Vaseline launches skin lightening Facebook application in India

Bottle of Vaseline lightening cream named 'Beautifully White'
Vaseline’s “Healthy White” Skin Lightening Cream

Skin lightening creams have been the rage in India for a while now. Even India Vogue’s attempt at embracing “color” diversity failed to show a woman with dark skin. Vaseline marketing on the growing trend of skin lightening has released an application that allows people to lighten their Facebook profile pictures.

Skincare group Vaseline has introduced a skin-lightening application for Facebook in India, enabling users to make their skin whiter in their profile pictures.

The download is designed to promote Vaseline’s range of skin-lightening creams for men, a huge and fast-growing market driven by fashion and a cultural preference for fairer skin.

The widget promises to “transform your face on Facebook with Vaseline Men” in a campaign fronted by Bollywood actor Shahid Kapur, who is depicted with his face divided into dark and fair halves.

Astounding. I don’t know what is more upsetting to me, that Vaseline would make this product or that India is so market-ready for it. Skin color is a very controversial issue in India and the desire for “fairer” skin dates back almost before colonization.

India is not the only country where skin lightening creams have become popular and the circulation of American advertising, movies, magazines and fashion has some impact on Indian desires for fairer skin. But it is not just Western influence alone, the multi-million dollar entertainment industry in India has independently held up white standards of beauty.

What is even more frightening is they have found a lot of these skin creams to have unknown health risks associated with them and they have been sold despite attempts at regulation. So shame on Vaseline for not only marketing off a disgusting, racist trend but also potentially harming its customers.

Related Posts: Indian Vogue takes on color prejudice
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