Last week I posted about using the controversy over Unilever's Dove and Axe products and marketing to explore the impact of our choices. Here's a new piece to add to that exploration. I recently discovered from Sociological Images that Hindustan Unilever (owned by Unilever) sells Fair & Lovely, a series of skin lightening products targeted to dark-skinned people, especially in Asian countries. SI posted one of the ads for this product, in which a dark-skinned Indian woman can't get a job (and is considered ugly) until she uses the product. Suddenly, she's beautiful, desirable and successful. SI's post also includes a video clip of people of South Asian descent discussing the product and their feelings about the culture and racism surrounding skin lightening.
If you search "fair and lovely" on YouTube, you can find several other of their ads (and critiques thereof).
I also found a paper analyzing the negative impact of Fairy & Lovely, written by a University of Michigan business student.
In addition to exploring the impact of our choices, it would be interesting to pick a company and look at all the products they sell (and the ads they use to sell them) to see what kinds of messages and values and practices these companies support -- and whether or not those messages and values and practices are ones that promote a healthy, just, compassionate, sustainable world. Learning about the many facets of Unilever, for example, has certainly been eye-opening for me.
~ Marsha, Web Content/Community Manager