In the new Macho Sporto ad featuring Vicky Kaushal, we see a female yoga instructor flirting with a man during her class. Being the eye candy in the class, the young instructor played by Rashmika Mandanna has Vicky hold longer poses and reach higher shelves to peek a look at his waist in a humorous manner. However, the thought behind the campaign is not frivolous.
The warm colours used in the ad, Vicky’s smile, and the girl’s expressions reflect an amiable world. In a way, it shows us the female gaze, her desire, without making anyone uncomfortable.
Ninad Umargekar, Chief Marketing Strategist at JG Hosiery Pvt Ltd shared that the team had been working on the campaign for nearly 6 months. The primary objective behind it is to normalize and legitimize the female gaze.
After studying media, one learns about the term "male gaze". Laura Mulvey in her 1970 essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema says that the camera treats male and female characters differently. The women are portrayed as objects of a heterosexual male desire and men are voyeurs who enjoy this experience.
The Feminist Film Theory, in general, claimed that as a result of the extent of male technicians and film-makers, films were a medium for men and by men. However, gaze of any kind should not make anyone uncomfortable.In this patriarchal set-up, one often felt is there also a female gaze?!
As the discourse around gender, equality and sexuality is widening, the world is slowly progressing. We are witnessing much-needed changes in various walks from corporate communication to the cinema.
During a conversation, Ninad said “Today’s woman is empowered and is confident of her sexuality. Society should be ok if she wants to gaze at a man and not judge her. Attraction is a natural thing and a female has as much right to enjoy it like a man. However, it should be expressed in the right way".
Recently, Ogilvy recreated Cadbury’s iconic ad from the 90s ad by reversing gender roles. This time, it was a woman about to hit a century, a female panel of judges, and a male cheering for her in the stands.
Similarly, innerwear brand campaigns have always portrayed conventional male-dominant imagery, but here it is a woman in lead, taking control and asserting her identity. “What a coincidence that Cadbury’s and we launch remakes of two iconic ads in Indian advertising history and both on role reversal”, said Ninad.