A combo photo if Bipasha Basu and 'Fair&Lovely' cream.
Gulf Today Report
Bollywood actors Richa Chadha, Bipasha Basu and Abhay Deol have welcomed the decision of a leading cosmetics manufacturing company to rebrand their fairness cream in order to remove the term "Fair" from its name.
Hindustan Unilever will drop the word “Fair” from its “Fair & Lovely” brand of skin lightening products which are popular in South Asia but have long been criticised for promoting negative stereotypes against people with darker skin.
Companies face a mounting backlash on social media in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The decision that has been wholly applauded.
Actress-model Bipasha Basu shared a long post on Instagram while addressing the deep-rooted stigma attached with skin colour, mentioning how she had to deal with being described as "dusky" all her life, while speaking of the issue.
"From the time I was growing up I heard this always, 'Bonnie is darker than Soni. She is little dusky na?' Even though my mother is a dusky beauty and I look a lot like her. I never knew why that would be a discussion by distant relatives when I was a kid."
"Soon at 15/ 16 I started modelling and then I won the supermodel contest ... all newspapers read ... dusky girl from Kolkata is the winner. I wondered again why Dusky is my first adjective???" she posted on social media.
"Then I went to New York and Paris to work as a model and I realised my skin colour was exotic there and I got more work and attention because of it. Another discovery of mine."
"Once I came back into India and film offers started... and finally I did my first film and from an absolute Ajnabee (stranger) to Hindi film industry ... I suddenly was accepted and loved. But the adjective stayed, which I started liking and loving by then. DUSKY girl wows the audiences in her debut film."
"In most of my articles for all the work I did, my duskiness seemed to be the main discussion.. It attributed to my sex appeal apparently. And sexy in Bollywood started getting accepted widely."
"I never really understood this... To me sexy is the personality not just the colour of your skin...why my skin colour only sets me apart from the conventional actresses at that time. But that's the way it was. I didn't really see much of difference but I guess people did."
"There was a strong mindset of Beauty and how an actress should look and behave. I was different as it was pointed out. Didn't really stop me from being and doing all that I loved.
Well you see I was confident and proud of who I was from childhood. My skin colour didn't define me ... even though I love it and wouldn't want it to be any different ever.
"Many skin care endorsements with loads of money was offered to me in the last 18 years (some were very tempting)... but I stuck to my principle always. All this needs to stop. This wrong dream that we are selling ... that only fair is lovely and beautiful when the majority of the country is brown skinned. It's a deep rooted stigma. It's a mammoth step from the brand... and other brands should follow in the same footsteps soon," Bipasha wrote.
Actress Richa Chadha welcomed the decision, saying defining beauty with fairness is an "unfortunate byproduct of colonialism and casteism".
"Not Fair but Lovely", I had gotten this printed on a T shirt back in 2015. Yesterday, the brand @fairandlovely_id and I were finally in agreement! Yesterday, they dropped the word FAIR from their product name..."
"Before you attack the brand for only paying 'lip service', please remember, it takes many generations for ideas to change. There is demand and hence there is supply...We have been told since we were children, that fairness is the only definition of beauty! It is also another unfortunate byproduct of colonialism and casteism! But it's 2020, and a lot of BS is getting dismantled!"
"It took me many years of unlearning to gain confidence and start LOVING my complexion! Der aye durust aye (better late than never), I say."
"I welcome this decision by the brand... and it's not easy... brands have a thousand meetings before they change even the FONT in their logo... I hope slowly and steadily mindsets change... we must continuously and without any influence of the West, define our own idea of beauty. Beauty must be inclusive! Bravo @fairandlovely_id," wrote Richa on Instagram.
Actor Abhay Deol feels the ongoing #blacklivesmatter campaign is a major trigger behind the fairness cream rebranding.
"It took a world backlash and the #blacklivesmatter movement to give us a push in this direction. But make no mistake, all of you who have been vocal about the need for a cultural shift in regard to the sale and endorsement of fairness creams in our country contributed to this victory."
"We have a long way to go in breaking our conditioning of what constitutes for beauty, but this is a small step in the right direction. It's the starting point to a long road ahead. What a beautiful beginning! #nomorefairandlovely #peoplepower," shared the actor.
In the report, only three actors names are cited, those who applaud the removal of the word fair from Unilever’s Fair and Lovely (“Bollywood celebs laud cosmetic company for dropping ‘Fair’ from skin lightening products,” June 27, Gulf Today).
“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,” Sunny Jain, president of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division, said in a statement.
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