Aishwarya’s Pathetic Excuse is Less Than Helpful in Defending the Racist Gesture
I was fuming from my ears when I saw this-
The visual, which reflects 17th century European paintings of noblewomen with their child servants is the new advertisement by Kalyan Jewellers. Aishwarya is the brand ambassador of Kalyan Jewellers.
I was jumping up and down of joy when I saw the Open Letter written by some logical and thoughtful Indians to bring India’s attention to the romanticisation of child slavery and racism proudly and shamelessly portrayed in this advert.
Then came an apology from Kalyan Jewellers:
“The creative was intended to present the royalty, timeless beauty and elegance. However, if we have inadvertently hurt the sentiments of any individual or organisation, we deeply regret the same. We have started the process of withdrawing this creative from our campaign”
Are you kidding me? The idea of a child slave in the background is royal, elegant and beautiful for these people is SHOCKING!
How would we be reacting if a British company made an advert like this with a poor Indian from the pre Independence era? Then we would all be ranting against the Western society this and that blame game… but when an Indian does it against another Indian…somehow it is OK…negligible and acceptable???
The part about hurting the sentiments of “individual or organization” is HILARIOUS! Yea…individuals like 2 billion Indians who reproduce human beings like that little boy, most of whom end up on the streets or barely make a living relying on a hard call centre job or laboring all day in scorching heat? Those individuals? Yea, no, no big deal…its alright… those Indians cannot afford your expensive jewellery so why bother about what they feel, right? You just need to worry about your : TARGET CUSTOMER
The elite class Indians who can buy your gold and silver while employing child servants at home and denying them their education, finances and a chance to even have a childhood while your children enjoy holidays in EUROPE and play the latest PS4 every night. Those expensive ad campaigns pay off after all, don’t they?
The good news is that the ad is now being withdrawn. And then came Aishwarya’s publicists’ statement:
“The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However, shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again.”
The Problem with the statement:
As an author, when someone approaches me for an interview or endorsement, my first step is to evaluate the product and then decide if it is something I am interested in and if it doesnt violate my basic values as a human being.
Being an actress of such high stature, and also being an educated woman, when this advert campaign was presented to her, didn’t she have the choice to NOT do it? No matter how much money was being paid, it isnt worth being associated to glamorouzing child slavery. But she didnt oppose it. SHE DID THE PHOTO SHOOT.
After the photo shoot, are you telling me that the final product was not shown to her for approval?
Because if it wasn’t, then that raises a whole new set of ethical and moral issues that Kalyan Jewellers must face because using a woman’s body with her no say in the matter is not how responsible media works.
Lets say, somehow she approved it because by ‘accident’ she missed the poor black child standing in the back…
Now that the advert is published and people react to it bringing Aishwarya’s attention towards the awfulness of this image, her statement is simply lame and pathetic.
The visual is supposed to sort of copy-paste the idea of the European paintaings in the 17th century. Now, any logical person would know that child slavery was very much a NORM in the 17th century, hence the offensive paintaings from that bygone era.
If the idea was just to capture the ‘look’ of that era, the jewelled up woman was doing that job perfectly. Showing a child labor is a message that either the society hasn’t changed since then and nullifies all the worldwide efforts agaisnt child slavery and racism. Or it means that Aiswarya, Klayan Jewellers and their creative team are still in that century while the rest of the world has progrssed.
And if showing child slavery is such a noble idea, why dont we start making adverts showing women being burnt to death (SATI SYSTEM) in men’s DEODARANT advertisements!?!
There is NO REMORSE whatsoever that knowingly or unknowingly she participated in such a blatant and ugly charade. It seems like Aishwarya is denying her mental faculties. Like she never went to a History class in school or never watch the news. It seems like she has never even been to a street in India other than the plaza’s and sky scrapers and villas of her family and friends.
The racism in her advert is DOUBLE.
It has the black vs white issue and it has the rich vs poor issue.
The truth is, for these rich elite class Indians, this sort of capitalistic racism is soooooooooo NORMAL that they trivialize it! Thats exactly what her statement has done; trivialized the matter without any responsibility for apology.
I am a feminist and a friend of mine pointed out that my view of this advert isn’t in line with feminism because I am supposed to stand up for women and against men.
SADLY, PEOPLE STILL DO NOT GET WHAT FEMINISM IS.
This advert is offensive in the sense of child exploitation and it still would be offensive if the boy was a grown man. Slavery and oppression of the poor based on color is very much recognized by feminism. In fact, if your feminism isn’t fat positive, anti racist, body positive, trans inclusive and pro choice… IT ISN’T FEMINISM AT ALL!
Im actually not surprised at this. My next door neighbours in India have 5 daughters and a son. The father is a government employee and they have a little girl called Reshma (a child servant) since last 13 years at their home. She was 7 when they moved in next to us. Apart from her name, I know nothing of her because the 5 crazy rich spoilt daughters are exactly like Cinderella’s step sisters who keep yelling at her and pile her up with chores.
Child slavery is very much prevalent in educated people’s homes.
At my home, we have a part time maid who is a grown woman and has two children. My mother pays this maid twice her salary on the condition that she will keep sending her kids to school since last 7 years. This of course is other than the help in kind.
This advert shows the true sentiments of Aishwarya, Kalyan Jewellers and their creative team, for whom its a thing of pride to show off a poor child.
But rich or poor, black or white, a child is a child.
So here is my suggestion:
AISHWARYA MUST TAKE A PICTURE WITH HER OWN CHILD IN THE BACKGROUND,
IN THAT VERY SAME ATTIRE
IN THAT VERY SAME POSE HOLDING THE LARGE UMBRELLA,
AND CIRCULATE IT AROUND THE COUNTRY…
Its just a photo after all, right???????????????