FEMINIST FRIDAY: Aamir Khan’s Feminist Commercial & Nickelodeon’s ‘Little Ballers of Indiana’

YAAASSS! It’s Feminist Friday, and we’re excited to share with our readers the videos we are enjoying right now. We’re proud to day this is another international version, spanning 3 countries: India, the US and the UK. First up, a commercial starring Bollywood actor Aamir Khan who is as well know for his leading roles and cult-favorite films, as he is for his advocacy for gender equality both on and off the screen.

One of his most recent films was ‘Dangal’, a movie based on a true story about a former wrestling champion who trained his two daughters to follow in his footsteps and defy social and cultural norms for girls. In the spirit of the conversations surrounding the film, Aamir was featured in a recent commercial for Star Plus, which continued the important message of subverting stereotypical gender expectations for girls, as well as boys.

He plays sweet shop owner Gurdeep Singh, who is seen in conversation with a very complimentary customers. The success of the shop is not lost on the male customer, who commends Mr. Singh on his “sons” who are clearly doing a great job after Gurdeep says his children have been helping him.

The video is clearly striking the right tone for challenging mindsets toward women in India. Watch what happens when the customer learns those “children” are in fact girls, and the subsequent message stated at the end of the video:

Following in the footsteps of a number of other brands which are starting to adopt various elements of the female empowerment movement, Lancome UK have decided to forego using the tradition format of celebrities and supermodels for their latest campaign promoting a new range of foundations.

Ultra Wear, now available in 40 shades, was the backdrop to the ‘My Shade, My Power’ short film featuring 40 women from a range of industries. They include women of color, differently-abled women, different age groups and different body types.

Some of the women include British-Indian director of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ Gurinder Chadha, civil engineer Joanne Sui, Olympic cycling champion Laura Kenny, innovator and founder of Nubian Skin, Ade Hassan, and dancer Oti Mabuse. Each woman talks about their source of power, “storytelling”, “neuroscience”, “engineering”, “dancing”, etc, and shares what shade of foundation suits their skin.

While it is always a fine line to promote a major for-profit brand who are trying to appeal to a wider female audience, and criticisms of capitalistic notions of faux feminism falling on deaf ears if the brand and company are not taking major strides for equality elsewhere throughout their workforce, it is important for us as consumers and media creators to hold them accountable to their mission.

It also shows how the voices of everyday people demanding a disruption in such a normally narrow-minded beauty market is clearly making its mark on powerful executives. If you can’t be what you can’t see, at the very least we’re delighted to see a much wider range of role models and women being held up as an ideal of beauty, not only for their physicality, but also for what they have to offer the world.

Our final video is a trailer to an awesome 3-part documentary series recently shown on Nickelodeon called ‘Little Ballers Indiana’. This really is a showcase of how to foster female empowerment at a local level, specifically through sports. The series featured WNBA star Skylar Diggins, who currently plays for the Dallas Wings, returning to her home town.

Growing up, her dad was her coach and helped her get to where she is today. Now she gets to see him coaching the next generation of WNBA stars and do her part to share what she learned in her early basketball career. Audiences get to meet six girls, Amiyah Reynolds, Mila Reynolds, Alycia Patterson, Bria Brown, Ryin Ott, and Kash Biffle, who play for Skylar’s Amateur Athletic Union team: the Sky Digg Ballers.

It’s about more than just basketball and shooting for a professional career. Throughout the show we see the girls, who all come from a range of different backgrounds, learn about teamwork, leadership, respect, and solidarity with other girls. There are so many studies which outline the social, physical and mental benefits for girls who participate in team sports from a young age, and with a current emphasis on the need for equal pay and greater representation at the professional level, this series comes at an important time in our culture.


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