“Bete shadi kaise hogi, skin kali hai tumhari, Suno koi nahi lega nai bahu kaali waali, Dgree-wegree english-winglish sari faltu ki batein, Thoda besan thoda bleach thodi haldi malaai”
These lyrics are from a song known as “Shameless”, by famous Youtuber Prajakta Koli AKA Mostlysane, depicting the skin tone discrimination one goes through in India.
People in India have been widely obsessed with fair skin tones. Either it is height, weight, or complexion, a person in India is always judged with all these parameters instead of their intelligence and smartness. The obsession with fair skin tones in India is immemorial and has driven Indian’s women crazy. ‘If you are not fair you may not be able to get married in a good house’ this is one of the many bizarre things a person with dark or dusky skin tone hears.
Recently, Hindustan Unilever in a major rebranding initiative, has announced that they will stop using the word ‘Fair’ in the brand name ‘Fair & Lovely.’
Sanjiv Mehta the Chairman and Managing Director of HUL quoted, “We are making our skincare portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of the more diverse portrayal of beauty. In 2019 we removed the cameo with two faces and the shade guide from the packaging of fair & lovely and the brand communication progressed from fairness to glow which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin. We now announce that we will remove the word ‘Fair’ from our brand name ‘Fair & lovely’”.
We’re committed to a skin care portfolio that's inclusive of all skin tones, celebrating the diversity of beauty. That’s why we’re removing the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening’ & ‘lightening’ from products, and changing the Fair & Lovely brand name.https://t.co/W3tHn6dHqE
— Unilever #StaySafe (@Unilever) June 25, 2020
The HUL was under tremendous pressure for portraying skin lightening products which help to gain confidence in a person. The products which encourage fairness or skin lightening ingredients are one of the first steps for its consumers to enter into the world of beauty.
After the ‘BlacLivesMatter’ moment, a massive protest was seen in various countries against the killing of ‘George Floyd’ in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has decided to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. Act says, brands endorsing pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, hair loss, improvement of height, or obesity, among others, will be fined with a penalty of Rs 50 lakh and will serve a prison time up to five years.