Thanks to the Black Lives Matter Movement, we have finally entered the 21st century. A leading matrimonial website Shaadi.com finally removed its skin colour search filter after thousands of people signed an online petition. Started by a US-based woman of Indian origin Hetal Lakhani, the petition against the biasness received an enormous response as around 1,500 signatures were made within 14 hours. Previously, the website asked users to search for their partners on the basis of skin descriptions like 'fair,' 'wheatish,' and 'dark.' She wrote in her petition, "The obsession with fair skin is still notorious within South Asian communities. We demand that Shaadi.com permanently remove its skin colour filter to prevent users from selectively searching for matches based on their preferred skin colour."
The idea of starting the petition came to her when she saw a Facebook post from Meghan Nagpal, who was using Shaadi.com. She copied her tweet into a Facebook group for South Asian women and asked for a discussion about its importance. Nagpal's tweet read, "@ShaadiDotCom have you thought that you should maybe remove the skin color option on your profiles? Colorism has proven to be dangerous #SouthAsians4BlackLives #endcolorism #BlackLivesMattter."
Hetal's petition was noticed by influential blogger Roshni Patel who shared the same with her 80,000 followers and also tagged Shaadi.com. Her tweet got a response from the site who said, "Since we do not collect or capture this information on our platform, one cannot filter profiles using this. Hence, this search filter has no implications on matchmaking. That said, the search filter was blind spot from our side and we have removed it."
Soon fans started celebrating the achievement and wrote about the same on Twitter. However, there was a segment of people who were still dissatisfied and demanded the removal of 'caste' and the 'gender' filter as well.
Previously, Hindustan Unilever, in a statement announced that it will drop the word 'fair' from its skin-lightening cream Fair & Lovely which has been a topic of criticism for quite a long time. "We are making our skincare portfolio more inclusive ... a more diverse portrayal of beauty," Hindustan Unilever Chairman Sanjiv Mehta said in a statement. After the judgement, various reactions poured out on Twitter as well both from celebrities and users.