Thursday, December 20, 2007

Next stop on Amnesty International's 'Solving The World's Problems Through Advertising' Expo: female feticide in India.

(click ad to read copy and examine the fake bullet hole)
After stops in Beijing, Iraq and Africa, Amnesty's 2007 magical marketing tour visits the second most populous country on Earth. Graphic! For those of you unaware, the barbaric act of killing female fetuses to control population is still alarmingly widespread in India (maybe more Kama Sutra condom ads would help). Noteworthy that an Austrian agency (Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann) produced this ad. Same question as with the AI female genital mutilation ad: effective visual or not? Offensive? (image via)

7 Comments:

Blogger Hops said...

I'm confused by all the mixed up symbolism. Is that supposed to be a bindi?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous gr said...

Oh, so that's Indian like "dot", then?

By which I mean that I'm pretty sure it's always offensive to identify a woman as Indian by way of nothing but the presence of a bindi. Especially since plenty Indian women aren't Hindu, plenty of the Hindu ones aren't married (though I guess some unmarried people wear bindi now), and plenty of married Hindu women who've never set foot in India wear bindi.

12:45 PM  
OpenID histrogeek said...

In general I'd say AI ads would be offensive if they are effective, given the subject matter. In this case, I'm less sure because the bullet hole looks so much like a bindi. I don't know enough about the cultural resonance of the bindi to know if it would be seen as alienatingly sacreligous or an effective appropriation of a cultural/religious symbol (such as uses of crosses or mangers to emphasize torure or poverty).
It's a tricky call.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Erin Bradley said...

I agree with histrogeek that it's a tricky call.

I think it's a beutiful ad. And sometimes you have to sacrifice a few cultural nuances for the sake of messaging, impact, and clarity.

That said, I'm saying that as a Caucasian living in America. I don't have the same perspective as someone more directly affected.

I could see where they might think it's offensive.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For those of you unaware, the barbaric act of killing female fetuses to control population is still alarmingly widespread in India."
That's incorrect.The reason for female foeticide is preference for a male child and not population control(??). And also all the more sickening.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Erin Bradley said...

Well in an indirect way, it *is* population control, since some families would keep having babies until they had a boy. Hence, China's "one-child (but you can try for another if you have some shitty old girl)" policy.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous August said...

@ gr- I think the better argument is that not only Indian women wear bindi. Similar...well, dots are worn in several other South Asian countries.

Without the, shall we say, "mark of the East", how many people would have thought that this woman was Latina, or Israelian, etc?

7:03 PM  

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