‘Mooch nahi to kuch nahi’. Indian men, traditionally, grow up believing moustache is the most potent symbol of masculinity. In fact, shaving off the moustache is considered inauspicious even by Hindus, especially in north India.
However, a new campaign by a multi-national brand of safety razors has launched a tirade against facial hair that “communicates a heroic image of the independent, willing and able to do manly things”.
Gillette, a brand owned by Procter and Gamble, launched a Women Against Lazy Stubble (WALS) advertisement featuring Bollywood hotties Mugdha Godse, Neha Dhupia and Minissha Lamba urging women to encourage their men to get rid of facial hair. Men grow stubble just out of their laziness, the campaign said.
Not everybody is amused. “The advertisement is derogatory and tantamount to domestic violence against men,” said Swarup Sarkar, coordinator of the NGO Save Family Foundation (SFF), who is spearheading the movement against Gillette’s promotional feature.
Another NGO affiliated to SFF, All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA), celebrated December 7 as the National Stubble Day and has sought a public apology from the company. “We want Gillette to withdraw the advertisement and furnish an apology in all national dailies. The advertisement is sexist in nature and calls men lazy for not shaving everyday,” said Virag Dhulia, founding member of AIMWA from Bangalore.
AIMWA has also sought an apology from the brand ambassadors of the advertisement campaign, Bollywood stars Mugdha Godse, Minnisha Lamba and Neha Dhupia, for endorsing it. “A company has decided to humiliate men for not shaving everyday. Tomorrow it will be for some other reason. Such campaigns basically target individual choice and freedom. We need to uproot this menace,” said Dhulia.
According to the data provided by SFF and AIMWA, more than 3000 men from all over the country have joined the protest campaign and followed the National Stubble Day. “The number is increasing by the day and we are informing our members across the world to lend their support to the protest,” said Sarkar. “Corporates, by resorting to such stupid advertisements, are promoting disharmony in family life. They portray all men in a derogatory manner. Shaving should be a natural choice for men and it has nothing to do with them being lazy,” he added.
|Take your pick: The primitive man did not shave and what if Gillette brand ambassadors would have kept the stubble|
Dhulia added the protest will continue till the advertisements are discontinued and the NGO might take legal recourse, if the company fails to address their demands. “The Gillette website promotes the campaign by using a tagline called Women on War Path. What kind of language is this? They are using words and phrases to pull down men,” he said.
The message that Women Against Lazy Stubble intends to spread among men are:
Till men don’t shave, they won’t co-operate.
Now that the comfort of Gillette Mach 3 is affordable, there are no more excuses to not be shaving.
If men don’t shave, they shouldn’t expect women to groom themselves either.
Number of men reportedly against the Gillette campaign
|The others who erred|
|SFF and AIMWA have earlier raised their voices too against corporate houses for presenting men in a derogatory way. “Earlier Kitply, ICICI Lombard and Hindustan Lever had used bad language against men while promoting their products. In an advertisement used by ICICI Lombard, a wife was shown calling her husband a fool for not buying a particular insurance policy. The company discontinued the ad after we protested,” said Swarup Sarkar of Save Family Foundation.
A similar complaint was registered against Hindustan Level for promoting Ponds cold cream where the advertisement suggested if a woman uses the cream it will not only help her get rid of facial spots but also domestic violence.
|Evolution will do away with debate and stubble|
|Latest research has suggested that organs as well as physical features that humans don’t put to use daily may go away in coming generations due to evolutionary pressure. Big daddy of evolutionary sciences Charles Darwin had argued that humans carry some organs (like the tail bone, ear pinna etc) that are evidence of evolution and represent a function that was once necessary for survival, but over the time with the growth of a species these were rendered useless.
Taking forward his theory, scientists in the UK had said that hair that was once necessary to keep humans warm in the early stages of evolution, will go away eventually as the species has now found alternative ways for that function. So, practically they predicted that future humans would be born without body hair. The debate over the stubble would perhaps die a natural death.