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Role inversion

Extract from a wonderful article published at 

Role inversion highlights men acting “out of script” to improvise a new way of assuming inherited, highly codified familial roles. In these ads, Indian men, like their western counterparts, appear to have grown weary of the limiting script and role that’s been passed down to them.

The Ariel detergent ad opens with an older gentleman sitting at a dinner table, observing his grown daughter performing a dizzying array of evening tasks while her husband sits watching television, calling out for his evening tea, oblivious to her multi-tasking a work call, preparing dinner, and supervising kids’ homework.

Her father’s off-screen voice reads a “Dear Daughter” letter in Hindi as he witnesses the gaping disparity of her duties during the unpaid portion of her work day. Stunned by the pressures his “baby girl” is facing, the lamenting dad acknowledges his direct responsibility for this state of affairs.

Admitting that he provided the example that she internalised, the dad resolves to change this once he’s back home with mom, confiding that he is “so very sorry” for not having provided a different role model.

Cut to the next scene and dad is loading the machine with his dirty laundry, much to mom’s surprise, and the viewer is left with Ariel’s parting slogan “Share the load” because “why should laundry be a mother’s job”?


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