#loreal

L’Oreal whitewashes 1,300 years of Japanese culture

L’Oreal is the latest company to fold to the cancel culture by removing removing the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products. The cosmetics brand will still sell the creams which is basically as hypocritical as it gets.

If L’Oreal truly wanted to take a stand and put an end to systemic racism, it would dictate to its core customers that they need to check their bigotry and ban the creams as the tool to enforce correct behaviours.

The irony of skin whitening creams is that whites make up a tiny slice of users. Indeed Asian women make up the bulk of the buyers.

Did L’Oreal realize that during the Nara Period (710–94), Japanese women painted their face with a white powder called oshiroi? This was also documented in texts during the Heian Period (794–1185). White facial colour stood as a symbol of beauty then as it does today.

So that is to say the Japanese self-determined their own views on beauty over 1,300 years ago, before the country ever encountered “gaijin”, a name that came 500 years later when Kublai Khan tried to invade in the 13th Century.

You can learn more about the skin whitening cream market here. Note it also includes the wonderful success story of a black woman, Rachel Roff, who filled a gap in the market by targeting people of colour with products the racist (?) product developers at J&J never bothered to cater to because they deemed it uncommercial.

Never mind, you’ve been told by L’Oreal.

Would you do this to your employer and expect to remain there?

These messages from black, queer and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf have done the rounds of late. Note L’Oreal has NOT made these comments.

Munroe Bergdorf, who has been a consultant on the UK diversity and inclusion advisory board of L’Oréal Paris since June 2020, wrote these comments back in 2017, when she was signed as a model for the cosmetic giant’s diversity campaign. L’Oreal sacked her for these comments.

Perhaps more surprising after being sacked, Bergdorf exclaimed, “It puzzles me that my views are considered out of touch and extreme…it is horrible and awful to think that people hate me.

One has to question why L’Oreal has chosen to use her services again? After all, on June 1 she said,

You dropped me from a campaign in 2017 and threw me to the wolves for speaking out about racism and white supremacy. With no duty of care, without a second thought…I had to fend for myself being torn apart by the world’s press because YOU didn’t want to talk about racism. You do NOT get to do this. This is NOT okay, not even in the slightest.”

But fear not,

While what happened three years ago was extremely traumatic for me personally and professionally, sitting on a board to provide a voice and a champion for black, trans and queer voices in the beauty industry is important for me…It feels good to finally have closure on this matter and I look forward to new beginnings with the L’Oreal team.

FNF Media wonders what the response would be for any normal employee to sound off at their place of work and not face some sort of sanction? As Thomas Sowell said,

Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today, some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered discrimination.