Unilever to Ban the Word ‘Normal’ to Reflect a “Broader Definition of Beauty”

Unilever announced today that the word ‘normal’ would be removed universally across the company’s subsidiaries as part of commitments outlined in a new “positive beauty vision and strategy”. 

The ban comes after the British multi-national corporation ran a survey spanning ten thousand participants across nine countries. According to Unilever, the survey found that 56% of respondents “said that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded”, whilst “seven in ten [people] said the beauty and personal care industry must broaden its definition of beauty”. It was found that “six in ten [respondents] said the industry creates a singular ideal of who or what is ‘normal’” and that this singular ideal “made them feel [that] they should look a certain way.”

Sunny Jain, President of Unilever Beauty & Personal Care, stated that the company was “committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty”. According to Mr Jain, consumers are increasingly "rewarding brands" that take action on environmental and social issues and noted the campaign would make Unilever a "more successful business".

The company has committed to “end[ing] all digital alterations that change a person’s body shape, size, proportions or skin colour” and “increase the number of ads portraying people from diverse, under-represented groups.”

The company outlined three main commitments:

According to Unilever, the commitments will be fulfilled by “working alongside law-makers” and “animal protection organisations” such as PETA. The actions taken will “benefit billions of lives and help transform systems by advocating for new policies, laws and social norms, to do more good for people, communities and the planet.”