According to women’s rights group AWARE, NIVEA’s recent TV advertisement about a Singaporean woman being shunned for her dark armpits actually promotes “shame and insecurity about our bodies”.
NIVEA’s 3 minute long advertisement films a young, attractive Malay woman, who unwittingly shows off her dark armpits in daily life situations, like flagging down a taxi or at the gym.
Throughout the course of the video, the lady receives disgusted looks from onlookers, who rush to get away from her when she raises her arms. The poor woman is clueless about their reactions until she herself realizes how dark her own armpits are.
After NIVEA uploaded the video on its Facebook, Singaporeans condemned the advertisement for being sexist and racist. They said that the portrayal of a Malay woman in the video with darkened armpits was discrimination against their natural skin tone. Some felt that the advertisement placed unnecessary pressure on women these days to conform to rigid standards of female beauty.