I WAS FORCED to reflect on how women and men are portrayed in advertisements as part of a training exercise, which to my surprise, was very thought provoking when looked at critically. The portrayal of women and men in an advertisement seems to depend on what is being sold, the target audience and the overall message they want to send to the public. Take for instance the:
‘White Oak Commercial – When it pours you reign’
They showed both men and women seemingly in a party-type environment enjoying alcohol (White Oak Rum). The men are fully clothed and the women have a typical ‘fashion model look’ in scanty clothing. It was one of those very stereotypical depictions of women as a sex symbol. There is notion across the world that ‘sex sells’ and the media are responsible for portraying and perpetuating this. It has been propagated to the extent where it has become the norm for advertising agencies to use women in demeaning portrayals to sell their products. The image that society has of a man, has not been changed in that commercial but maintained. Overall, the commercial does not show responsible behaviour.
By the time I was old enough to understand who I am as a woman, I took a moral stand and have refused to watch BET and MTV on television. I have often wondered what value can come from having almost naked women doing degrading sexual acts in music videos. And why are we not hearing all these gender groups and women’s rights group making a louder call to refuse these types of portrayals on television. There are little girls who watch these portrayals and imitate these actions. I consider these television networks depict a double standard. On one hand they promote a culture of empowerment and equality but on the other hand they promote and support the degrading of women. Men in these videos are shown as the ones in control and having the power and they often time demonstrate over the women. In the area of gender equality, there are more roads to be paved.
Food/House/Family oriented type advertising
I have often seen commercials that advertise a particular brand of seasoning for food. They always show a woman cooking in the kitchen and the man walking in and smelling the pot, or hugging the woman or sitting waiting for the food to be served to him. That clearly sends a subliminal message to the society that is fed into young impressionable minds. It sends a message that this is how it should be. Even though times have changed, the media has not graduated from showing women and men in traditional roles. These roles may have been fine for my grandparents and the generations before, but certainly not now. Women have been liberalised from these roles a long time ago, but the media, in many cases have failed to get on board. Men can be in the kitchen too and take care of households. There are single parent families headed by men too.
Recommendations coming out of the Beijing Platform for Action are the ones that I endorse. It is time to get away from stereotypical roles of men and women. It is time for the media to portray the reality, which is a proper representation of both men and women as equals. There definitely needs to be an enacted policy, a binding policy that is enforced; going beyond the different colours of paper. Too many decisions being made at the top that will affect all are being dominated by one group of the whole. There needs to be balance in the contributions made in the media forums. The potential, power and effectiveness of advocacy are often times underestimated and understated so that other can advance their own agendas. Groups at all levels need to become part of the worldwide champion for change in this area. The media plays a very important and significant role in shaping the way people think, act, live and treat others. It has over the years been very unkind to women (which is putting it nicely). There needs to be change and it must first start with how we see and value ourselves as a man and a woman and then how we (women and men) want to be seen and portrayed by the world and making a stand.
Share your thoughts!
SHE MAKES the best cou-cou and flying fish. Nobody comes close to her ackee and salt fish. Her roti is to die for.
Mothers across the world look forward to the second Sunday of each May, if for no other reason than the chance to hang up their aprons and let somebody else do the nurturing for once, and Caribbean mums are no exception.
As movers and shakers in the world of work, in a career that may be just as demanding as their partners’, many Caribbean women routinely balance work outside the home with caring for the children, cooking, laundry, hair braiding, homework duty, cleaning … the list is endless. Not to be forgotten is the stay-at-home Mum, whose work is never done.
Although more men appear to be less adverse to assisting with housework and child rearing than ever before, the majority of the day-to-day tasks of running a household still fall squarely on Mummy. Thankfully, the convenience of household inventions and appliances have combined to make her task an easier one.
Even so, a toaster oven or a coffee maker is NOT a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift, even for those mothers who look to cook and spend time in the kitchen. Now is the time to remind the ladies in your lives that their value extends much further than the chores they do.
Here are a few ideas to pamper Mum on her special day:
- Kick off the weekend festivities by sending flowers or a fruit basket to her work place with a note of appreciation.
- Treat her to a visit to a spa. Nobody who spends that much time on their feet will say no to a pedicure.
- Take her shopping for a new outfit. Pay for it.
- Book lunch for the family at a restaurant, or if you are a firm do-it-your-selfer, prepare it at home and serve her in grand style.
- Surprise her with a video in which you tell her how much she means to you. This may be especially useful to families separated by distance.
