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Glow & Lovely?! Why Not Be Upfront And Just Admit To Our Fair Skin Fixation?

Posted: July 7, 2020

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What did HUL achieve by replacing the word ‘Fair’ with ‘Glow’? Indian women come in all skin tones, and maybe it’s high time the messaging for all the cosmetic products changes.

This whole hullabaloo about HUL renaming the word ‘Fair’ with the word ‘Glow’ for its money-spinning product ‘Fair & Lovely’ is unwarranted and frankly spells doom for the millions of people whose confidence comes from comparing skin tones and heaving a sigh of relief when theirs comes off lighter. Nobody is sparing a thought for these souls who propel themselves to success solely on the basis of this distinction.

‘A ball of maida’

Indian women of the current generation and all previous generations have held on to the fact that a fairer skin tone was a trump card that you pull out of the bag when all other things were equal.

I remember a conversation with a Sindhi friend of mine with skin as white as milk, sadly shaking her head when the size zero fad was becoming the rage.

She said and I quote: “Before, in my mother’s time even if you were a ball of maida it would do, now the maida ball has to be shaped like a figure 8.” We both burst out laughing but I’m sure that if I meet her today she would say “Now the shapely figure 8 maida is required to glow? What next? They need to produce electricity? ….where does it all end?”

Won’t ‘Sunny’ be better?

Renaming of the word ‘Fair’ seems unnecessary when the underlying message and the ingredients remain the same. ‘Glow & Lovely’ just seems like a covert operation name’ instead they can name it ‘Sunny & Lovely’.

Nothing is ‘whiter’ than the sun so the messaging that you will turn blindingly fair will be crystal clear. No need for a shade card with this name and all the other horrendous ads that ‘Fair & Lovely’ came with. Just rope in Sunny Leone, and you can even withdraw your brother product – the ‘Glow & Handsome’ cream, as you can cover your entire customer base with just one ad and one cream.

It’s still a whitening cream

But jokes apart, we all know ‘A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet’. Therefore a whitening cream by another name would always work on doing just that – white-washing.

The demand for a brighter skin tone will continue, and you cannot blame women who pounce on the latest whitening creams to give them an (perceived) edge in these competitive times.

Maybe HUL can remove the ‘Lovely’ from ‘Fair & Lovely” and just keep it ‘Fair’. Now that would be fair messaging – simple and honest! Equating ‘Lovely’ with the word ‘Fair’ is what is more offensive than the word ‘Fair’ itself.

Indian women come in all skin tones, and maybe it’s high time the messaging for all the cosmetic products changes. Crappy advertising is more to blame than the product itself. Leave it to the woman to choose what hue she wants, and trust her to make the right choice.

Images source: still from the films Bala and Dum Laga Ke Haisha

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Roopa Prabhakar describes herself as a mother, a working woman, a closet feminist and blogger.

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