It's 2024 and we are still endorsing whitening creams | The Express Tribune

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Rabia Anum Obaid and Soul Sisters Pakistan founder Kanwal Ahmed are rightfully fed up with advertisements that showcase the need for fairness creams. Both of the prominent personalities have taken to their social media platforms to express their dismay over a recent fairness cream advertisement that perpetuates harmful beauty standards. The advertisement, which both women find inappropriate, encourages men to urge their partners to use a skin-whitening cream in a derogatory manner.

Rabia, addressing the issue on X (formerly Twitter), expressed her shock at witnessing the ad. She highlighted that the ad encourages men to ask their partners to use the cream for skin whitening, using a disrespectful tagline, “Apni partner ko dekho or ab mujhe dekho” (Look at your partner and now look at me). Obaid passionately called for an end to such ads, emphasising that it’s the year 2024 and that society should move beyond such regressive marketing.

Kanwal, the founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, echoed Rabia’s sentiments in her own post on X and Instagram. She condemned the fairness cream advertisement in a society where men are provided with another reason to demean their partners. Kanwal expressed her dismay that even in 2024, fairness creams continue to be endorsed in Pakistan, perpetuating the harmful idea of comparing women based on their complexion.

In her social media post, Kanwal highlighted her discontent with the fact that such advertisements still exist, reinforcing the societal pressure on women to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. She called the creation of such ads “sick” and highlighted the need to challenge and dismantle these damaging norms. 

“In a society where many men need a reason to demean their partners – some thought it would be a great idea to make this ad,” said Kanwal. “Sick that even in 2024 fairness creams are being sold in Pakistan and endorsing the idea of comparing women on the basis of their complexion.” Taking a firm stance against the same, Kanwal used the hashtag ‘Colorism’, denouncing the promotion of discriminatory beauty standards based on skin tone.

The condemnation by both Rabia and Kanwal sheds light on the persistent issues of colourism and beauty standards perpetuated by the beauty industry. Their calls for putting an end to such advertisements resonate with many who advocate for a more inclusive and empowering portrayal of beauty in the media. As influential figures, their statements add momentum to the ongoing conversation about redefining beauty standards and promoting acceptance and diversity in the modern era.

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