Dabur's recently published Fem bleach commercial, which caused quite a stir on social media, was eventually removed by the firm. A segment of social media users attacked the commercial, which portrayed a same-sex couple getting set to celebrate their first 'Karva Chauth' while using Fem bleach, for offending Hindu sentiments.
While the intention was to juxtapose a traditional Hindu rite with an inclusive message, it was not well received, and another problematic component of the commercial was that it still appealed to the fair complexion mentality that is so prominent in Indian society. The underlying reason for the commercial's removal was the backlash it received for depicting two women enjoying 'Karva Chauth.'
Dabur's decision was also elevated after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra stated on Monday that he has asked the state police head to convey to Dabur India to drop the advertisement and take legal action if the consumer goods producer does not do so.
“I consider this a serious matter. More so because such advertisements and clippings are made on the rituals of Hindu festivals only. They (the advertisement) showed lesbians celebrating Karva Chauth and seeing each other through a sieve. In the future, they will show two men taking ‘feras’ (marrying each other according to Hindu rituals). This is objectionable," Mishra had said.
Dabur India issued the following statement while removing the ad from all of its social media accounts. Many applauded Dabur's decision to withdraw the 'objectionable' commercial, but many others felt that the advertisement was inclusive and should not have been removed.
While many praised the ad for its inclusiveness when it initially aired, many also expressed concern about the continuous proliferation of the 'fair skin notion,' which has been widely denounced as racist. Many others also objected to the idea of a traditional Hindu celebration being modernized in this way.