'Barbershop girls' of UP village are shaving gender stereotypes

The Barbersho Girls of India, Neha and Jyoti | Photo: Screenshots

In 2014, two teenage girls, Neha and Jyoti, took over their father's barber shop, due to his illness. They rolled up their hair and dressed up like boys, in order to run the shop, reports the Guardian. Over the years, Neha and Jyoti worked hard to earn enough money for their education as well as support their father's medical needs. The entire village of Banwari Tola in Uttar Pradesh has been supporting these two girls. Today, their story is an inspiration for cutting down stereotypes across the nation.

Sisters Neha and Jyoti are now hailed as poster girls of women empowerment. Their story is conceptualized by Grey India into an ad for the personal grooming brand, Gillette. The ad shows the existing gender stereotypes in the village, through the eyes of a young boy. He notices how girls stay home to do all the kitchen chores, while the boys go out to play. His notions of gender roles distort as he enters the barber shop and watches his father being given a shave by a girl.

When the little boy questions his father how a girl can give him a shave, he explains that the razor can't differentiate between a girl and a boy.

Gillette India's new campaign 'The best a man can be' talks about the rigid gender stereotypes in the deep pockets of India. The ad featuring Neha and Jyoti is an extension of this campaign, known as #ShavingStereotype. According to Sandipan Bhattacharyya, CEO of Grey Group, says, "with this campaign and a powerful message like #ShavingStereotypes, Gillette drives home a point that has utmost relevance in the times we live in. The boys watching today need inspiring role models so that they grow up to be better men."

The now viral ad has been viewed over 3.2 million times on YouTube. People can't stop talking about it. Celebrities across various industries are tweeting, posting, and sharing this ad on all social media platforms.

Coming from the god of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, "This story will inspire everyone to have the right attitude and achieve their dreams because we learn from what we see."

Farhan Akhtar praised the 'barbershop girls' for "breaking stereotype, one shave at a time."

Swara Bhasker, went beyond the story line and appreciated the people of Banwari Tola village for supporting the girls in their journey.

Other celebrities such as Radhika Apte, Fatima Sana Shaikh and hairstylist Aalim Hakim shared and praised Neha and Jyoti for their courage.

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