Skin-bleaching—the process of chemically lightening your skin—is a $10 billion industry. It’s incredibly popular all over the world wherever white skin is not the norm: Africa, the Caribbean, southeast Asia and the Middle East.
We know that racism, slavery and colonialism are driving the internalized belief that darker skin is a problem. But multinational beauty care corporations are happy to uphold this arbitrary beauty standard if it means they can profit by promising an arbitrary “solution”: whiter skin.
Unilever is a hypocritical case in point. On one hand, Dove’s popular “Real Beauty” and “Love your Curls” campaigns claim to value bodies of all shapes, sizes and colours. On the other, its Fair and Lovely line is one of the most popular skin-bleachers in the world, shaming its users for their natural skin tone.
Tell Unilever to stop profiting from racist beauty standards. End production of Fair and Lovely.
While profiting off of internalized racism and shaming people—mostly, but not exclusively, women—for their natural skin tone should be bad enough, the skin-bleaching industry is horrible for our health and the planet too. Its use is banned in the U.S. and Europe because it’s widely considered a potential carcinogen. The mercury in many skin-lightening products—itself a major health risk—eventually finds its way into waterways and food chains, making it a major public health threat.
Look, we know this is a complex topic tied up in centuries of slavery, colonialism and sexist beauty standards. We know that getting Fair and Lovely skin whiteners off the shelves isn’t going to stop the legacies of racism. But there is no way that Unilever should be profiting off it. Make no mistake: it knows exactly what it’s doing.
Join us as we hold Unilever to account for its hypocrisy. Demand it stops making skin-lightening products.