How Star TV Is Balancing The Gender Debate – Views From Prabhakar

While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

However the official statistics tell us there is still a long way to go.

Bridging the Gender Gap with Motherhood

But in a world where we hear some gender biased statements almost every day, even from a developed country like the US, and unfortunately even through its presidential elections, the new Star TV campaign comes like a breath of fresh air. With cricket stars Dhoni, Virat & Ajinkya proudly wearing their mothers’ names on their jersey instead of their own names or father’s surnames, they acknowledge the fact that they owe their identity as much to their mother as their father. The commercials sign off with the theme ‘Nayi Soch’.

 

Star India challenges androcentrism and societal stereotypes that hold women back, not just through its new shows but also through a brand initiative along with BCCI, as the Indian cricket team sponsor. Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director Star India says “We at Star India are very happy to partner with BCCI for an iconic brand initiative of “Nayi Soch.” Star Plus has been a lighthouse brand for women. We have always put women first, told their stories, and are now set to take it to the next level – by challenging orthodoxy and stereotypes that come in the way of progress for women.”

The TV campaign is being extended very interestingly on social media. Tweet with #NayiSoch and you will be get an instant reply from Star, with a promo where you can have your mother’s name inscribed on your jersey.

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In addition the campaign makes great marketing sense for the brand since a large portion of their viewers are women.

Overcoming a history of Androcentrism

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Androcentrism is the practice of placing male human beings either consciously or unconsciously or the masculine point of view at the centre of one’s world view. Its a societal fixation on masculinity.

Unfortunately the history of man has been dividing tasks into male and female. So we grow up with fixed notions about our gender. On how we should behave. On what professions we should pursue. Unfortunately androcentrism is so deep that it also entered our language at an early stage in our evolution and development. ‘Hey Guys’ and ‘Dear Sirs’ is only a signal of androcentrism on the superficial outer crust of language. Many Latin-based languages in the world are also male-centric. For instance, in Spanish the word padres (plural of ‘father’) means ‘parents’, abuelos (plural of ‘grandfather’) means ‘grandparents’, and chicos means either ‘boys’ or ‘children’. Does that partly explain the male dominance of Latino populations? Maybe. But language biases notwithstanding, India is hardly far behind.

With that kind of weight in our history, to looking at everything from a male point of view, the Star TV Campaign is an invaluable addition to bring the balance back into the gender debate.

And there is very deep insight in the Star TV campaign. After all don’t we all forget to thank our mothers as often as we should?

 

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About the Author:

Prabhakar Mundkur is an ad veteran with over 35 years of experience in Advertising and Marketing. He works as an independent consultant and is also Chief Mentor with Percept H. All previous posts of Prabhakar can be found here.

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