Shortly after HUL dropped the word fair from its product 'Fair & Lovely', shaadi.com announced it would remove the skin tone criteria filter from its site.
The matrimonial section of newspapers is often inundated with ads looking for 'homely', 'well-educated' and 'beautiful' brides. The precursor to all these requisites is that the bride has to be fair skinned. Many matrimonial ads specify the complexion that the family is looking for, irrespective of the gender that's on the hunt.
However, brands all over the world are forced to relook their brand values in the context of colourism and racism. After HUL dropped the word 'Fair' from its product Fair & Lovely, shaadi.com announced that it would be removing the skin tone filter from the site.
How it works is that when a user signs up on the site, they had the option to select the skin tone they wanted their partner to have. The filter was preceded by factors like age and gender, almost normalising the preference for a person with a certain skin tone.
The New Indian Express reported that a Shaadi.com spokesperson said that there was “no skin color filter on Shaadi.com, on any of its platforms” and that the object of the outrage was a “several-year-old product debris” left-over in one of its advanced search pages. This feature, it said, was “non-functional and barely used and hence it did not come to (its) attention.”
News of the filter first came to the forefront when a Change.org petition surfaced a couple of weeks ago, asking the site to take down the skin tone filter.
“When a user highlighted this, we were thankful and had the remnants removed immediately as it was a non-functional aspect of the product which very few users even stumbled across. Since there was no user impact and product debris is a fairly common occurrence in tech companies, we took it in our stride accordingly. We do not discriminate based on skin color and our member base is as diverse and pluralistic as the world today is," the spokesperson said, as reported by TNIE.