Actor-director Nandita Das reacted to the announcement by Hindustan Unilever of dropping ‘fair’ from its ‘Fair & Lovely’ range of products to make it ‘more inclusive’. The actor while speaking to Mumbai Mirror said it is a big step forward as a major multinational brand will drop the word, ‘fairness’, ‘whitening’, and ‘lightening, ‘ from their line of product. However, it is an eye-opener for brands who spend hundreds of crores of rupees to spread the absurd message of the fair being lovely.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, she described that though the move was symbolic, it was still a huge step forward.
She added: “Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, several social wrongs have found a surprisingly sympathetic audience. The announcement today by Hindustan Unilever that they will remove the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening and ‘lightening’ from their line of products, is something I don’t think anyone saw coming. Even though it is more symbolic (after all they have not discontinued the product, just changed the messaging), it is still a big step forward.”
“Many brands spend hundreds of crores of rupees to spread the absurd message of the fair being lovely in a largely dark country. So, when a market leader steps in, at the very least, it will certainly lead to an even wider debate,” she added.
She further said, “The world is ridden with so many forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, gender, sexuality, language and, of course, skin color. A given identity, that one is born with, has become the most defining factor. But increasingly, it is being challenged, and thankfully, it cannot be ignored.”
Recently, consumer-products giant Johnson & Johnson announced that it would no longer sell products that advertised to lighten skin tone.
The announcement today by Hindustan Unilever that they will remove the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening and ‘lightening’ from their line of products, is something I don’t think anyone saw coming.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, she had said, “Many female actors were becoming lighter and lighter with every film! Being a dark person, you are always being told about it. Initially, all articles about me would start with – dark and dusky. Thankfully, my parents never put any complex in me. When I speak at colleges, young girls ask me ‘how come you are so confident despite being dark?’ because we link the color of our skin to our self-esteem and confidence. When I supported this campaign, I didn’t think I was going to become the face of it.”
Ritu Yadav is an intern with SheThePeople.TV