On Thursday, June 25 2020, Hindustan Unilever announced that it will drop the word “fair” from its Fair & Lovely range of products in order to make its portfolio ‘more inclusive’.
This move has been lauded by netizens and Bollywood celebrities. Abhay Deol, Kangana Ranaut, Richa Chadha among others have expressed their opinion, calling it a win.
In an elaborate post, actress Bipasha Basu opened up how she was labelled as ‘dusky beauty’ and made to feel different in the industry because of her skin colour. Sharing a screenshot of the news item, Bipasha shared a long note that read:
“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,” she added.
Bipasha also added how duskiness was attributed to sexiness:
“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.”
She concluded her post by writing: “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 skincare 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.”
Actor Abhay Deol has a strong stand on the fairness cream dropping the word ‘Fair’ from the product as he wrote on social media:
“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.”