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The Latest Dove Ad Wins Our Hearts With Its Takedown Of A Stereotyping Nursery Rhyme

Posted: August 16, 2016

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The latest Dove ad challenges the stereotypes on beauty that the nursery rhyme ‘ Chubby Cheeks’  peddles and says ‘No’ to rigid beauty standards.

“Chubby cheeks, dimple chin
Rosy lips, teeth within
Curly hair, very fair
Eyes are blue, lovely too
Teacher’s pet, is that you?”
“Yes, yes, yes!”

A little girl with two pigtails would copy her teacher’s gestures and repeat these lines in her singsong voice. While she loved the doll like girl being described in the nursery rhyme, she’d also feel disappointed to think that she will never be as pretty as the girl in the poem.

She was underweight, so there was no question of chubby cheeks. She was an Indian, so neither was she very fair nor did she have blue eyes or curly hair. But she was only four and she didn’t have the means to know better. In fact, most girls in her class felt the same disappointment. They’d even discuss how one of them had curly hair while another one had dimples. All the time, those little girls were trying to fit into the definition of beauty chalked out to them before they even knew how to write alphabets properly!

That little girl was me. But I know I speak for a lot of little girls all over the world who learnt the nursery rhyme and felt inadequate about not ‘fitting in’ to the conditions of being beautiful. How unfair was it that we were made to feel uncomfortable in our skin ever since we were kids?

Fortunately, the little girls of today and those in the future might not be made to feel so left out in the ‘beauty race’. With companies like Dove, making a mockery of such misogynistic nursery rhymes and showing that beauty is all inclusive and can come in any form, I feel we have hope for a better future. The latest Dove ad shows that beauty can be tanned, scarred, muddied, scratched, short, tall, thin, fat, dark, fair and yet, Unapologetic.

In the advertisement, Indian female athletes are shown to be preparing for various sports and none of them look like the blue eyed, curly haired doll, described in the poem. Yet each and every one of them stands out with the sheer glow of their inner beauty–their strength, their determination, their perseverance, their resilience, and their hard work. The ‘Chubby Cheeks’ nursery rhyme keeps playing in the background on repeat with its tempo gradually increasing.

In the climax, a teacher’s voice asks ‘Is that you?’ to which the athletes shout out a defiant ‘No.’

It seems like girls all over the world are finally saying ‘No’ to rigid beauty standards, ‘No’ to body shaming, ‘No’ to the concept of a fair blue-eyed gal- the magazine version of beauty (which by the way is even genetically not possible for most Indian girls to attain, as the poem paints the picture of a typical Caucasian child!).

The key takeaway from the advertisement is that beauty is never restricted to the outer shell of a human being. Dove keeps giving us these all inclusive ads which wins our hearts and makes us fall in love with our unique selves a bit more. If you still haven’t watched this already viral ad then please do so and make sure, you show it to the young girls in your lives, as well.

Image Source: Youtube

Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by

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