Can a company which has sold and profited from beauty and glamorizing products for dozens of years, now take a moral high-ground and ask “How Much Beauty is Enough?”
If there is a restatement of core values at HUL, then there should be complete reinvention, with an acknowledgement that traditional notions of beauty, which it was complicit in promoting and benefiting from, are fading out. It should not be made to appear that a beauty brand pandering to insecurities and the desire to look fairer, lovelier, does at heart feel that we, as a society, should ‘Stop the Beauty Test’. No Sir, this does not come through as an affirmation of your belief system – it jars.
I would go so far as to say that this sudden conscient awakening is not an inner-drive. This is compelled by the fact that your consumer herself has metamorphosed into someone who will question societal definitions of beauty, and social pressures to look a certain way. She will go out of her way to jilt products and brands that appear aligned to these regressive ideas.
The women in this video, the ones who get subjected to covering their god-given shape, who quiver when commented on that their skin-tone is not clear (rang utna saaf nahi hai), and who look away when told the hair preference of the opposite party is straight, not curvy, they don’t exist in droves any more. Women in every nook and corner are a highly self-awakened lot. I myself have been eliminating products that say ‘fairness’, ‘anti-ageing’ and ‘anti-wrinkle’, since I started shopping for creams and moisturizers 40 years back. I ONLY chose from personal care items that do not carry such off-putting terminology in their product detailing. And this is not outlier behavior –I am merely a statistic in a trend, a wave.
I am also happily surprised to note that millennials and teens of today, yes, the ones who spend all their time on Instagram, Tik Tok and glued to their smart phones – they have a strong political identity, even if it is built on a foundation of social media. As a mother and generational observer, I am exalted to see that most of these young women are not slaves to beauty, and beautifying and ‘fairifying’ products. They are the generation which brought in anti body shaming consciousness. Their role models are baggy clothes-wearing, fashion-disrupting youth icons like Billie Eilish.
HUL and other mega brands are not redefining the concept of beauty and style. The self-assured new-age woman is reshaping brand strategy and market positioning at these global MNCs. Let’s give credit where it’s due. And call the bluff when it needs to be.