Dove India’s Mission to Challenge Perceptions of ‘Beauty’

Is that you?, asks Dove India, in yet another video campaign that attempts to widen the definition of beauty. The video has been hot since it was released Blush, a lifestyle Youtube channel owned by Culture Media, the Indian digital media company who produced the video.

It has reached over 2 million views within a week and continues its viral path under the campaign’s theme, #ChangeTheRhyme.


The video features female athletes in action – playing table tennis, wrestling and shot putting. They are mostly brown skinned, wet in perspiration, differently shaped with some having flabs of fats sticking out below their jerseys. Against this backdrop is the design of audio that masterly challenges the definition of beauty that is being planted in the mind of youth in India.

It begins with a school bell that introduces the voice of a young child reciting the rhyme. The rhyme goes:

“Chubby cheeks; dimpled chin; rosy lips; curly hair; very fair; eyes are blue; lovely too”.

There appears to be a slight stammer in the recitation. Probably because the child is not able to relate to these descriptors, when majority of the children in India are not very fair and do not have blue eyes.


The child’s voice is accompanied by a teacher’s. The educator echoes the common view of the society, that is represented with a backdrop of crowd clap sounds. Then, after a pause, at a 1 minute timing, the rhyme continues and gradually becomes fast paced.

The drumming at the 1:52 mark, with the chanting becoming louder seems to mimic the pressure in the community to accept this fantasy Indian beauty.

The sounds fade off with a voice voice that asks, ‘Is That You?’. A maverick Indian female athlete, wiping the blood from her nose, responds with a peevish “No”.

‘Is that you?’ aims to  fuel a challenging conversation in the Indian community where 49% of the men want fair looking brides, and popular movie stars go for skin-lightening treatment to shade away their dusky appearance. With this campaign, Dove India and Blush are calling online citizens to create a 21st century version of the rhyme.

The launch of the video is also timely, as it not only elevates the status of female athletes in India, but also celebrates the spirit of sportswomen in the country during the period of Olympics. It brings to the world’s attention, heroines beyond the Bollywood realm. It becomes an inspiration for young girls, who want to kick a ball in the sun, without the worry of becoming dark.

#ChangeTheRhyme changes the beauty that India has known for many many years.  

Nazhath Faheema

Nazhath Faheema

Nazhath Faheema is a digital branding and marketing enthusiast based in Singapore.

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