Sunday, April 07, 2013

Whats wrong with being brown or black?

Do you like ads that promote use of fairness creams? My daughter isnt very fair and when I see her watch these ads that suggest women ( and now men too) are more successful in life because they are fair/er, I know something isn't quite right.
Look at the name of the product - Fair and lovely. They have been brandishing this name under our noses for years and we've been tolerating it. I use the product. Its a good product. But I would use it even if it didn't use the word fair and lovely. And now we even have ' fair and handsome'.
Apparently Asians are obssessed with light skin. Ironically all top international brands have fairness or skin lightening creams that flood our market and worse, fight for air time in commercial breaks which children are soaking in.
There is a larger issue. Are these ads rascist? Is being fair an advantage? Why is it so? Should it be so? Its a viscious circle but now the tables have turned. These commercials ensure that our children remain caught in the cycle of thoughts, reinforcing bias based on skin color.
I always found these ads annoying. But with a 5 year old in the house and another baby in my arms, I am particularly peeved and want these ads removed from televisions.
I have entered an online complaint on the website of
The advertising council of India. I have even launched a campaign on titled - stop advertising fairness products.

Some of the questions I got as a response include, it is an individual choice or that we should stop using these products in the first place. Also, why target commercials? Our movies have always idolised fair actors in the lead roles. Popular Comic illustrations have indicated that gods are fair and demons are dark skinned. Oh and Krishna who was actually dark skinned according to mythology or even Draupadi is shown blue.  Fairy tales hammer in to our heads right from childhood ideas like "fairest of them all" and kind but beautiful princesses always win "prince charming".
So why stop commercials?  Simply because you cannot monitor them, they are repetitive and actually show being dark skinned to be a distinct disadvantage.
For those who say its an individual choice, I'll say so is smoking and drinking. Why have we banned their commercials? Because of the influence on our children. Make people aware of the harmful effects of drinking and smoking being in a democratic society, let people decide. The use of the word 'fair or fairer or fairness' in promoting skin products must not be allowed on any media. Insensitive ads that show fair skin to be at an advantage and fair skinned people to be more successful must be stopped immediately.
If you believe it too, you can talk about it,blog about it, share this blog, sign the petiton, complain to the Indian advertising council. Find your way.
Lets stop these ads.


Balachandran V said...

k, there was a recent post of mine, ' Fair skins, Dark souls' on this issue. After writing the title I realized that I too am committing the mistake of 'dark' as something negative, though the intended meaning is darkness of the mind.

I will readily join a campaign on this 'unfairness'.

kaalpanique said...

Thanks. Yes B. I realise that we might be unwittingly admitting that its not okay to be dark. I wouldnt mind the fairness ads if there were as many tanning product ads.