Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Fair!

Does success come only to beautiful people?

Does success come only to fair people?

Does beauty mean only fair skin?

It seems so, even to this day. If you have been keeping a tab on few of the latest advertisements, there is one very latest one which has brought out a new men's fairness cream to the market.

The advertisement goes something like this - A person is shown questioning another guy in an interview. The questions are what an interviewer asks an interviewee. But it turns out the other way, it is the interviewee who puts up an over-confident aggressive behavior and asks "When do you want me to join?" Then the panel of interviewers are revealed on the screen and the interviewer who was questioned all the while says "Tomorrow".

What follows is the blah-blah of confidence and other positive qualities that seems to come by using fairness cream! All these days, they were selling this preposterous idea depicting women as victims of having a dark skin; lack of job opportunities, delay in marriage and all that nonsense. Now men too!!

What I admire is the chutzpah of these marketing team to go ahead with such concepts to sell. Or is it that they are merely taking advantage of our weakness to fair skin? When the British left, they left behind the concept of fair skin dominance and success! How sad. Why is the infatuation with fair skin among us?

Why do we have to blame the advertising agencies? They are doing their homework well. How many parents are happy with a dusky girl baby? Lets be honest here, even though it would be unbelievable. My mom has tried all her mighty best to pursue me in applying creams and consuming food that could 'improve' my color. I do not blame her. Poor thing!! she wanted her child to find better prospectus. Is this not a deep rooted racism? Are we not insulting ourselves? Look around, bus stops, TV, magazines, in stores - you see hoardings everywhere. Any marriage advertisements read thus - Fair skinned. Have you see any marriage advertisements or proposals asking for "DARK/DUSKY" only apply?

We do talk at length about how America had arrived when Mr. Obama was made the President. There is no craze for fairness creams in America. Dark skinned models are used as frequently as the white ones. There are no qualms, of course there are exceptions as everywhere else. Yet our media went gung-ho about the global progress American achieved.

And we see - skin lightening cream, white glow? What is that white glow? Why don't we understand our skin is not of that type. Indian movies influence us a lot, how many dusky beauties do we see in movies? Or why are they branded DUSKY and others not branded "WHITE' or 'FAIR'? The WHITEST is the most successful and highest paid. Teleserials and movies also tend to have a story line around how the duskier girl finds it tough to find a guy for marriage. A girl is dejected as she never gets an opportunity, she uses fairness cream and becomes an actress and gets the Best Actor Award!!

Does anyone of us recall any advertisement which uses dark-skinned Indian to sell the product? If you saw one or two, they would be a playing a peon, sweeper...Heights of absurdness.

Fairness cream market share is alone over whopping 700 crore in India, and the annual growth rate is not less than 20%. Our skin texture is different. Achieving fairness, at what cost? The main ingredient is bleaching agent, so we know what it would do to the skin. Do the fairness cream deliver what it promises? NO!! Everyone knows that it would do more harm than good.

Yet, why is the market so thriving and influential that our superstars endorse it? These superstars whom millions revere are not ashamed. Do you recall the tag line of Fair N Lovely? THE POWER OF BEAUTY. Our preconceived notion that fair is beautiful and that being fair means success comes without any effort. What does it mean by the Power of Beauty? So dusky ones don't stand a chance at all? Or worse, don't they deserve a chance at all?

And LOREAL's WHITE PERFECT? Notice it? Aishwarya Rai promotes it. Time and over, influential people like these keep taunting their fellow citizens that skin color matters, even when its only a minor percentage that are fair skinned here.

We talk at length about talent and at the same time run behind acquiring fair skin guaranteeing success? Are we Indians schizophrenic? If so, its high time we get sane!


  1. oh I hate these ads..I am fine with my simple and plain looks..fair kisko hona hai..not that I have dark complexion or I am a hot and dusky babe, I have wheatish complexion and I am very much happy with it..I dont even use talcum powder, to baaki sab ka sawal hi nai aata hai..

    I know which ad you are referring to..i have seen it and find it stupid so are SRK fair and handsome ads..I have a soft corner for John and Shahid, so I will not mention them; but I hate fairness cream ads, period!

  2. Are you talking abt this second time in at b log?

    anyway I am a forgetful person...:)

    yeah thats a major mental epidemic world wide, not only India.

    White/fair Skin.

    nice post...keep smiling..

  3. Very well said!! We are the same Indians who fought the Britishers against their color based discrimination. And today we have this crazy craze for fair skin!!
    And the ad campaigns for these fairness creams is just weird.

  4. Ans 1: No
    Ans 2: No
    Ans 3: No

    I'm sure now you know what I think ;)

  5. thu. i hate fair skinned people and everything that comes with it.free

  6. A fair take on fairness cream cos and the idea of beauty=fair. But there are so many awfully fair women and men who can't find a match, can't land a job , and are not confident. So, its just in the mind. The more you think that dusky/dark girl/boy is unacceptable, the more you feel it to be the truth.

