On December 6, 2020, Men’s Day Out came across a digital Ad by Lionsgate Play India, that had been recently launched. The advertisement featuring Late Actor Sushant Singh Rapjput’s last co-star Sanjana Sanghi seemed to have less concept and more of humiliation for the male protagonist.
Here’s the Ad and then the report:
▪️ An official complaint will be sent soon to @ascionline
▪️ No one will get away anymore by mocking Men being slapped
— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) December 6, 2020
The Ad showcased Sanghi slapping her partner eight times and ending the same saying “We are going to watch the 8th show on the App”.
At the immediate first look of the advert, the concept seemed nothing but only promoting domestic violence against men. The anti-male Ad was also made to pass off as humour where the man was made to look dumb, someone who accepted being verbally and physically dominated by his female partner and largely an accepted norm trying to project “women empowerment by hating men”.
The Ad posted on our platforms started getting comments, where both men as well women failed to find anything funny in the conceptualisation of the script.
Infact, MDO also posed a question whether a reverse scenario – where a man slapped a woman eight times – would have even got clearance from authorities?
— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) December 6, 2020
While MDO registered an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), we also requested all our readers to initiate the same from their end. Several activists and also many who are not directly associated with Men’s Rights Movement sent their respective official complaints calling out the hypocrisy of Ad makers while projecting the male gender.
ASCI Takes Note
Due to a strong backlash on the said advertisement, ASCI acknowledged our grievance and demanded a response from the ad agency on the same.
Even before there was any official response from the agency, the female protagonist Sanjana Sanghi, deleted the same from her Instagram account by December 7.
Update | #SanjanaSanghi has deleted this Ad from her Instagram account
— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) December 7, 2020
On December 19, MDO received an official response from the ASCI confirming that the Ad makers that agreed to withdraw the Anti-Male ad from all platforms. The response read as follows:
Dear Arnaz Hathiram (Founder – MDO),
Re: 2012-C.2334 – Your complaint regarding an advertisement of “Lionsgate India-Lionsgate Play”
Further to our email dated December 07, 2020, we are pleased to inform you that the advertiser has agreed to withdraw the advertisement in its current form, across all media.
If you continue to see the advertisement beyond December 18, 2020, kindly bring the same to our attention.
Thank you for having referred this complaint to us.
Assuring you of our services in the pursuit of Self-Regulation in Advertising.
UPDATE | “Advertiser has agreed to withdraw the advertisement in its current form, across all media”
Thank you @ascionline – However, it would have been appreciated if @lionsgateplayIN tendered an apology projecting Men in such poor light. #MenToo #SpeakUpMen @poojabeditweets https://t.co/ZzbWNGPF01 pic.twitter.com/5HXldCnzL3
— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) December 19, 2020
Are Activists Fair To Call Out This Ad Or Was This Just An Exaggeration?
Possibly a decade ago, the above Ad would have not even been noticed from a Gender perspective. There were times when any creative output could be open to opinions but not a backlash where Ad/Filmmakers would be forced to amend or modify their content.
However, with the advent of social media, it becomes critical to observe and understand the mindset of all Genders and when Ad makers or public figures do succumb to the strong counter blast that calls out sexism, misogyny and patriarchy, it is only fair that they maintain a healthy projection of #MenToo.
Some recent campaigns that were run on social media calling out ‘Sexist’ ads:
- In July 2020, a communications strategy consultant, Karthik Srinivasan, called out Scotch-Brite on LinkedIn after his friend pointed out their sexist logo featuring a woman with a bindi on all of their products except a lint roller. The Ad was termed as ‘Regressive’.
- In April 2020, Actor Kartik Aryan shared the video on Instagram and captioned it hilariously, “Subah Utho Nahao Pito So Jao #QuarantineLife #KokiToki.” It showed sister Kritika playing a prank with Kartik, who ended up getting slapped by her after falling in her trap. Immediately, next day Kartik Aaryan had to delete the video after netizens slammed him for promoting domestic violence
- Taapse Pannu and Anubhav Sinhaeven made a 150 minute saga on how women should walk out of marriage on one slap. But the same flag bearers of domestic violence on women go completely mum when a man is slapped eight times and the Ad passes off as humour. Read our detailed Thappad review from husband’s side here.
- One cannot forget the kind of criticism ushered on Shahid Kapoor’s Kabir Singh for being a dominating and ‘abusive’ partner. Endless articles were written on toxic masculinity and patriarchy, but sadly Sanjana Sanghi is hailed as empowered when genders are reversed.
No, we are surely not saying tit for tat, or trying to justify violence against women by calling out violence against men. However, why should the term ‘Sexism’ be only synonymous to the female gender? Every equal rights champion should be equally vocal against any abuse of either genders. Its high time….
Mindset of Showing Men as Foolish, Dominated by Women, Mules, Losers, etc…….IS NOT EMPOWERMENT FOR WOMEN…
— Arnaz Hathiram (@ArnazHathiram) December 19, 2020
The larger issue here is not really about an Ad, but the fact that India as a country still does not recognise Domestic Violence/Abuse Against Men as a crime. We, in 2020, still want to live with the narrative that the Men are the eternal perpetrators of abuse and women are the only victims of domestic crimes.
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