FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WOW’s petition on Change.org against Fair and Handsome ad garners a one on meet with the top brass of EMAMI
January 18th, 2014, Kolkatta — Women of Worth (WOW) , the Chennai based NGO behind the Dark is Beautiful Campaign, was invited today to a one on one meeting with Mr. Mohan Goenka, Director of Emami Group.
This was in response to a petition drive on Change.org against Fair and Handsome ad which has garnered more than 25000 online signatures from across the length and breadth of the country and even from many countries across the world, notably Pakistan, Middle Eastern countries, a few African nations, USA, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and UK.
At a closed door meeting in EMAMI’s headquarters in Kolkata with Mr. Goenka, Director, EMAMI and Ms. Mahasweta Sen, GM, Corporate Communications, Ms. Kavitha Emmanuel, Founder Director, Women of Worth, requested EMAMI to consider removing the Fair and Handsome advertisement from television screens, hoardings and magazines. She further challenged Mr. Goenka to lead the change in the current trend in fairness–products marketing and make a difference by addressing the issue of skin colour bias in the nation head on.
In response Mr. Goenka said that the advertisement will continue as they are meeting a need in the society based on their market research. He believes whitening is a global phenomenon and a trend and changing mindsets might be impossible. During the discussion he stressed how preference for fair skin has been there for generations and changing it now did not make sense. When quizzed about the 25,000 petitioners who are saying that the ad is discriminatory he said, ‘in a country with billion people I cannot answer every individual’s petition!’
“If people want to be like Shah Rukh Khan, there is nothing wrong with it. If they want to be fair, it is an aspiration,” he said. Ms. Mahasweta Sen added that ‘if the cream is helping people be more confident, what is wrong with that?’
Talking about the future of this campaign, Ms. Emmanuel added, “We hope that brands and brand ambassadors will listen to the united voices that are calling for new attitudes and new products that appreciate and celebrates the diverse skin tones in a land of 1.2 billion shades of skin. The campaign will continue to address the issue of skin colour bias and tackle unfair advertising practises with the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
About WOW: Women of Worth (WOW) is a network empowering women to be agents of change. Based in Chennai, WOW trains students in soft skills such as media literacy, gender issues and personality development. WOW initiated the “Dark is Beautiful” campaign in 2009.
Media Contact: Lydia Durairaj , +919940358429
You’ve probably asked yourself: What is Thunderclap?
Thunderclap is a new website that will allow you to join a group of people and tweet or post a facebook status in support of Dark is Beautiful at the EXACT SAME TIME, creating a wave of attention.
Imagine it to be a social network flashmob!
So, follow the link below and click on Support with Facebook, Support with Twitter, Support with Tumblr – or all three! Then click the Add My Support button.
On November 7th, a tweet or post will appear on your chosen social media platform urging people to sign the petition to end unfair advertising: change.org/darkisbeautiful.
So get ready to make some more noise: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/5918-dark-is-beautiful
By Kavitha Emmanuel | Founder and Director of WOW
It’s amazing to see how the Dark is Beautiful Campaign has gone viral. The WOW team was taken by storm. We are grateful to all our supporters for standing up with us to address this age-old belief that ‘fair alone is beautiful’.
Yes, it was our initiative BUT it has now become YOUR campaign.We also thank those who have expressed opposing views and have criticized our methodology. You challenged us to think deeper. But the fact is that we are pioneers in this effort and have no precursors we can learn from. We learn from our own mistakes and are willing to take risks.
Our focus for the campaign remains the same: to address the toxic belief that a person’s worth is measured by the colour of their skin. We do not plan to delve into the reasons why this belief exists. We want to look beyond that and seek solutions to change prevalent attitudes against dark skin.
We are concerned about factors that endorse and propagate skin colour bias presently in our environment. However, our goal is not to point fingers but to rather instigate and inspire change. It’s time for a new wave of thinking towards skin colour. It’s time to redefine beauty. Not based on skin colour, but on a person’s innate worth.
We would like everyone to see the image of the Creator in all people irrespective of their gender, skin colour, caste or social standing. It’s time to change what we see on our TV screens. It’s time we change what we teach our children about their skin colour. It’s time to challenge what we traditionally see on our matrimonial columns.
As Miss America, Nina Davuluri said: let’s rise above colours! The time has come for a paradigm shift in our globalized world to embrace cultural, racial and skin colour diversity.
I have watched a commercial for a fairness product on TV that says: Dark is out, fair is in!
But the Dark is Beautiful campaigners would like to say: “The old attitude towards skin colour is OUT; celebrating beauty beyond colouris in.” Colour correction not required anymore!
Kavitha Emmanuel is passionate about campaigning for issues concerning women, children and the underprivileged. She is the proud mother of WOW’s youngest champion, Ritika Emmanuel.
Kavitha finds great fulfilment in helping women realize their dreams and live up to their full potential. She founded Women of Worth (WOW) with a vision to empower, train and motivate women to ‘Be the Best They can Be’. She is always looking for opportunities to create avenues for change that will make the world a better place for women.
By The Dark is Beautiful Team.
“Fair and Handsome” and Shah Rukh Khan: We don’t want ZYADA; we’ve had ENOUGH of fairness products and “unfair” advertising. #disbcampaign #darkisbeautiful
In the new “Fair and Handsome” ad, Shah Rukh Khan tosses a tube of fairness cream to a young fan. In the next scene, the boy’s skin grows whiter, his smile brightens and his hopes rise. The message: Fair skin is a prerequisite for success.
Such irresponsible advertising propagates discrimination among men, women – and even children.
Why this colourism? India is a nation made up of people with different shades and colours of skin – from yellow to light brown and darker shades of brown. Why not celebrate every shade?
Actress Nandita Das has observed, “Now the insecurities of men are also surfacing with equal number of fairness products for them. Such pressure and so little public debate around it!”
Now is the time to let “Fair and Handsome” and brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan know that our country is ready to shed age-old biases and let every person feel comfortable in their own skin.
Join us in challenging Emami to lead the change by introducing products that complement all complexions and that focus on healthy skin and protection against skin cancer.
This petition is the latest initiative of the Dark is Beautifulcampaign. Since 2009, the campaign has been challenging women and girls to see “Beauty Beyond Colour.” Now, with this change.org petition, we are speaking up for men and boys, who are also targets of “unfair” advertising.
Together, let us raise our voices to reflect a nation that celebrates every shade of beautiful and handsome!
It only takes 30 seconds to sign the petition to make Emami and SRK lead the change in ridding the country of it’s skin colour bias. Click on the link to sign: www.change.org/darkisbeautiful
If you don’t agree with the petition or the Dark is Beautiful campaign, we want to hear from you. This is the platform to address your opinions and concerns. Healthy debates are those that enrich our minds and tears down walls. Feel free to leave us a note and check back to make sure we respond.
– The Dark is Beautiful Team