“Unbeatable fairness-see the results in just 7 days.” The jingle of a certain fairness cream, which I am sure you might have guessed, played before the video on Youtube – ‘How to get self-tanned correctly’. Do you see the irony?
Fairness has always been a subject of beauty and social status, especially for Indians. If you are an owner of a dark skin, you might be confused as poor or ugly, no matter how beautiful features you own. Whereas, in the western part of the world, people make efforts to get tanned and fall in love with it. So, the question here is, why can’t Indians love and live with what they have already been blessed? Why do they have to be so obsessed about fairness?
The origin of this obsession lies back in the roots of history, in the era of Shakespeare. If you read his creations, you will find an obvious inclination towards the women with fair skin. He equated ‘Fair’ with ‘Beauty’. And right from that period, fair skin has become a fascination. The advertising of skin whitening products has encouraged it. And the most pathetic version of this obsession came when a certain intimate cream emphasised on whitening those areas of a female body. This is plain annoying, to say the least.
Now, as if it wasn’t tragic enough, someone came up with an idea of ‘Fairness cream for men’. And there was a new series of advertisements where girls were rejecting boys with dark skin. This took the fairness-mania to the whole new level!
Right from Shahrukh Khan and John Abraham to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Yami Gautam have been promoting the need for fair skin for Indians to be a prettier version of themselves. Whereas, on the other hand, the world’s greatest power, America was ruled by a dark Obama for 8 years and was loved by one and all. Smita Patil is still considered one of the most beautiful actresses Indian film industry has had till date and she owned her dark complexion proudly. Naomi Campbell, one of the most successful models of the world, was a black model. And the list is endless. But, none of them was able to reduce the obsession with fair skin.
A dark skinned girl, when watches those fair actresses on TV prompting them to buy their fairness cream, somewhere starts believing that it is what is needed to be beautiful. Their confidence of their natural self is shattered that very moment and they convince themselves that they are not pretty. In the rural areas of India when gender biasedness is still an issue, when a dark skinned girl is born people are heard saying Ek to ladki upar se kaali, issey acha to mar hi jaati. Indian television has also served Soap operas on this issue, where a dark skinned girl is rejected in every phase of her life. When she becomes an officer, it was proudly promoted that a dark skinned girl became the lady office of the such and such department. Seriously? Does the skin colour also effect your mental level? Like if you are a fair girl, you will have more brains than a dark skinned one? Logic just died.
A certain television actress recently underwent a skin lightening treatment. The difference was clearly visible. The paradox is that she started her career with a serial where she portrayed a girl with the dark skinned girl who carried herself with pride, despite her skin colour. That was reel-life. She clearly wasn’t really proud of her skin tone in her real life. Bipasha Basu, kudos to you for owning your natural skin with such confidence and not paying heed to the ‘kaali-billi’ remark. There was one more opera where the mother keeps her daughter caked with dark skin foundation to make her look ugly in order to protect her from the evils of the world as the girl was very beautiful and fair, obviously.
The problem is more deep-rooted than it is considered. No matter how many campaigns we start with the hashtag black is beautiful on social media, that tiny advertisement of getting fairer in less than ten days always overpowers it. The industry has also taken minor steps by featuring dark skinned girls on the covers of most popular fashion magazines but the fact remains the same, the fair skinned model is preferred. It is a prerequisite if you want to step in that world.
It’s downright shameful for a country where more than fifty percent of the population is born with a darker complexion, the fairness companies earn the maximum share in the same country. I find it simply non-understandable with accepting what we are born with, be it anything for that matter. And the fairness cream companies are to be blamed only after us. They will keep making money out of it and share a large market until we become indifferent to this biasedness.