ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Get Back to Life’

Contradictions in and of Emergency Contraceptive Advertisements in Contemporary India

From the nationalistic “Hum Do, Hamare Do” (we two, our two) family planning advertising campaign, to the tantalising consumer-focused Kama Sutra condom advertisements, Indian media images have been instrumental in understanding the nation’s anxieties around sex, gender, population control measures and citizens’ reproductive lives. Drawing on this critically rich site of analysis, the tensions made visible in the advertising campaign for one particular emergency contraceptive—i-pill—are analysed by looking at three key elements: the photographic image, the tag line, and the health-related information text. It is posited that messages in contraceptive pharmaceutical advertisements are contradictory in their avowed message and intended aim.

(Figures 1–3 accompanying this article are available on the EPW website.)

This research and writing has been supported by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant in the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program (Award No: 1026682), and George Mason University’s Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship. A part of this article appeared in 2011 as “Reading the i-pill Advertisement: The Pleasures and Pressures of Contemporary Contraceptive Advertising in India” in Global Media, Culture, and Identity (edited by R Chopra and R Gajjala).

Your daughter needs your morning cuddle to begin her day. Your office colleagues eagerly wait for your sunshine smile. But today, everyone has been disappointed. You are just not yourself. Is it because you are worried you might get pregnant after last night? You can put your mind at ease now. Theres i-pill from Cipla, an emergency contraceptive pill. It is created especially for times when you could be facing the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. (i-pill advertisement)

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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