Updated: October 26, 2021 12:41:53 pm
On the occasion of Karwa Chauth, when married women fast for an entire day praying for a long and healthy life for their husbands, an advertisement featuring a same-sex couple celebrating the festival has triggered mixed reactions online. Post the backlash, the company has withdrawn the Karwa Chauth campaign and issued an unconditional apology “for unintentionally hurting people’s sentiments”.
Launched on October 22, the commercial features two women preparing for their first Karwa Chauth as one applies bleach on the other’s face. As the conversation continues, they discuss the significance of the festival and why they are observing the fast for their significant other.
Only towards the end of the clip is it revealed that the two women have kept the fast for one another as they spot the moon and then face their partners – in this case, each other – looking through the ritualistic sieves, a custom observed before breaking the fast.
The clip concludes with a logo of the Dabur-owned beauty brand Fem depicted in rainbow colours with the hashtag ‘Glow with Pride’. The rainbow flag is symbolic of the LGBTQIA+ social movement. Since being shared online, the clip has been greeted with mixed reactions over its message. While some have supported the brand’s initiative, others are critical of it.
“Mixed feelings about this one – accepting non-traditional relationships is good, but then promoting a misogynistic tradition and also spreading the “fair is beautiful” trope,” wrote a user while commenting on the viral clip. However, some also pointed out that fairness products are “inherently casteist and racist” and adding an “LGBTQI angle” won’t change that, while others called it conceptually flawed.
Post the criticism faced on social media, the brand has pulled back the campaign and apologised for hurting sentiments. “Fem’s Karwachauth campaign has been withdrawn from all social media handles and we unconditionally apologise for unintentionally hurting people’s sentiments,” read the tweet by Dabur’s official Twitter handle.
Fem’s Karwachauth campaign has been withdrawn from all social media handles and we unconditionally apologise for unintentionally hurting people’s sentiments. pic.twitter.com/hDEfbvkm45
— Dabur India Ltd (@DaburIndia) October 25, 2021
Why would lesbian couple celebrate a allegedly patriarchal ritual like #KarwaChauth?
The conceptualisation of the ad itself is fundamentally flawed. It seems Dabur/Fem’s only objective was to get their share of stick and outrage.
Its a new featish among brands.
— Vikrant ~ विक्रांत (@vikrantkumar) October 23, 2021
— There_is_no_try (@akanna_42) October 23, 2021
Love is love but first you need to be fair skinned
– fem/dabur https://t.co/ivXg3v8Cuf
— arcy ⚓︎ (@johnnyswifee) October 23, 2021
Well done, Fem/Dabur!
A nice film for a traditional, often-criticized festival by an otherwise conservative brand. pic.twitter.com/gHBTca6jP8
— Abhishek Baxi (@baxiabhishek) October 22, 2021
Mixed feelings about this one – accepting non traditional relationships is good, but then promoting a misogynistic tradition and also spreading the “fair is beautiful” trope.
— The Shah of Blah 🌈 (@mrgnk) October 23, 2021
Well, the only thing I didn’t like was that eagerness to get the glow…
— Reshma🦷💉 (@Chai_Coffee_etc) October 22, 2021
As much as I find the outrage over Fem Dabur ad fun, and the hypocrisy over skin colour, I still like the ad. And being someone who admires Karva Chauth, it’s actually nice to see that Gay/Lesbian can observe fast for their partner, just like traditional straight couple :)
— Nived Nambiar (@NivedNambiar8) October 23, 2021
the “tradition” is criticized with good reason. adding a queer angle to it doesn’t change that. and also, perpetuating the regressive desire to “glow” (euphimism for “fair”) 🤮
— Kannan (he/him) (@BlueJay102) October 22, 2021
Saw the new Dabur Fem Glow ad. I didn’t find it demeaning at all. They didn’t abuse any rituals. For me personally, it felt so satisfying. Because they showed the fem couple traditionally, which rarely happens (it’s usually uptown rep, etc).
So yeah, I liked the ad.
— Radha 🇮🇳 (@RK_twuwu) October 23, 2021
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