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.
In 2009, a poll of nearly 12,000 people by online dating site Shaadi.com, revealed that skin tone was considered the most important criteria when choosing a partner in three northern Indian states.
Although standards of beauty certainly vary around the world, one could still make the argument that advertising and the mainstream media still promote “white” or “white-looking” as the ideal. Some individuals lighten their skin themselves with creams — we’re looking at you, Sammy Sosa and Michael Jackson! But others are lightened (some would say “whitened”) via photo magic. Both Freida Pinto and Beyonce's modeling photos for L'Oreal have been accused of being “whitened” — although the cosmetics giant, of course, denied it on both accounts. In the end, all of this is just plain SAD. Shame on you Vaseline!