by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC
Delia Rose is mad as hell. The L.A. teenager is calling for a boycott of Unilever. The reason? The skin-whiteners that the corporate behemoth distributes and promotes in Malaysia and other Eastern countries…
Check out this nauseating spot for Unilever’s Fair & Lovely brand, where a dark-skinned girl enjoys career success and scores a white man only after she bleaches her skin (it’s not in English, but it’s easy to understand):
For Delia, it’s also personal: part-Latino, she has the beautiful skin tone that millions of white women are risking melanoma to attain by tanning, but which Fair & Lovely appears to hold in contempt. And that brings up the hypocrisy: in the West, Unilever’s campaign for its Dove brand is encouraging women to appreciate their “real beauty”…
The promise for inner beauty
This promise is at the heart of the brand and is the main driver behind our global Campaign For Real Beauty. For too long, beauty has been strictly defined by narrow, stifling, unrealistic rules. And many women agree. We believe real beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. Dove aims to change the status quo, break down the stereotypes and encourage a healthier and broader view of beauty.
I guess one’s attitude towards women and race pulls a 180 upon switching hemispheres, huh Unilver? (Even the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign is not without its controversy, as detailed in BusinessWeek. Apparently, master photo retoucher Pascal Dangin was hired to make the “real beauty” models more, uh, beautiful.)
At a time when both women and African-Americans are making serious political waves in the U.S., it’s stunning that Unilever is still carrying Fair & Lovely, least of all promoting it in TV commercials. Delia obviously has the moral high ground here — but she has her work cut out for her.
I recently heard about Delia’s campaign through her mother, and I’m always eager to support the next generation of anti-Neanderthal activists. Here’s hoping we adults can help their voices be heard…
Update 10/4/8: After this article ran, it had a lot of traffic from visitors on Unilever servers — who says one person’s voice can’t be heard? I then noted that they changed all the web addresses of the web pages I linked to on their site. I’ve updated them today. If you notice any broken links, please let me know!