The company Hindustan Unilever took a huge call recently to drop 'Fair' from the 'Fair & Lovely' brand of skin products. Sporting one of the most-criticised names in the world of creams and skincare products promoting false beauty standards and non-inclusive beauty ideals, the brand has made a huge change in its image.
Actress Bipasha Basu took to social media to talk about her own journey in the industry and the adjective 'dusky' being used to describe her over and over. She celebrated the small victory in the brand changing its name.
Bipasha Basu on being called 'dusky'
For many years, 'Fair & Lovely' a brand under Hindustan Unilever has acquired a reputation of promoting false standards of beauty and has been called out for racism, and non-inclusive beauty. Many members of Bollywood and the public have repeatedly criticised the brand and what it stands for.
In a new move, the company has decided to change the Brand name and are looking at a new trademark, 'Glow and Lovely' rather than 'Fair and Lovely'. Many have hailed this as the right move towards inclusiveness. Dropping the word 'fair' has come as a win for those who've been criticising the brand for years.
Bipasha Basu also discussed the issue on Instagram describing her journey from childhood, how people always said, "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."
She further wrote about how this carried into her modelling career, "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."
The word 'dusky' she says didn't leave her even as she began acting, "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."
The Bollywood actress says it didn't end there, "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..." She further added, "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."
Bipasha spoke about breaking out of the mould and sticking to her principles, "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."
The actress then urged why this is an important win for inclusivity and how promoting these false ideals need to stop, "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."
We can only hope it truly does stop at some point.