Visual Curation (Cultural)

This video is a feminist advertisement by Pantene Philippines to inspire women to be confident and to embrace individuality. The tagline of the advertisement: “Be strong and shine”, encourages women to not subscribe to gender stereotypes and biases as well as bringing to light the problem of sexism.

In the video, both men and women do identical things but as a result of gender stereotyping, they are labelled differently. For instance, a man giving a speech is regarded as ‘persuasive’ but a woman is labelled as ‘pushy’. Other labels that the women have are ‘bossy’, ‘selfish’, ‘vain’ and ‘show-off’. Each of these labels have a negative connotation to it and it highlights gender inequality in society today. I feel that it is also a call to action for societies to address the problem of stereotyping women.

The irony of this advertisement is that while it is against sexism, it is sexist in nature because it ignores the fact that sexism affects men as well. It perpetuates this by only labeling men with terms that have positive connotation like ‘neat’, ‘persuasive’, ‘smooth’ and ‘dedicated’.

This digitally illustrated poster on gender stereotyping has many signs. Firstly, there is an iconic sign in the form of the silhouette of the male and female, who are joined together. They are colour coded; the male is pink while the female is blue, colours normally attributed to the opposite gender. Each gender is surrounded by a sea of words normally attributed to the gender. For example, men are labelled as ‘tough’, ‘dominant’, ‘physical’ and ‘jock’ while women are commonly labelled as ‘soft’, ‘vain’, ‘sensitive’ and ‘submissive’.

Colouring the man pink and putting him in a sea of blue symbolizes that men can have feminine characteristics as well. For instance, men can be ‘sweet’ and ‘emotional’ as much as women can. Vice versa, women can have masculine characteristics as well; ‘competitive’ and ‘messy’.

Additionally, there is a symbolic sign in the form of the equilateral triangle in the middle of the figure. In geometry, an equilateral triangle is a triangle in which all three sides are equal. The presence of the equilateral triangle in the figure represents that despite gender and all the various labels associated with it, everyone is equal inside and no one should be treated any differently.


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