Scotch-Brite To Change Its Sexist Logo Of A Woman Wearing A Bindi After Being Called Out For It. Brands Are Finally Being Held Accountable
While we are in the middle of a pandemic, the deeply rooted misogyny is our system is becoming even more evident. Domestic violence, child marriage and femicide have increased but that’s not all. As we work from home, women are also undergoing additional pressure of household duties. With domestic help mostly unavailable, women are forced to take care of the home and work at the same time, while the men are happy to pretend that being in possession of a penis means that they are absolved of all work around the house. It’s just so easy to expect a woman to be socially more available, leaving her work aside. Like when I am working, my grandmother disturbs me with more pressing matters like dyeing her hair, making poha or listening about what that so-called cougar from the B wing did. Erm, but if my bro is working – it’s suddenly more important and she’d rather go hand over a plate of fruits to him so he doesn’t get disturbed.
Yeah, the bias exists and is so deeply rooted in our systems that many women have learnt to accept it as normal. And brands know that, so they use these tropes to sell products. Except now, they are getting called out for it. I didn’t notice that there was a woman with a bindi on Scotch-Brite’s logo. Meanwhile, men in my family have not even seen it maybe until recently when they just had to do the chores. A user on LinkedIn pointed out the logo on its range of cleaning products. “I wondered if all products from Scotch-Brite have this logo. While a lint roller does not carry this, other products like scrub pad/sponge, sink brush, broom, toilet brush carry it. The gender marker is clear when you see that the lint roller, which has a man’s coat in the product pack, doesn’t have it,” wrote Karthik Srinivasan, a communications expert. He mentioned that this was pointed out to him by Pushpanjali Banerji, who is also in the same industry.
He further added that he understands that this was meant to be more user-centric when it was launched but we have come a long way since then. “When 3M launched Scotch-Brite in India in 1990, I understand if the brand/agency conceived this addition for ‘user-centric’ cues. And since then, they may have forgotten all about it. But, in 2020, such gender markers seem awkward and out of place. I sure hope the good folks at 3M take note of this legacy logo and update it,” Srinivasan explained.
— Rishi Bagree 🇮🇳 (@rishibagree) July 16, 2020
Srinivasan also pointed out that products in other countries do not have this gender-biased addition. “Many products don’t have this addition, and some of them have non-logo gender cues, like the industrial ‘professional’ scrubber showing a male chef, or the cartoon girl child (looking like the Amul mascot) depicted in the stainless steel ball. But none of them has an integrated logo-level addition,” he said. He also pointed out that this was reserved for the brand’s cleaning range, clearly defining a troublesome exhibit of gender parity here. He said, “The gender marker is clear when you see that the lint roller, which has a man’s coat in the product pack, doesn’t have it!”
@scotchbrite @ScotchBriteIN #AtulMathur @3MIndia How can bindi become regressive or backward?? It is a part of Indian culture. Didn't expect such comments from your Marketing Head #AtulMathur. pic.twitter.com/ZM1S40rQ9z
— Akcyut (@rajmachawal24) July 16, 2020
Really, none of us noticed this? Not even the company itself? Because if they had, they should have fixed it long ago. However, the company’s consumer marketing head, Atul Mathur responded to the query positively and agreed that this is regressive and should be revised. “At the very outset I wish to thank you for your insightful comment on the Scotch-Brite packaging. I head marketing in 3M India for our consumer business. You have correctly surmised that this is a legacy vector and that it is undoubtedly time to move on from regressive beliefs,” Mathur wrote.
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In fact, Mathur acknowledged that these things may seem little but they influence behaviours and attitudes towards women in our society. We’ve worked hard on the progress achieved in breaking stereotypes and conforming to gender roles. We are in no mood to let all that be scrubbed away! “Recognizing this, we started down the road to drive behavioural change externally. At the same time we also began to work internally on changing the brand vector. I am pleased to inform you that you will see the logo change a few months down the line,” he concluded.