New Delhi: Amid global outrage against racism and colourism, popular Indian matrimonial website, Shaadi.com removed a search filter on its website that allowed people to look for potential matches based on their skin tones. Also Read - After Dropping 'Fair' from Its Fairness Cream, HUL Seeks 'Glow & Lovely' Trademark Registration
The laudable move came after Hetal Lakhani from Dallas, USA, started an online petition to urge the company to remove the complexion filter, which feeds to Indians’ obsession with fair skin. In just a few hours, her petition received over 1,500 signatures, sparking a conversation about the controversial feature and a re-evaluation of ‘what we consider beautiful’.
In her petition online, Lakhani had stated, “Shaadi.com has a colour filter that asks users to indicate the colour of their skin using descriptors like ‘Fair’, ‘Wheatish’, and ‘Dark’ and allows users the ability to search for potential partners on the basis of their skin colour. We demand that Shaadi.com must permanently remove its skin colour filter to prevent users from selectively searching for matches based on their preferred skin colour.”
Many users on social media too took note of the petition and criticised Shaadi.com for the discriminatory filter, prompting the company to remove the feature overnight.
Later, in response to a tweet regarding the feature, the company stated that the filter “doesn’t have any implication on the matchmaking.” However, it was a “blind spot,” and the feature has been removed, the company added.
In another significant move, Hindustan Unilever on Thursday decided to drop the word “Fair” from its skin-whitening cream, Fair and Lovely. The move was aimed at making their “skincare portfolio more inclusive” and celebrate “a more diverse portrayal of beauty”.
The move was appreciated by users who said that despite these steps, we still have a long way to go:
Notably, these rebranding exercises are inspired by anti-racism protests that have erupted across the world after the death of George Floyd who died at the hands of the police in the US on May 25 this year.