  7. well this is indeed real... well athuku we cant help it... we all look at the opposite sex only if they are fair and nala colorraa irukanum, thats there in 80% of us... so tats wat the media does and everyone.. if we were to blame ..kadavul than. But comparitvely i think v guys dont care abt skin color.. at least far as i knw... bcos naan bayangara color athunal than...if yu hav trouble in decoding my comment...pls ping me :)

  8. The copywriter is just doing his job. He gets a brief from the company and there it goes.
    Even today, we do unconsciously refer to a fair skinned girl as "mem".
    The reasons for the sudden interest is the explosion of TV reach.Men and Women, both, in smaller cities do watch TV and certainly get tempted to look like SRK or may be Ash.But, nothing wrong with their desire to look good not realising that they are being cheated.
    It is a vicious circle. Stars get paid in crores,agencies make tonnes of money, TV gets the ad and it is the poor gullible client who gets to pay for all this.

  9. I know, Media always try to portrays useless stuff and we the consumer believe them.. About the color of the skin, Black never signify ugly.. Some of the hottest women on earth like Beyonce, salma hayek and Halle Berry are not white..

  10. This is one of those issues which reminds us that something is fundamentally wrong. Good thought provoking post.

  11. Makk,

    I did talk about crazy advertisements about beauty products sometime. This is exclusively about fairness creams. I am so glad you remember by old posts :-)

    Color bias is not as rampant as it is in India. I could give more examples. Westerners pay money to get tanned. You would have definitely heard the phrase "Tall, Dark and handsome". No one says "Tall, Fair and handsome"

    Thank you for your comments.

  12. Neha,

    True, if one understands that these wont change us in anyway, thats enough.

  13. Shilpa,

    Thank you. Exactly!! We are insane!! I cant stand these advertisements!

  14. Nu,

    Thank you. I get your point :-)

  15. soin,

    :-) Poor them!! I pray they dont come near you.

  16. Holy Lama,

    I agree, its all in the mind. But how many people think this way? Rare!
    Its got to do with the conventional thought, caste and color too. I have not talked about it, but its unsaid truth that the color was associated with caste since long time in our country. Hope it fades. Thanks much for your comments.

  17. Hary,

    You all look at opposite sex only if they are fair??? So who all Hary??
    Thats pathetic. Thats what I say, we cant blame the advertising agencies, the media. They are just selling to us what we have believed in.

    I did not have any trouble decoding your comment :-)

  18. Chowla sir,

    Yes, its got to do with us. The agencies, the media all just make use of this phenomenon. You say, whats wrong in desiring to look good like stars? Nothing wrong. The stars must not take their fans for a ride just because they revere them!

    There needs some ethics and morality being in an influential position which they lack. thank you for your comments sir.

  19. A.K,

    Thanks for your comments. You gave some right examples. :-)

  20. Gautam,

    Yeah, thats it. Fundamentally wrong! :-)

  21. This really needs a thought..
    Does our complexion really matter in such cases?
    Obviously SHahid, SRK, Aish n others are paid huge sums of money to do all this and we totally get into their talks.
    Dont know why we react this way.
    This calls for a change, a real big change...
    Something has been taught wrongly to all of us..
    Something is really wrong..

    Hats off for taking such a topic.


  22. I know...i hate these ads too. And we accuse other countries of being racists. And who said dark skinned are not beautiful or successful. They are beautiful and are very successful in life. Dont know why no one bans these ads

  23. good article
    In India using technology models are shown more beautiful.
    if this happens in USA media targets such models.
    Yes i agree with you in India fair skin is important which is wrong and marriage columns are also filled with
    want fair bride.

  24. These ad's are stupid. I dont know why we are obsessed with looks of a person. We never bother whats on the inside, we assume if a package is pretty outside its awesome inside but is that really the case?

  25. yu took it wrong Bindu... not me.. everyone..95% of them are like this..they dont show this out.. in fact neenga parthinga na.. movies la also they depict like that.. so no option to ppl... enaku karupu than romba pidikum... enoda gal kuda apadi than.. anyways.. hope yu get wat me telling

  26. you're tagged

  27. i have my own treatments and funda's to everything.Just when the whole world i following something,i try taking my way to things..wierd i know..:P But kinda helps me..

  28. Gayathri,

    Exactly!! Accuse others and behave as if we are too liberal!
    I think the same, whoever certifies and approves these ads?

  29. sm,

    thanks. Very true, here we are not accountable to anyone as in other developed countries.

  30. Harini,

    Oh yes!! they are. Thats why I said beauty is just skin deep for most of us and how sad that is.

