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GENDER ROLES: MAGGI 2018 ADVERT – CONTROVERSIAL OR NOT?

Just when we were beginning to get over the controversial advert pulled by Nike earlier this year featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, where he always knelt as the national anthem played before each game, a sign of his protest against racial injustice and police brutality, Nestle seems to be on the hot seat now for their latest Maggi advert.

It is no secret that television commercials have a way of influencing society hence its highly sensitive nature. While most business use adverts as a means of promoting their businesses and creating awareness for the general public, the way and manner in which it is presented matters a lot.

After all, the public you are creating awareness for, are also your prospective consumers or customers. So you would want to be in their good books. Therefore, the need for caution when creating an ad campaign.

Maggi’s latest commercial has come under attack as it is somewhat seen as being misogynistic due to the way the product was presented. In this advert, wherein the new Maggi Naija Pot cubes were introduced. The ad carefully shows a 9-5 woman who proudly identifies as a boss, family magnet, foodie and a slayer and, goes home to ensure that dinner is set on time for her family. The advert ends with the words, “With MAGGI, Every Woman is a Star.”

In this era and most importantly, this part of the world where gender equality and women empowerment are still trying to gain a strong foothold, presenting the woman as the one to do “everything” is touchy to most. And making matters worse is the fact that two African heads of state have stated that the kitchen is for the woman.

This gives off the feeling that Maggi is part of the stereotyping of gender roles. To some extent, some Nigerians see no harm in the advert because it portrays the woman as a multitasker who slays, works and can still take care of the home. On another note, many have argued that the reality is different.

When Megan Markle who is now the Duchess of Sussex was 11 years old, she wrote a letter Procter & Gamble, the manufacturers of Ivory dishwasher soap. The advert’s voice over said, “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” Meghan was interviewed and she said, “I don’t think it’s right for children to grow up thinking these things, that mum does everything.” The advert was changed to “people all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

Bringing it home to Nigeria, the case is, however, very different.

In comparison, the Knorr advert which shows both a man and a woman cooking and having fun while at it, seems to be more favourably accepted, giving off the feeling that no specific role is suited for any specific gender. Men can cook. Women can fix cars.

A home is built by both man and woman doing things together in love. Hence Knorr ends with the words, “rich flavour brings people together”.

For a Twitter user Engoz, “This is the most unrealistic advert ever. A ‘Well-packaged suffering’. So the nonsense you people sold to our mothers’ generation is not enough? The only credible ‘difference’ you can make is for Nigerian men to COOK and make themselves exceptionally USEFUL in the home.”

For the fact that Africa, or bringing it closer home, Nigeria is a country still very much under the influence of culture and religion, the women millennials are not going to just let this slide. No more glorifying suffering under the name of being a woman or wife.

There is a call for the redefinition of gender roles in Africa as a whole. Couples are meant to help each other out. That is where the love is.

While some do not see anything wrong with the Maggi advert, a lot argue that there is everything wrong with it. What is your take?

PHOTO CREDIT: ThisisAfrica




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