Three students at the University of Texas ignited an online movement celebrating women of color and condemning skin-lightening creams popular in India and Southeast Asia this month. The campaign, called #UnfairAndLovely, takes aim at the popular bleach product Fair & Lovely. An Instagram account created by the students shows someone giving a middle finger to a tube of the cream lying in a trash can. Since they created the account two weeks ago, they have uploaded dozens of photos of men and women of color from around the world, as well as encouraging others on Twitter and Instagram to upload their own photos. The campaign coincided with Reclaim the Bindi Week, which was celebrated March 8 through March 14, which aims to end cultural appropriation.
“Growing up half Indian, I was never really good enough for either side of my families but especially not my mother’s side. They would always recommend skin lightening creams so I would be more acceptable for them and society. Yet here I am, reclaiming my culture because I am my mother’s daughter regardless of if I’m fair or not,” one user wrote on the campaign’s Instagram account.
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