Activist Mommy

{June 20, 2007}   Real beauty! (Unless you don’t fit our social standards of beauty)

I saw a post over at the Consumerist about Creepy Commercials For Skin Whitening Products, and yeah they really are creepy when you watch them from a typical American veiwpoint. One product, Fair & Lovely, has the creepiest commercials. You can see the commercial here at youtube, where a beautiful woman finds that she cannot get ahead in her job because her skin is too dark. Luckily there’s a face whitening cream for that, huh? What does Fair & Lovely say?

Since 1993 until today, we have been committed to transforming and inspiring the lives of women through beauty. We also believe in the economic empowerment of women to improve standards of living and contribute positively to the quality of life of all Malaysians.


Empowerment and improving the standards of living? By feeding into the cultural stigma of dark skinned women being “less than”? I’m sorry, where is the empowerment? And apparently many of these creams contain Mercury. Which is, you know, kind of dangerous. Like deadly dangerous.

Thank goodness we don’t have that here in America. Here we have companies like Dove campaining for Real Beauty. Wait a minute. What company owns Fair & Lovely? Unilever. And what company owns Dove? Unilever. What? Unilever owns both companies? Perhaps I am a little dense here, but how can the same company promote Dove’s “Real Beauty” message in America and at the same time promote dangerous creams to whiten a woman’s skin in parts of India? Can they have it both ways?

In a world of hype and stereotypes, Dove provides a refreshingly real alternative for women who recognise that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and isn’t simply about how you look – it’s about how you feel.

So which is it? Real beauty that isn’t about stereotypes, or rubbing mercury on your face to look whiter? Does beauty come in all shapes and sizes? Or does that only count if your skin is white enough?

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Edina says:

Ah, I wasn’t aware of this and that is what they count on. Corporations just want to make as big of a profit as humanely possible. I’d like to make my own soap. It’d be a lot cheaper.

What an insult. Of course, it’s probably an attempt toward Americanization of the world: Americans are beautiful, but only if they’re white.

Fiona says:

I was not aware that Unilever owned both companies! And yes, those Fair & Lovely commercials are very creepy.

A wee bit off topic, but have you seen those commercials lately that are promoting coal as the “clean energy source”. At first I thought they were satire, but they seemed to be paid for by the coal lobby. Had me giggling at the pub anyway.

[…] Mommy is concerned about “Creepy Commercials for Skin Whitening Products” and their connection to Dove, often praised for its depiction of beauty that “comes in all […]

[…] Don’t be alarmed, it’s satire. Or do be alarmed, because of the mutilation bit. -Activist Mommy on a company marketing skin whitening cream, and their relationship to the Dove Real Beauty […]

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