Rebranding of ‘Fair and Lovely’: An example of Limitless Hypocrisy

Fair & lovely cream

The Indian arm of global conglomerate Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) announced on Thursday that it will rebrand the Fair and Lovely and also will stop using words like “whitening”, “fairness” and “Lightening” from its products.

This step comes up in the wake of the Black Lives Movement. Many companies around the world started reassessing their business and marketing strategies to overcome the presence or promotion racism and discrimination in their products. 

‘Black Lives Matter’ is a movement against racism which erupted in US after the death of George Floyd last month.

“We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. We recognise that the use of the words ‘fair’, ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this,” said Sunny Jain, President, Beauty & Personal Care, Unilever, in a statement.

Jain said that after changing the advertising, communication and packaging in South Asia, they are taking the next step of changing the brand name. According to a PTI report, the company approached the Controller General of Patent Design and Trademark on June 17 to get the name ‘Glow & Lovely’ registered.

More than 18,000 people in recent weeks have signed the two separate petition which urges the Unilever to stop the production of Fair and Lovely.

Fair and lovely product image

Fair and Lovely is a skin-lightening cosmetic product of Hindustan Unilever which was introduced in India in 1975. This product is not only limited in India but also available more specifically in other Asian countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Indonesia etc.

However, this step of Hindustan Unilever is nothing but a trumpery move. It is only to save its own brand from falling down in the Indian market. Since promoting ‘colorism’ and showing that ‘the more fair you are , the more successful you will be’ is the foundation of this product.

As you know, the criticism is not new. It has been criticised several times in its past but it turned blind eye on its public demands.

The question is Why were they pretending to be a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ for so long? Why didn’t they respond or even acknowledge the criticism they were getting from Indian public?

Many Bollywood celebrities also have endorsed Fair and Lovely at some point in their career. The present brand ambassador is Yami Gautam and the irony is though there is a  strong wave of criticism against this product and how it manipulates the mindset of people, but still people like her defends as well as promotes the brand for their own benefit.

A scene from Shivaji: The Boss movie

And it is not only about cosmetics but also on matrimonial sites the selection of life partner is done on the basis of colour complexion.

Picture showing petition for removal of colour filter.

For example, Shaadi.com has a skin colour filter which allows users to search for a life partner on the basis of colour complexion. But it enacted with the light of speed as compared to Fair and Lovely which didn’t even recognise the demand of people. According to BBC, Shaadi.com removed an option which allowed users to search for potential partners on the basis of their skin tone after US-based Hetal Lakhani started an online petition against the option. 

These fairness promoting  cosmetics are not only limited to women but also men. There are many brands for men which claims itself best for whitening of skin tone like another version of “Fair and lovely” is Fair and Handsome, Garnier Power White, Meglow “fairness” cream and Nivea men Advanced whitening cream.

The inferiority related to skin colour among people around the world is the reason why markets of such brands which promotes fairness and whitening of skin have been sky-rocketing since ages.

Ofcourse, it is not the fault of a person, if he or she feels inferior about their skin tone. It is our history and our society. 

It is a fact that once in our lifetime or one in our family member uses skin lightening creams especially Fair and Lovely. Now that’s how much deep the foundation of fairness=superiority is framed as well as penetrated in our society. Recent news of Hardik Pandya engagement with Natasa Stankovic showed us the mirror how blaming our older generation for racism is just another excuse since we so called “Smarter Youths” are also racist. Jokes on skin tone and trolling a person like one below somewhere or somewhat do affect our mind.

Some of the racist tweets on their engagement news.

Though we cannot change our History but we can make one by changing our mindsets. Once we do that we can rise above it, no matter what the issue is whether it is racism, discrimination or even nepotism.

Every skin colour is beautiful 😍💕

Remember, one step can make a difference!😊

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