Stereotypic Advertisements

Social media in Ghana was on fire last two weeks because of a commercial that was run on national televisions about a drug. In the commercial, the main character, a married man in his early thirties was having lunch with a lady that looked about the same age. The man excused himself to go to the bathroom where he almost dropped the wedding band that he had been hiding in his pocket. When he rejoined the table, the camera showed the fingers of the lady to make it clear that the lady was not his wife because she had no ring. This lady was therefore projected as the side chick of this married man, who may or may not know the man was married.

When they got up to leave the restaurant, one could see that the lady was very slim and carried herself with a lot of confidence. After that scene, another scene was shown where a woman, also around the same age, was looking in the mirror and feeling miserable because she was plump. She kept on holding her tummy in and pressing against her sides to see what she would look like if she were slimmer. She heard a knock on her door and went to open the door for her best friend who had come in, to offer her some comfort. She exclaimed on seeing her best friend, commenting on how good she looked since she lost a bit of weight. The lady told her she was forced to make those adjustments because her husband was cheating on her with a woman who had smaller body features. She then told her friend that if she was ever going to hold her husband’s attention, she had to look leaner and went ahead to prescribe a medication.

The lady who appeared to be at her wits end and therefore totally in agreement with her friend, asked her visitor to quickly accompany her to the pharmacy shop so she can also purchase this wonder drug. Just before exiting her house, the camera showed a wedding picture, of the then thinner lady on her wedding day with her husband, who happens to be the man who was in the restaurant earlier with the lady with supermodel features. Upon entering the pharmacy shop, the two women were joined by the slim lady with supermodel features, who rattled about how men were falling at her feet because she is slim and how the drug can help them become slimmer and therefore, be able to keep their husbands.

In Ghana, advertisements have to be subjected to screening by the National Media Board before they are aired on televisions. The question therefore is how this advertisement with a singular aim of shaming women who look thicker, was allowed to successfully go through screening and show on televisions. What informed the decision of the board to pass this advertisement? Why would the company that manufactures this drug think that body shaming, is an easier way to get their drug sold?

This exposes the level of rot in our society today. A society that tags someone as beautiful or ugly because of their size. A society that thinks that thicker women are incapable of holding their husbands attention because they are too big. A society that paints men to be only interested in the size of their women. A society that makes it okay for a woman to be involved with another woman’s husband. A society that thinks it is okay for such an advertisement to be run on national televisions for the youth to be exposed to such behavior. I wonder what next the media will be allowed to feed consumers…..

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