The idea of beauty

Letter July 07, 2020
There are reports that a famous fairness cream is being renamed

There are reports that a famous fairness cream is being renamed. But what has triggered this sudden action? It actually began with the sudden ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests which sporadically erupted across the world after George Floyd, an African-American, was choked to death by a white police officer.

The whole movement aims to fight racial injustice that people of colour face at the hands of white people. Amidst this chaos, people started petitioning against fairness cream companies to stop selling products that promote the false idea of whiteness and fairness. In response to this situation, the beauty and personal care president of a multinational company released a statement on behalf of the company which stated that from now on they will omit words like fair, whitening, brightening and lightening from their beauty product range. According to his statement, these types of words depict a singular ideal of beauty. However, the company has maintained that they will not stop selling the product. A few days back, the Pakistan chief of this company announced a new name for its fairness cream, declaring that the change represented an unbiased image of beauty. This is perhaps the most absurd claim I have ever come across. Changing the name of a product will not suddenly change the whole idea behind it.

This black-white beauty stereotype has played a major role in brewing the seeds of racism in people, giving them the impression that if they have a lighter skin tone, they have the right to do anything.

In order to bring about a positive change in society, we must aim to revolutionise the idea of beauty and move past mere skin colour representations. There needs to be massive awareness campaigns that show that beauty is subjective. Merely changing the name of a product isn’t enough to change the minds of the people.

Wajiha Naseer

Rawalpindi

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2020.

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