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Fairness is given a pedestal while darkness is treated as a disease – Unilever ‘Fair & Lovely’ rebranding welcomed amid rising expectation

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Islamabad: Unilever accession to demand for rebranding ‘Fair & Lovely’ found appreciation in Pakistan’s diversity activists.

The company had announced this decision last week, acknowledging its role in propagating “a singular ideal of beauty”.


Fatima Lodhi, founder of Pakistan’s only anti-colorism campaign Dark is Divine, declared this “a first of many a step required in the right direction”.

Lodhi was addressing a seminar marking the International Week of Redefining Beauty, and said “further reparations are necessary for the emotional damage and social prejudice brought upon us by colorism”. She said “rebranding of products to recognize multiple shades, shapes, and sizes of beauty should be followed by behavior change programs to re-humanize the dark skin”.

The emotional damage caused by these fairness products are way beyond one’s imagination.

Fairness creams like Fair & Lovely or other such fairness products like PONDS white, including some local products promises their consumers to transform the physical appearances, demeans people and lower their self-esteem; Promoting lighter skin tone is not only colorist but a racist act as well and further, giving pedestal to the fairer skin tones while treating dark skin as a disease is also a clear attempt at enhancing most people’s feeling of insufficiency.

Ms. Lodhi further stated that the damage these fairness products have on one’s health is horrible.

These products contain mercury which happens to be a cancerous causing chemical and it’s found in these products without any check and balance and without any warnings to the consumers.

Ms. Zartaj Gul, Minister of The Climate Change Ministry in Pakistan, last year in December 2019 made an official statement regarding the crackdown on whitening creams that contain more than 1 percent mercury after December 31 2019. The ministry checked 59 samples of fairness products and found 56 of them contained way more than 1pc mercury.

Ms. Lodhi added, that 6 months have already passed and we are impatiently looking forward to the implementation of ban on these cancer causing products announced by the Minister Zartaj Gul.

The International Week of Redefining Beauty by “Dark is Divine” serves as a dialogue forum for challenging the unrealistic standards of beauty across the globe, and engages participants from around the world every year.

This year, the Week is being celebrated by Dark is Divine from 29th June to 3rd July, and is expected to bring forth petitions demanding onward affirmative action.

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