A historic decision was made by one of the leading multifunctional companies, Hindustan Unilever, who announced that they have taken a progressive step by removing the word ‘Fair’ from their beauty product ‘Fair & Lovely’. This move comes into force after skin lightening and whitening companies as well as ads have received massive criticism over the racism debate.
One of the first Bollywood stars to talk about this openly is Bipasha Basu. She shared her childhood memories and how she always wondered why the adjective dusky was associated with her ever since her first public appearance as a model at the age of 16.
With her skin colour being considered exotic, in New York and Paris, she also wrote how sexy was associated with her just because of it. Being confident about herself, the actress went on to tell that this is a deep rooted stigma and this is a step other brands should follow as well.
Have a look at Bipasha’s long note on her personal experience:
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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 ??? 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 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🙏
Next to talk about the matter on social media was Abhay Deol. He called Hindustan Unilever’s decision as a small step in the right direction. The actor wrote that the black lives movement made us take this step. He highlighted that we have a long way to go about redefining the concept of beauty but this is a beautiful beginning.
Read Abhay Deol’s note:
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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
Lastly, Richa Chadha welcomed the decision of renaming and dropping ‘fair’ from the ‘fair and lovely’. The actor feels that this step will hopefully change mindsets too. On Instagram, she wrote a note along with a picture of herself wearing a t-shirt which read ‘Not Fair But Lovely’, which she got printed in 2015.
Calling this beauty product a by-product of colonialism and casteism, Richa added that we must have our own idea of beauty without any source of influence which makes it inclusive.
Here’s Richa Chadha’s post along with her view on Hindustan Unilever’s step:
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“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, 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 👏🏽 . . . मुझे लगता है कि भारत की तरह,बहुत से ऐसे देश हैं जहाँ अंग्रेज़ों ने राज किया।अक्सर ऐसे देशों में ग़ुलामी एक मानसिक रूप भी धारण कर लेती है।हमें लगने लगता है की हमारा रंग, हमारी भाषा, हमारा खाना अच्छा नहीं है… और यही अंग्रेज़ हमें लगातार बताते भी थे… ये दुर्भाग्यवश है की हम अपनी ही चीज़ों को हीन, (inferior) समझकर उन्हें बदलने की कोशिश करते हैं… बचपन से ये बताया जाता है कि गोरा रंग ही ख़ूबसूरत है ! पहले तो फ़िल्मों में गाने भी यू ही बनते थे जैसे कि … “ हम काले हैं तो क्या हुआ दिल वालें हैं”… क्या ऐसा गाना आज की डेट में बन सकता है? सब चीज़ों को बदलने में समय लगता है… हमें अपने रंग पर गर्व होना चाहिए! . . . #NotFairButLovely #RacismIsAVirus #RichaChadha #richareccomends #Truth #lockdown #selfhate #postcolonial #actorslife #fairandlovely