  31. Hary,

    I am sorry!! Oh nalla rhyming-a irukku la. I misinterpreted your statement.
    I agree, most of us are that way!! either we are nurtured with these thoughts or we get influenced.

    Movies!! I get reminded of the song "Vanga kadal ellai" from Sura where they show a black model. And you have to see Vijay's expression then, as if she is a trash!! As if that guy is very fair!

    Unga gal kooda na? Oye!! Enna visahayam? sollavaey illa :-P

  32. Nu,

    thanks much. Sure will take up :-)

  33. Madhu,

    Thanks. As long as it helps you, its fine! :-)

  34. How much do i abhor this concept myself!!!

    Dusky beauties are more beautiful on any day...i tell you!!!

    nice...you brought the idea forward....must have made many think!!!

    keep writing gal....nice to be reading u back...i've missed a lotta action here 4 sure!!:)

  35. What a though provoking post. People always forget beauty is skin deep and I think real beauty should come from with in.But will Indians ever learn. sigh !!!

  36. Nipun,

    Yeah, we have to give this a thought. The stars could sell themselves for money, but poor people remain oblivious and fall for it
    Its been wrongly followed and these thoughts instilled in us. We need to change the way we think.

    I am glad you liked it. :-)

  37. Jaunty,

    :-) We need to think, we all need to think. Its high time.
    Thank you for your wonderful comments and encouragement. See ya around :-)

  38. chitra,

    Thank you. Rightly said. Will we ever learn??

  39. I know that pay to be dark..

    I guess thats more because of white skin attract more skin disease as compared to TANNED.


  40. Makk,

    Good. Not necessarily. Getting tanned is purely for cosmetic and beauty reasons. If they want to avoid skin disease as you mention, there are better medical ways :-)

  41. Bipasha Basu, Kajol, Rani Mukherji, Dipika Padukone and to an extent Aishwarya, are "dusky" beauties and are as popular as Priety Zinta and Katrina Kaif. However if you take the average person, fair is usually more pleasant to look at than dark complexioned average women (I am not talking of the exceptional dark and dusky beauties like Halle Berry and Bipasha Basu) Media, the british raj and social perceptions have nothing to do with it. At first glance if there is a fair guy standing next to a very dark, pitch dark guy, the fair guy will catch your attention (or the fair girl, if one happens to be a guy)In a mixed country where fair and dark people co-exist, it is inevitable that media will utilize the fair is beautiful factor. I am not supporting it but just saying its a fact, its not a media created or a british raj created thing, I live in Europe and have faced a discrimination against my "brown" skin which in India was called "fair". Its ironical but its all relative. When you say that in the west its all equal, you see equal number of black models etc, thats not true. In the west also, the "normal" (and lets not talk of Halle Berry here) black person is not considered the most good looking. So if one is discriminated against it is wrong. But if someone says fair is beautiful then i will shrug and say "ok accepted, but so what, beautiful is not everything"

  42. Merlin,

    Welcome :-)

    I appreciate your views. I agree all mentioned actresses are equally popular. But if you notice, sometimes..I repeat sometimes, Bipasha Basu's name might be prefixed with a "dusky". Does it happen with Katrina Kaif? I have not read anywhere "fair" Katrina Kaif...blah..blah..

    Now why do we feel that fair is more pleasant that dusky? The British Raj has nothing to do with us being color biased, but they did aggravate the already created division - Fair is superior tag.

    Talking about the social circumstances, we cannot dismiss the color bias w.r.t caste as well, which is very prominent in India. Let me give an example. A person belonging to Brahmin caste is assumed to be fair by default. I have seen it, experienced it. A duskier color is a doubt!

    I dont know if you have ever come across such incidents. I dont blame the media, I dont blame the stars, I blame ourselves. We, our craziness for fair skin has fed them the opportunity which they are utilizing. And it requires a bit of ethics and morality which no one seems to have in this rat race. The media and the stars being so influential, should understand they do have some responsibility towards the society.

    I understand when you say about you living in Europe and having to face discrimination. I have lived in North America for a short time and I have faced it as well. I dont say its equal in the west, if you read my lines, I have told there are exceptions everywhere. My point is that its present and when its present, its obvious discrimination. Whereas here, its taken for granted that its perfectly normal and not a discrimination.

    And we cant point fingers at others accusing them of discrimination when we ourselves do it day in and day out.

    Thanks a lot for your comments. I very much appreciate it.

  43. we scream aloud when others treat racially abuses India ... but infact we are more racist than we think... total hypocrats...
    wonderful article.

  44. Rajlakshmi,

    Thats what my point is :-) Thanks a lot.

