis without making a song and dance about it. Men who do it because it's the right thing to do and not as a favour.
Sunday can be everyone's holiday if the rest of the week belongs to everyone, too.
Note: The views expressed are personal opinions of the author.