Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

The Sun and Satellite: A Study of Gender Relations in Television Advertisements and its Relationship to the Position of Women in Indian Households


Chetna Bhatia and Madhu Deep Singh

While the contemporary Indian feminists are busy in on-street protests and campaigns regarding woman’s mobility, what is going on inside the Indian households assumes more importance due to its major role in shaping the attitudes and outlook of men and women participating in such events. Advertisements, in a globalized India, act as a major platform for selling the products of MNC’s. The brain surgeons sitting in ad agencies position various products by targeting Indian families and portraying images of their values, patterns of relationship and space shared by the members. And television being a living room mass medium with high reach multiplies its scope of touching different aspects of personal and public life of the families. Gender relations are one of them. Previous studies in this field have been confined to sex roles, stereotypes and portrayal of women as a mother, wife and working lady in the ads. This paper attempts to study the patterns of gender relations portrayed in television advertisements and its relationship to the current positon of women in Indian households. The study is undertaken with broader reference to the division of labor, decision-making, help, advice, mobility and interpersonal communication between male and female partners in the family. Method of content analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, was used to analyze 500 Hindi television advertisements using codes based on these four parameters. For the second part, a survey was conducted from 500 respondents in the metropolitan capital city of Delhi. The questionnaire listed various tasks and decisions of routine family life on a nominal scale. Another Section contained attitudinal statements about women with reference to various roles and decisions involved in domestic, financial and outdoor situations between husband and wife. The agreement of respondents was measured using 5-point Likert Scale. It was found that the position of Indian women in the capital city is like a satellite which depends on the Sun to receive light. And the same pattern is reflected in television advertisements. It was concluded that with the motive of increasing their sales, advertisers are trying to encourage anti-feminist mindset by portraying male dominance in both public and private spaces of the society


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