Is it Fair?

 | September 30,2010 03:06 pm IST

The fairness crémes' ads currently being featured on the television are RIDICULOUS, OUTRAGEOUS and ATROCIOUS!


What are the companies and the advertising agencies that bag the contracts of advertising such products trying to portray?


Do they by any chance mean that the girls can be successful only if they are fair and that all dark girls should either buy their "get fair in 4 weeks" formula or they would perish from the face of the Indian soil? Even if they want to harp about "fairness brings good spouse, good job..

. and ultimately success!" then I would like to bring to their kind notice that one of the most developed nations of the world, the USA has no colour concept. Yes they do use tan creams as their skin is freckled and they just want to hide all the freckles in a uniform tan all over the face. So apparently all these dark girls who find it "impossible to fulfil their dreams" in India can go west and they will be total hits.


I am not preaching either. I just want to say... wake up to the reality!

This country has enough issues to take care of. And just when we had begun to move on and leave behind the taboos attached to the caste system, gender, colour, race and economic position, these ads surfaced and fed the same old concepts into the young minds over and over.


More so now, in the current era of individualism, fairness creams should not position themselves as a product for people who lack something. The ads should not leverage on negative aspects. Rather, they should just be a means to making an informed choice and should refrain from using the platforms of "girl child vs. boy child", "Dark and unsuccessful vs. Fair and successful" and so on.


The current positioning platform used by the ads has a negative connotation. It is usually handed over to a girl by another friend who sees the deplorable condition the former is in. Thus, the latter is shown showering sympathy on a helpless creature who has been abandoned by family members or a lover. This in fact makes it a product, which is supposed to be used under wraps.


Think about it. If the ad shows a girl using fairness cream to overcome an inferiority complex implanted in her as a result of being a neglected daughter, jilted lover or a loser in the corporate world, no one would accept being a user of such a product publicly. Potential users of such a product would hesitate to go to a shop and speak out in a loud and clear voice, "I want a fairness cream".

Also a lot of women who actually use fairness creams like to pretend that they use it like any other cold creame or an oil based moisturiser for their skin. No one wants to claim that they actually use it for making their skin lighter.


Consider another product, which boasts of a similar effect on the skin though it is much faster and lasts temporarily: face-bleaching creams. Notice that such products are also used by women all over the country and that too without any hesitation, even though the effects are more striking than that of a fairness creams. The major players in this field are Fem, Jolen, etc. These creams were advertised only to publicise their effects and there were no negative emotional strings attached. Remember the "gori gori-fem fem se" ad for Fem bleaching cream ad. It had a positive lasting effect on the audiences, as the message of "become fair in 15 minutes" was crystal clear. And the girl was not shown using the product because she had been rejected but she was shown using the product to look more beautiful for an already existing date.


Even the fairness creams can adopt the strategy of positioning their product as an enhancer of beauty rather than a necessity to survive. This will make the product more respectable and it won't be shameful to use a fairness cream. And if a girl uses a fairness cream she won't have to wonder what her friends might be thinking; that whether her boyfriend has just ditched her, or her parents have stopped loving her just because she can't make it in the big world for being a dark person, etc.


Some specific points need to be noticed here such as the following myth spread by one of the ads:

If you are born a daughter, you are a burden on your folks if you are not a fair skinned creature, as being dark will not fetch you any job, and so you won't be in a position to lend financial support to your family. You will hear your father murmuring to himself stuff like "kaash mera ladka hota" (wish I had a son). This leaves you in utter state of confusion and depression and suddenly you find refuge in a cream, which promises a wonderful career ahead. This will transform your whole life. You will be seen in a new light by everyone at home as well as at work. People will go gaga about your skin and your fair complexion even if the job profile has got nothing to do with your colour. Your career will be directly proportional to the speed at which your skin hues turn lighter.


Reality: No father will say such a discomforting thing to a daughter if he really loves her. Parents are always there to help you out in any situation no matter what. And if a father does harbour such thoughts then he is not worthy enough for you to spend money on buying a cream which promises you the Cinderella looks overnight, and then look for a job and then take your dad out for coffee, the bill for which is paid for, from you hard earned money.