A matchmaking website popular among South Asians, Shaadi.com, just announced that it has removed the skin tone filter following an online backlash.
According to CNN, “the backlash was brought about by three women who have never met but whose combined outrage and action led to the change”.
It started with a tweet by Toronto-based Meghan Nagpal who is a Shaadi.com user.
“She had decided to get back on the dating site around the same time that protesters were taking to the streets in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police,” read the news website.
The site asked users to indicate the color of their skin using descriptors like “fair,” “wheatish,” and “dark” and allowed users to search for potential partners on the basis of their skin color.
Given the renewed focus on racism and discrimination, she tweeted the website asking them if it was time to retire their skin color filter.
Nagpal copied her tweet into a Facebook group for South Asian women, prompting a discussion about its relevance.
She later emailed Shaadi.com about its policy and was told that the filter “is required by most parents”.
The website is the largest dating site catering to Indian and Pakistani communities abroad, replacing the role of a traditional matchmaker.
“Nagpal posted the company’s response in the Facebook group sparking outrage from another group user, Hetal Lakhani who lives in Dallas,” said the news network. “Lakhani was so fired up she decided she had to make Shaadi.com change it.”
“The only way you can do it is if you have signatures on a piece of paper and you can see here, so many people want you to make a change, so please make a change,” she told CNN.
That same day, Lakhani created a Change.org petition to “Remove the colour filter from Matrimonial Website.”
The next day, on June 11, Shaadi.com posted on Twitter that the filter was a “blindspot” and that it had been removed.
https://t.co/PSq8gOhufE.— MissRoshni (@MissRoshni) June 11, 2020
Dear @ShaadiDotCom I am sad that this is what you are promoting! Totally wrong – totally disrespectful- totally disgusting! To add a filter to a dating site because of our skin complexion! What are we teaching our South Asian gen! Sick to my stomach! pic.twitter.com/iK3oCTHfw4
Um.. so then why does your site have an option to filter your photo? You do realize that’s wrong? You are basically faking the color of your skin on a dating site where you find love. So what is the “reasoning” behind the filter? Do care to explain. We need valid reasons… https://t.co/alhTN7UrRJ— MissRoshni (@MissRoshni) June 11, 2020