‘I am average and I am not ashamed of it’

Editor & Publisher of The Indian Trumpet, Purva Grover sheds light on the commodification of beauty.

article-dove-0408For, in the world of ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ and beyond, I strongly feel there’s nothing wrong in being anywhere on the scale: Average, Below or Above Average.

Till about a fortnight ago I was being compelled to believe that everything was actually #MyChoice (Vogue Empower) and now suddenly I am being told to #ChooseBeautiful (Dove). It’s really quite bemusing, even for me, an individual who actually had business, advertising and marketing as subjects during graduation.

To begin with, I hate boxes, which would explain why I don’t play ‘Are you stressed?’ quizzes in magazines and why I have never scored well in any entrance examination involving MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions). Lately, I have stopped filling customer feedback forms too, even when they assure free meals on a birthday and anniversary. ‘How old are you?’ they ask. And they require box ticking: Age: 23-27, 27-31, 31-35, 35 and above. What if I were 38 but boast of an attitude of a 24-year-old? Or vice – versa. The simple point being: I hate categorisation of all sorts. I am more of an open-answer person. Ask me how am I feeling today and I’d not say: A: Fine B: Good. C: Awesome D. Bad. I’d rather really tell you how I am feeling today, using my own set of words.

So, when I see the latest Dove Campaign I find myself scratching my head not because I am confused if I am beautiful or am average but because this game of ticking boxes and MCQs and in this case walking into any one of the two doors is not for me. But yes, if these were the only two doors that I could use to walk into the space and I really had to be inside there I will walk into the one labelled Average and yes I will neither look back nor regret of taking this ‘big, wrong’ step. For, in the world of ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ and beyond too I strongly feel there’s nothing wrong in being anywhere on the scale: Average, Below or Above Average.

I am average at many levels. In school, I never had qualms in admitting that I was average at Geography and beautiful…err brilliant at Mathematics. I was told both by my teachers and parents that in both cases it were fine. ‘There’s nothing wrong in being average,’ they said. Later, when I didn’t grow up beyond 5 feet 2 inches, I was not made guilty of being average in height. And neither did anyone blame my parents’ short-height genes for my average demeanour. I was always encouraged to study harder for the Geography exam (with an aid of a glowing globe) just like I was told to perform some stretching exercises to gain an inch or half, never was I nicknamed ‘average’.

So, I don’t #ChooseBeautiful but I choose to be #MyPerson.

Average incidentally is a word, which whether used as a noun, verb or adjective does mean the same: mean, middle, midpoint & centre. So yes, when I look at the two labels on the doors, I am wondering, what is the sum total here that we have first added and then divided to reach an average? Thankfully, I don’t have to dwell deeper because I know this is a Dove campaign and we are ‘obviously’ talking of the ‘cosmetic beautiful me’ in the garb of ‘beauty is skin deep’.

So, average works just fine for me. The word doesn’t offend me, for it simply suggests that I am one of you. Do I want beautiful acne-free, glowing, younger skin? Do I want to work harder and rise above the status of an average cook? Do I want to be in a job that pays above average? Yes, yes and yes.

And till I do that, do I want to be categorised? No.

So, I don’t #ChooseBeautiful but I choose to be #MyPerson.

For, I am not furniture, so you can’t ask me to choose between strong, stable, reliable and brown. I am not candy, so yes I can’t choose between pink and sweet. And I am not coffee, so I can’t tick between hot, bitter and strong.

I am simply #MyPerson and whether I feel I am beautiful or average is between me and my mirror, and inner self/soul if you please. I am empowered enough and I will find my way to be above, below or on that scale. Till then, I will walk into labelled and unlabelled doors or windows as I please without being told that I walked into the ‘wrong’ one.

About the Writer:

Purva Grover copyA journalism school, a handful of jobs in print & digital media and a stint as an entrepreneur later, I, Purva Grover, have got addicted to the idea of penning down tales to discover my favourite word.  Born & brought up in the colourful-chaotic India I write in English and currently reside in Dubai, UAE. I run the only bi-monthly e-magazine for Indian expats: The Indian Trumpet to stay in touch with India and its ethos. A senior journalist with nine years of experience I have produced and delivered quality content across platforms on a range of subjects like art, fashion, cinema, food, etc. A freelance editorial consultant and writer for Indian and international magazines I am backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. I aspire to make my debut as an author in 2015.

To know more, follow Purva @purvagr

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