I was doing some research on where I can donate my almost 24 inches of dreadlocks. Locks of Love will not accept dreadlocks but I came across Beautiful Lengths (http://pantene.com/en-US/beautiful-lengths-refresh/Pages/default.aspx), a non-profit partnership between the American Cancer Society and Pantene that provides hair to those in need. Anyway, when I clicked on a Pantene link, I was displeased to see the below description of a Pantene product for African-American hair (http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/african-american-hair-products.aspx):
“African-American hair tends to be dry and susceptible to damage, resulting in an out-of-control look. Pantene’s Relaxed & Natural collection for Women of Color is enriched with moisturizing oils that nourish and help protect African-American hair and achieve a sleek style”. http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/african-american-hair-products.aspx
Say what? Who determines whose hair has “an out-of-control look”? What does that mean? Unhealthy, tangled, snarled, knotty, nappy? What? I searched the other product lines to see if similar language was used for other products. No. For example, contrast the above description with the description for “Classic Care” (http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/classic-care.aspx):
“Pantene knows that healthy hair needs daily maintenance to keep it beautifully shiny from root to tip. Pantene’s Classic Care collection is basic daily care that nourishes and protectes hair to keep it looking healthy. It’s complete hair care for a classic look.”
Will someone please clarify what “classic” means? Also, notice that there are no derogatory subjective descriptions, only aspirational statements about healthy hair. Here’s another example from the “Fine Hair Solutions” http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/fine-hair-products.aspx:
“Want volume that lasts all day? Breeze past your volume test with Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions. Fine hair has up to 50% less protein than thick hair, which can leave it limp and weak. Pantene Pro-V Fine Solutions is designed to reinforce the structure of fine hair for a full, healthy look. This fine hair collection offers effective cleansers, lightweight conditioners, and styling products designed to work together for lasting results.”
Again, no derogatory subjective descriptions. Perhaps some will think that I’m being overly sensitive. However, I think that organizations need to be highly sensitive to advertisements that could be viewed as offensive to entire demographic groups. What do you think?