Choose shampoo like you'd choose a boyfriend: The problem with Sonam Kapoor's advice to women

Rajyasree Sen

Sep 21, 2015 14:55:08 IST

I strongly feel that with any relationship, with people or for that matter, your shampoo, there is no point holding on if it doesn't make you happy. The message is simple. It's time Indian women stop compromising and living with bad hair days.

That is a quote from the resident quote-a-minute celebrity, actress Sonam Kapoor, spoken while she was endorsing L'Oreal Paris Advanced hair care's campaign 'Change your Shampoo, Change your Hair'.

According to Kapoor, she wants to advise all young girls that “it's not only about relationships, but correct things that work for you”.

To draw a parallel between a relationship with a human being and a “relationship” with a shampoo is quite brilliant. In fact, some of the greatest literary and satirical intellects may not have been able to make this tenuous – although inspired – connection. But then again, if there’s one thing that we know thanks to social media, it’s Kapoor’s talent for lateral thinking.

Choose shampoo like youd choose a boyfriend: The problem with Sonam Kapoors advice to women

Sonam Kapoor for L' Oreal. Image from Sonam Kapoor's Facebook page.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s honestly very heartening to see Bollywood celebrities express genuine opinions, and that too on topics beyond cinema and karwa chauth. With the fan following that they have and cult of celebrity they head, when they put their might and tweets behind issues like children’s education, not killing or abusing girls, sanitation, compassion to animals, they probably achieve more than, for instance, a column in a website or a newspaper.

Hell, some even write articles in newspapers nowadays. And pretty good ones too. That's what a brand like L'Oreal wants to capitalise on when it chooses someone like Kapoor as their brand ambassador.

However, to quote someone from the pre-Twitter era, with great power comes great responsibility.

Kapoor’s intentions may be lofty, but there is many a slip between the brain and the tweet. We glimpsed the abyss that is Kapoor’s thought process when various celebrities started speaking out about the meat ban in Mumbai. Again, I was impressed that she – and other celebs – were sticking their necks out because after all, these are celebrities who are Maharashtra residents and they have every reason to not irk the government. Kapoor deserves a round of applause for fearlessly going public with her disapproval. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of how she went about it.

Kapoor observed, “Our country is going to remain a 3rd world nation because of the intolerant misogynistic close minded few” and pointed her 7.35 million Twitter followers to a Firstpost article. (Note from editor: Thank you kindly, Sonam)

Now I love meat. I love women. And I love freedom of choice – as well as freedom of speech. However insane and inane the effects of the​ last may be. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t understand how the meat ban was a move against women. Unless – as a wise man suggested to me – Kapoor was equating meat to symbolise women being treated as meat, and therefore the ban was misogynistic.

After reading Kapoor’s comment equating romantic partners to shampoo, I’m wondering whether using many hair products leaves one delirious. Could it be that L’Oreal is to blame for Kapoor’s verbal diarrhoea?

How else can one explain the fact that she equates her shampoo with a human being with whom one is having a romantic relationship? Or is Sonam Kapoor actually an objectophile? Object sexuality is when an “object or structure is viewed as an equal partner in the relationship. It is not used to enhance or facilitate sexual behavior. Some objectophiles even believe that their feelings are reciprocated by the object of their desire”. It’s a deeply emotional syndrome, as you can see, and one that even ​I may be dangerously close to exhibiting. I suffer from uncontrollable hair texture and therefore understand the critical importance of using the correct shampoo and conditioner.

Yet my love for shampoo is clearly nothing compared to Kapoor’s. She is quoted as saying that –

I wanted to give advice to all the young girls out there that it’s not only about relationships but correct things that work for you. We have a tendency of getting stuck to something that we know rather than finding something that actually makes us feel good. And the same thing goes for shampoos. I strongly feel that with any relationship, with people or for that matter, your shampoo, there is no point holding on if it doesn't make you happy. The message is simple. It's time Indian women stop compromising and living with bad hair days.

It’s bad enough that we are told that everything from Fair & Lovely cream to Tanishq earrings will deliver us from a life where we are bad at our jobs and are loved and desired by no men, to one where we are the top of our careers and desired by every man we walk past. Now we must equate the men in our lives to the shampoos we use​​? L’Oreal’s shampoo will not only wash the grime out of our scalp, but also straighten our spines and emancipate us, all in one sudsy wash?

At times like these, I want to rewind to simpler times – where celebrities concentrated on which film to sign and when taglines didn’t try anything more clever than “Boost is the secret of my energy” or “Palmolive da jawab nahin”.

Which brings me to the behind-the-scenes culprits: ad gurus. For L’Oreal’s ad agency to have come up with this as a key message – because let’s face it, Kapoor must have been following a script at that press conference – to sell their product is not surprising. That’s what ad people do. They pull things out from their posteriors and present it to clients and spokespersons.

That clients will accept these taglines and campaigns, and spokespersons will happily parrot those words without considering how it makes them appear is a sad state of affairs for celebrities. And a good one for the advertising industry. ​

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2015 14:55:08 IST

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