  45. When you say "fair" performance, you mean "average" performance. When you say "fair judgement", you mean "judgement free from bias" . When you say "fair words", you mean "courteous". And here we got "fair" that is anything but average, free from bias & courteous...Ironic isn't it!

    Yeah...a lot of people, especially in India, are crazy about the "fair" race. The Matrimonials are full of them, like you said. And the "white skin" on the other hand would give anything (strip themselves to their underwear) to get a tan.

    Such is life!

  46. RGB,

    Superb!! Very nicely said. Ironic I bet!!

    :-) We always chase what we dont have :-P

  47. Ah! Wonderful observations on the state of people's minds. The media, the ads, the movies have injected in so solid images of perfection in people's mind, all painted in white! What can we do, unless we try our part to get out of it. Lets unite and break this absurd idea of fair skin racism!

    Now, all being said, why is it that the right girl of my concepts is all fair and snow-whity?? ;)

  48. et,

    You said it right. The onus is on us to break this myth.

    And your final statement, I do not get it :-|

  49. I read a comment and i must agree with them we INDIANs are the most hypocrate and racist people .. OH YES .. WE ARE ..

    anyway beautiful.. what is beauty, doesnot it lie in the eyes of the beholder.. what you think beautiful maynot be for me ..

    but i ma sure the answer to your question is YES.. it does happen success may come to people who are good looking , that could work for there advantage .. But then such success dont last long.. how many actually beautiful people or i shud say BEAUTIFUL LOOKING people are there who actually maintain that success rate.. cause one day no matter what as said in these beautiful punjabi words

    BEETE WELE NU fer pachtaingi tun
    ne tere muh which na jadon dand rehne
    kihnu fer has ke vakhaigi tun

    tere naina di jot jawab de doo
    kihde naal fer nain milayengi toon

    Ni mahi waaste jod lai daaj apna
    ni khali hath nikamiye jayengi toon

    So end of the day all this beautfy , the fairness will mean nothing .. :)

    I hope i make sense in what i ma writing ...

  50. Bik ji,

    Thank you. You brought in this beauty success myth quite well. And the Punjabi lyrics :-( ARENT YOU SUPPOSED TO TEACH ME PUNJABI!!!!!!

    Thanks for your views.

  51. I guess everything has been said and discussed in the previous comments...I will just say:
    "chutzpah" nice word! I like it :)

  52. Pratik,

    Thank you. 'Chutzpah' is a nice word yeah!! :-)

  53. Very nice thought provoking post.

    People (99%) are influenced on the things thru the media. It's the tactics of advertising centers, media and actors for their stylish lively hood by putting the burden on common man.

    We can't help it and we can't bring any change in this competitive world.

    However, nice thought.

  54. Naidu sir,

    thank you. You said it right. Not much could be done other than realizing it ourselves.

  55. If a white person can use tanning cream /product to become dark and no big fuss about it, then why we have to be so bothered about fairness cream for men.

  56. Marcel,

    :-) Interesting. You have linked back yourself to a popular fairness cream website.

    Well, let me explain. Do tanning cream promise success if you use them?

    Fairness cream is marketed thus. False promises by attributing success on using them. Success, confidence, bright future and what not silly stuffs by dabbing some so called fairness cream!!! Isnt that ridiculous? Thats why the fuss. Hope you got my point.

    Thank you for visiting and sharing your view across.

  57. I was watching India vs England cricket highlights today (Oct 17 2011). There were so many ads on the big screen at Delhi for Fair and Handsome ads. Pathetic I say! Just pathetic. What sort of an image will India have in front of the world? Isn't this giving forcing a pathetic message into the heads that fair is better!? The whole cricket loving population across the world would be watching this footage. Why the fuck should anyone be concerned about skin colour? Looks like even if the foreigners don't think anything about this matter, it seems like these advertisers will instigate such thoughts. Won't foreigners think these dark skinned a**holes are inferior because of their skin color? Absolutely pathetic I tell you!

    Appadiye pathikitu varuthu when I see that ad, especially when mother effing bastards like Shah Rukh are endorsing it. I had so much respect for Shah Rukh for he is such a great entertainer. I feel like slapping the stupid fellow now. Now I feel like a fool to have liked the bugger. Shame on media. On one hand there are media people working their arses off trying to show good material like Irom's fast in manipur, risking life uncovering potilical crimes, and on the other hand these advertisers are insulting India and us.

  58. Gautam,

    Yeah shame on media. You cant rely on them to give you unbiased information anymore.

  59. please delete this offensive article
    many of the women on the list are not dusky by any standards! and this is coming from a irish woman!
    this post divides indian women, also...its offensive to real dusky women!
    dusky means brown, and when a person thinks bollywood,dusky doesnt come in mind
    please delete this horrific article
    how about you use real dusky indian women and not bollywood women who are originally pale
    all these women are pale in european standards!!!


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!