How much fairness is required to be confident, good looking & happy?

Beauty is inside! That’s what we are supposed to believe. But how far this inside is? Till your private parts, is it? A 25 second TV commercial for  Clean & Dry Intimate Wash – a  hygiene product that keeps your private parts clean , dry and makes it brighter gives the adage ‘beauty is only skin deep’ a new perspective.

The TV advert that shows a depressed couple – the wife with a worried face passes the chai to her husband who doesn’t even look at her as he’s busy reading/ pretending to read a newspaper. She’s lost in her thoughts and then just like the fairy godmother who transformed Cinderella into the belle of the ball, Clean & Dry Intimate Wash transforms the drab and unhappy couple to a happy and loving one. You see the wife jumping on a couch, grabbing the car keys from the table and very seductively putting the keys inside her shorts! And what next? The husband takes her in his arms and they live happily ever after!

Yes, that’s what fairness creams are supposed to do! They are supposed to make your face, hands & neck fair, lovely and beautiful, but now they can lighten the skin tone around your private parts as well.

I have no problems with a TV advert that markets a hygienic product designed to keep your private parts clean and infection free.  What I oppose is the additional benefit of brightening the darkened skin around your private parts.

A poll conducted by online matrimonial site in 2009 showed that skin color is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a partner. So, it’s not just men looking for fair brides but women also want their husbands to be fair and handsome!

My Question – with the introduction of Clean & Dry Intimate Wash would men now look for brides who have fair private parts? And will that be a criteria mentioned in the matrimonial ads! Something like – Wanted Fair Bride With Fair Private Parts! And in near future are we going to see something of this kind that would cater to the male consumers as well?

Well jokes apart, a major chunk of India’s population is super obsessed with fair skin! The high value of fair skin has resulted in the market for fairness creams and bleaches touching Rs 2,000 crore. Of this, fairness creams account for approximately Rs 1,800 crore, while bleaches make up about Rs 200 crore of the market pie.

There’s a market hence there’s a demand for the product! It’s not as if these companies are forcing us to buy fairness creams. The demand or prejudices for fair skin was already there…it’s just meeting with the demands. So, why blame the companies or the fairness ads that show beauty and confidence aren’t beyond colors.

Or is it that these adverts are deliberately playing with the insecurities that we already have and are constantly throwing messages that ‘fair is beautiful’ at us; or may be deep down inside we believe that fairness =handsome/ beautiful;  fairness = a way to become successful in life etc etc?

Fairness Cream TV Ads That Say Dark = Ugly & Lack Of Confidence

Do you remember a Fair & Lovely ad with the tagline ‘Fair & Lovely – Ab Manzil Saaf Dikhen’, featuring Aditi Sharma? After she starts using the fairness cream she wins the cycle competition and becomes the brand ambassador of a sports company or whatever. What does fairness has to do with winning a cycle competition? Seriously how much shit can a viewer take?

And who can forget the derogatory Air Hostess Ad. It shows a father regretting having only a daughter single handedly providing for the family and still not earning enough. Then we see the daughter – a dark skinned girl wearing shabby clothes! The idea was to portray the fact that the girl was dark and hence could not get a decent job. The girl then uses Fair & Lovely and gets an air hostess job and makes her father happy! After a lot of row the ad was taken off the air.

Fairness Creams For Men

Why should girls have all the fun? Right! So, comes the fairness creams for men. Yes, gone are the days when women used to dream about tall, dark and handsome men. Nowadays women don’t even look twice at men who are dark skinned!! That’s what Shah Rukh Khan wants us to believe! It all started since the metrosexual trend kicked in. Men started taking care of their appearance – going for manicure, pedicure, eyebrows, facials, spa and yes the desire of having a light skin tone. Which is why one can see a huge list of fairness creams particularly for men – Emami’s Fair And Handsome, Hindustan Unilever’s Fair and Lovely Menz Active, Nivea for Men Whitening Moisturiser and Nivea for Men Multi-White Whitening Facial Foam, Elder HealthCare’s Fair One Man Cream and Garnier India’s Men’s Powerlight range that also includes a face wash and moisturiser.

I am quoting from a 2010 newspaper report – According to a report, the men’s fairness products market is estimated at nearly $40 million and is growing at a rate of 25 per cent, while the women’s fairness market is growing at 7 to 8 per cent.

Why do men want to be fair skinned?

They think women like fair men? Or do they think fairness equates to good looks which enhances one’s confidence? Academics like socio-psychologist, Prof Shallini Bharat, from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, speaking to the BBC recently, revealed that this complex among men of some Asian countries could be a legacy inherited from the colonial rulers or dating even further back in time, to the Aryans. “Our rulers have always been fair, be it the Aryans in the early centuries or Europeans in later years. Fairness is equated with superiority, power and influence, therefore the preference for lighter skin.”

So, are these fairness creams an ideal solution to end the misery of the people who are dark skinned? Is fairness equal to beauty? Is fairness = superiority? If you ask me, I would say NO! I refuse to endorse and embrace ignorance! But sadly there aren’t many who can see beauty in all skin tones.

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