- Listen to her advice. Honour her by raising your own children with the values she imparted.
- Whatever you choose to do, let the outpouring of love and support continue to flow for mum long after Mother’s Day has passed. That truly is the greatest gift you could give her.
I CAME UPON a dating website recently, offering subscribers the chance to meet thousands of other Caribbean singles. Overcome by curiosity, I clicked through the photos of my regional brothers and sisters, sure that only the most desperate of persons would willingly sign up to the site.
To my surprise, some of the featured photos were quite attractive, a number of the subscribers claimed to be seeking friendships, with the possibility of them leading to more meaningful relationships, even to marriage. Male and female subscribers of varying nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, from age 18 and up, (many of them over 40) appeared to be looking for love.
Could it be that we who now spend so much time online, checking our e-mail, chatting with friends and reading reviews, not to forget making bill payments, shopping, downloading, (and on and on…), have also added finding the man/woman of our dreams to the list of things we do at our computers?
Social networks like Facebook and Hi-5 make it possible to check out and possibly meet more persons in your area than one might at a traditional social gathering. Who knows - after chatting with prospects online, they might also save daters the awkwardness of a first-date-gone-bad (maybe even scary!) situation.
It is certainly handy to have a database at your fingertips with dozens of gals and guys you can either eliminate or accept on the basis of age, looks, personal likes/dislikes, religious and educational background, location, etc. It’s like having your own dating agency!
On the flip side, (and as is the case in all relationships) there is the question of honesty and trust. How tempting it must be to exaggerate one’s physical or personal qualities, stretch the truth about one’s living arrangements (“no, I don’t still live with my parents”), number of children, or even (gasp!) current relationships. With a few well-chosen words, a cute photo and a snazzy profile, the dullest person can be transformed into Prince/Princess Charming. That said - can we really trust the people we meet online?
I‘ve had the “privilege” of closely observing online daters some years ago. A schoolmate enjoyed a long-distance relationship for about two years with a US citizen, while still a college student in the Caribbean. The photo which he emailed to my friend proclaimed him a heart-throb, and as he explained, he was also a part-time model.
After a month or two, my friend declared she and her long-distance beau were in love. Their daily emails and MSN chat sessions were supplemented by phone calls; birthdays and holidays were marked by gifts of perfume, jewellery and cassette tapes featuring her favourite music (pre-CD player era). It was sweet and giddily romantic….while it lasted.
Scheduled at last for a visit, her beau appeared to slide off the face of the earth - he quit responding to her emails and faded into oblivion. I never did hear about him again. Did that deter my friend from online dating? Bless her soul, it did not. She is now married to another guy she subsequently snagged online.
The reality, however, is that not everyone is looking to acquire a soul mate. Some people declare that they are just looking for a “fun” time – no strings attached. That’s fine, as long as you desire this as well. Otherwise, you could fall victim to any number of sweet-talking, utterly unscrupulous characters.
What’s your take on online dating? Fool-hardy or fabulous?
I am sure by now most Barbadians if not all have heard of FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE and TWITTER. These are all examples of social media which is becoming, if it’s not already our most dominant form of communication on the web.
You may be asking yourself what do these have to do with my business. In today’s fast pace business environment we need to be always exploring new and creative ways of reach our customers, and social media is now becoming a must in 2010. For example, FACEBOOK has well over 250 million members, yes that is correct!
The reach of social media is massive and chances are your competitors are already doing it or considering the option.
One thing to remember is that social media marketing is not a guaranteed success for your business but should be incorporated with traditional marketing approaches to completely connect your brand with your customers.
Have you been using any form of social media in your business? How has it been working for you?
Yes!!!!!!! I never thought I would be so happy to say it rained today in Barbados
. For the first time in months I was able to use my windscreen wipers for water other than dew
. Even though it was not a significant downpour it was enough revive the spirits of Barbados and life the heads of many drooping plants.
Barbados has been experiencing a drought for some time now and it has been a while since rain it really rained.
The drought has significantly affected the water supply in several parishes but fortunately for me I have not yet had to the pleasure for the year of fetching water from the “stand pipe” or water truck which is affectionately known to Barbadian as “The Zeppelin”.
Oh the memories, it was literally just a couple years back that my arms were literally stretched from bringing so many buckets of water. I can even remember enjoying a good country bath at the local neighborhood “Stand Pipe”.
Armed with nothing but a towel and a bar I enjoyed my short stints there as prying eyes always reinforced the fact that you were not in the comfort of your own home. These are all priceless memory that I wouldn’t trade for anything!