Dove's #ChooseBeautiful campaign: Average or beautiful, what's your choice?
If given a choice, will you walk through a door marked 'Beautiful’ or will you settle for the next which says ‘Average’? That was the question Dove posed in its latest empowerment-through-advertisement campaign to women in five different cities across the world -- Delhi, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, London and Shanghai.
The ad was supposed to be a comment on how women perceive themselves and, 96% women chose average. A hashtag that Dove created said the rest: #ChooseBeautiful.
A comment on how we perceive ourselves and our bodies, the campaign got us thinking. What would I choose or, for that matter, what would you. We threw the same question at a cross-section of HT employees – both men and women – and came back with some surprising personal choices. Because beauty is a perception, a choice and a state of mind, and it affects both the genders equally.
Watch the ad:
Jyoti Sharma Bawa:
I am a sum of my parts. I am not defined by 'average' (what is that supposed to mean anyway?) or beautiful, I am so much more than how I appear. If I choose average, does it mean I am insecure about my looks or the fact that very few women can match up to the impossible body image that Dove and other big businesses peddling beauty products have set up for us. Real beauty is to be true to oneself and in this case, it means walking away from these two doors which aim to fit me into a neat little category. I cannot be empowered by walking through a door, but it will sure sell more of your products, Dove.
More than what media and marketing industry taught me, my choice was more influenced by what my own family and society told me. Choosing beautiful door for me would have meant I want my identity to be judged on the basis of looks. On second thoughts, even average is a judgement on my looks. But I have been brought up to believe that society perceives beautiful women as dumb. A prejudice I do not want to live with, but one that I am conscious of.
The Dove ad came to me rather oddly. At work, I was asked to randomly choose which door I would go through, one marked Beautiful and another Average. Without a blink of an eye, I said beautiful. It was pretty instinctive. No intellectual debate here. Do I consider myself beautiful? Well, yes I do. Does it confirm to the standard of beauty marketed around? I don't think so and it doesn't bother me. I just feel nice and beautiful - a happy mind, a healthy body and pleasant looks make me beautiful. But that doesn't mean that I am necessarily against all the images of beauty that keep getting thrown at me. They are stereotypes, true, but a stereotype is also a certain type. Just that I choose not to limit myself to them alone. And simply because some people have decided that a certain type is pretty doesn't make me any less.
Bring out the tissues, girl... Hold it together... You can do it... Oh, don't cry now, it's only an advertisement. C'mon, now! All the things Dove and its new Choose Beautiful campaign made me think and feel and more. Dramatic, maybe but the emotions were all there. And before I say a word more: A big thank you to all the lovely ladies who threw some major shade and chose to walk through the 'beautiful' door. You go sisters! And my girls who chose the 'average' door, I feel you. I really do. That said, which door would I walk through, 'average' or 'beautiful'? I'd say, beautiful. Not because I feel awfully pretty, but simply because that's the 'right' thing to do. At least, that's what folks at Dove would say. I love myself (I think, I do). Of course there are 3,771 things I want to change about me. But walking through the 'beautiful' door is the right thing to do. No reasons, It just feels 'right'. Because, I am prude like that. And as Christina Aguilera's I-am-different-but-I-am-perfect-just-the-way-I-am anthem goes, "You are beautiful, in every single way..." So, 'beautiful' door it is for me. And while we're at it, thank you Oprah, Ellen, Lupita, Mindy and Angelina, for making me feel 'beautiful'.&
I thought the signage on the doors were indicative of what lay beyond them. But naturally I chose ‘Beautiful’, because beautiful by definition promises something other than the ordinary. Because it is more than ordinary there is that thrill of discovery. And it is the effort of discovery that makes life/living so un-average. It didn’t occur to me even for a second that my choice would be a read as a kind of self assessment.
Too often we settle for others’ perception of who we are. The world is full of people who at one point of time or the other will stick some label on you. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion of course but then these labels tend to weigh you down and affect the way you react to the world outside. It may seem like a slightly schizophrenic world-view but my point is that with so many people already trying to make you feel low about yourself why would you choose to fall in line and settle for less yourself. I would choose the door marked beautiful simply because… #mychoice?
Average. If I were to pick a door to walk through, it will be the one marked as average. Even while I am writing this piece, I am feeling regretful about my decision. But I guess, I will still stick to ‘average’ because that will reflect my true (immediate) reaction to this experiment without bringing in elements of feminism, society and such. I think that picking ‘average’ will be the safer option. What if I walk in through ‘beautiful’ and see myself as a misfit? At least through an average door, I will know what to expect. Or maybe I wouldn’t notice at all. That would be a nicer world -- not having to notice and judge.
Had I participated in the Dove ad I would have chosen the ‘Average’ door because the idea of walking through 'Beautiful' door, I feel, infuses a sense of privilege and superiority based on the physical appearance of a person. Staying in a make-believe world of superiority –of being ‘beautiful’—doesn’t help in anyway, whatsoever. In reality, how efficient, caring or skilled a person is what makes or breaks him or her-- and that's something an 'average' person can achieve very well.
Rezaul Hasan Laskar:
So much of life is about making choices based, in some way, on how others perceive us. For many men too, the choice of walking through one of these two doors too would be based on such perceptions. And perhaps that would be the wrong way of going about things. After all, sometimes, beauty is just skin deep. Being beautiful needn’t necessarily be only about looks, it could also be about other parameters that may have nothing to do with looks. For me personally, the choice would probably depend on how I feel about myself on a particular day.
Dove’s new ad campaign is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. You remember the earlier Dove ad where they asked women to use it on half of their faces? Apparently, the potential consumers loved the Dove experience because it made them fall in love with themselves without thinking who would wash their face with two different soaps! This one is also a marketing gimmick as this is trying to create two sub-sections – average and beautiful, and ultimately all the average women will get into the beautiful bracket because they will start thinking better about themselves which will happen only after they started using Dove. There is a hidden intention on part of Dove to make some women realise that they ‘can’ fall into the average bracket. Dear Dove, why don’t you treat them just as women?
#ChooseBeautiful: You are beautiful. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise. Whether you are size 12 or size 0, dark or fair, young or old, feminine or tom-boyish, doesn't matter! Beauty isn't skin-deep people; it is your confidence, your love for self, your love for others. Believe in yourself, believe you are beautiful and see the magic unfold. Accept your flaws, look inside you and go all-out in being a better human being. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself.
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