Unilever, the company that makes Dove soap and other beauty and personal care products, announced this week that it would stop using the word “normal” on its packaging because it’s not inclusive enough.
Reuters reported that the London-based company will also “stop digital alterations of body shapes and skin colour of models used in its advertising.”
The change comes after Unilever received backlash for certain advertising campaigns, including anger last year from some for the name of its top selling skin-lightening brand “Fair & Lovely,” which is sold in India. People online claimed the name stereotyped darker skin tones, so Unilever changed the name to “Glow & Lovely.”
The company last year also had to pull advertising from its TRESemmé brand in South Africa, after consumers complained that the marketing campaign included pictures of African black hair described as “frizzy and dull” alongside pictures of a white woman’s hair described as “normal,” Reuters reported in September.
Further, Unilever in 2017 angered social media users for a Dove body wash ad that featured a “black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman,” Reuters reported.
“We know that removing ‘normal’ alone will not fix the problem, but we believe it is an important step towards a more inclusive definition of beauty,” Sunny Jain, president of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division, told the outlet.
There doesn’t appear to be any backlash that caused the current move by Unilever to remove the word “normal” from its packaging, but a poll conducted by the company that surveyed 10,000 people found global support for removing the word.
The poll found that more than 50% of respondents said using the word “normal” to describe hair or skin led to people feeling excluded. A full 70% of respondents claimed use of the word had a negative impact on consumers.
“The company also said it would stop digitally altering body shape, size, proportion and skin tones of models it uses in its own advertisements, or those of its paid influencers across all its brands, a move that started with the Dove brand in 2018,” Reuters reported.
Inclusivity is the latest buzz word gripping companies and organizations in America. In mid-February, The Daily Wire reported that the U.S. Navy had published a report on “Inclusion and Diversity,” which included a pledge to “advocate for and acknowledge” all “intersectional identities.” The pledge states:
- As a key member of Task Force One Navy I will invest the time, attention and empathy required to analyze and evaluate Navywide issues related to racism, sexism, ableism and other structural and interpersonal biases.
- I pledge to be actively inclusive in the public and private spheres where I live and work, and proactively encourage others to do the same.
- I pledge to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.
- I pledge to engage in ongoing self-reflection, education and knowledge sharing to better myself and my communities.
- I pledge to be an example in establishing healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environments.
- I pledge to constructively share all experiences and information gained from activities above to inform the development of Navywide reforms.
In January, House Democrats announced they would remove allegedly non-inclusive words like “father,” “mother,” “son,” “daughter,” “brother,” “sister,” etc. and replace them with “parent,” “child,” “sibling,” and others. Pronouns would also largely be removed, as would masculine versions of job titles, such as “seaman,” which would be replaced with “seafarers,” The Daily Wire reported.
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