Ladies and gents (from India) – you know what I am talking about. My grandmother hates it when I get tanned; she feels that no guy (or guys’ family) will want a ‘dark’ girl as a potential addition to their household. I love being tanned – the way my skin has a healthy glow to it. But apparently it will restrict my chances of finding a nice guy !
So no surprise that I was appalled and shocked at the series of advertisements (5 actually !) for Ponds Cream to promote their cream ‘White Beauty’. Here are the adverts for you to watch : Episode 1; Episode 2; Episode 3; Episode 4 and Episode 5.
How on earth can one justify that by using a ‘fairness’ cream can help one land the man / woman of their dreams. It’s just SAD. Within the Indian society – there is this uncanny obsession with being ‘fair’ and using that as a criteria to select a partner.
Of course this also happens in other countries but it’s not used as a basis for finding a partner. European & American ‘white’ men & women want to get ‘tanned’ and ‘get darker’ so they can look good. Then you have the Indian community who instead of being happy of their natural skin tones (and mind you there are some beautiful tones out there) are going out of their way and using products that can harm and damage their skin. For what ? To be FAIR because the society thinks it’s better than being your natural colour ??
I sometimes feel that Indians are the most racist amongst themselves as a community due to the prejudices within the society as a whole. Have you ever come across a matrimonial advert or seen the criteria on match-making / matrimonial websites ? There is a section for ‘skin colour’ !!! If that’s not racist – I don’t know what else is ! For those who opt for ‘arranged marriages’ – being ‘fair’ is one of the criteria set out for brides-to-be. Oh and if the girl is ‘fair’ AND ‘thin’ then she’s a prize winner (doesn’t matter if the guy in question is an ugly ducking or the size of Yokozuna)
What shocks me more is that celebrities are even promoting and encouraging such ridiculous and delusional ideas. The advert itself is just so OTT it gets on my nerves. I’ve seen Priyanka Chopra (the actress who uses the cream in the ad) in person and the woman is NOT fair by any standard. She’s got a dusky complexion. In fact most of the models / actresses in Bollywood are ‘dusky’ rather than ‘fair’ i.e. Bipasha Basu (she’s hot); Rani Mukherjee; Kajol; Kareena Kapoor (she was always dusky, don’t know how she got so ‘fair’ now!); Shilpa Shetty; Sushmita Sen etc. Shouldn’t they be taking a stand and NOT encouraging such attitudes ? The majority of the population is in awe of these actors / actresses and fall into the herd mentality of believing that if the celebs use XYZ products then it must work !
One can’t go around stating that being ‘fair’ means that you are automatically better than the next person. I think the adverts fail (for me at least) as it’s a very unrealistic story and doesn’t quite fit the product. Now if they were using the product to help get rid of excessive tans; reduce dark pigmentation on skin due to excess exposure to the sun – it makes more sense.
Unfortunately (and fortunately for Ponds) – the product can capitalize (and IS) on the fact that people within the Indian societies have inferiority complexes and hence will actually buy the product !!
What are your thoughts on the subject ? Do you believe that celebrities should endorse products that somehow impose an inferiority complex on the population ? Should ‘skin tone’ even be considered as a physical attribute when describing your ideal partner ? Don’t we have other things to worry about in an already very complex world ?
Further Reading :
- Lost Love & Fair Skin by Reema
- Conversations - Great White Hope by Kuzhali Manickaval
- Fairly Neurotic by Mark Jacobs
- The Dark Side of Skin Whitening Cream by Sunny Hundal for the Guardian (link courtesy Angelina JoLoveless)
- Beyond The Pale by Naresh Puri for BBC
And if you have a 5 more minutes to spare – check out the views shared by The Young Turks network channel.