Exclusive: How Hypocrisy of Fairness Creams feed on Hysteria of ‘Fairer Skin’ in India!

Exclusive: How Hypocrisy of Fairness Creams feed on Hysteria of ‘Fairer Skin’ in India!

– by Naina Mishra

The hysteria of a Fairer Skin in India is undoubtedly embedded in the people from the moment they learn to spot themselves in the mirror. The fault finding mind-set pave its way to inferiority, and then the introspection begins – "Why my skin is not fair", a question I always contemplated. As I grew up, I realized that the color tone was never a predicament. The fault was never in the shade of my skin, rather the slip was in the belief system of the society.

Apparently, the endorsements carry huge credibility and are exceedingly persuasive, but what happens when the marketers play with the mindset of people to sell their product?

Here is what Fair and Lovely claims:

"Fair & Lovely has reflected a Women's Dreams for the past 40 years. Throughout its history, Fair & Lovely has inspired women to go for their dreams, even if they were at odds with what society expected them to do."

What dreams is Fair and Lovely addressing to while profoundly taking pride in changing lives of women? As a matter of fact, in a patriarchal social order, women face many tight spots. However, it is unjust to assert that the solution to the ubiquitous issues is merely a fairness cream.

The Society also expects 'Dowry' – which remains irresolvable for the past 40 years. 'Virginity before marriage ' is questionable in our society. How well have the hues of a skin mitigated the much wider subjects like these?

"In the 80's, when society expected women to marry mostly via arranged marriages, Fair & Lovely gave them hope that women could marry by choice. In the 90s, when women desired not just marriage but also an equal partnership"

The 'equal-equal' commercial by Fair and Lovely insinuates that it is the fair toned skin which can heighten one's confidence to demand a perfect matrimonial match. I speculate how many women have been able to find a perfect match owing to their color tone. Succumbing to such dogma dents the confidence, even more, when people fall prey to fairness products and later feel cheated.

And today, when despite much progress, women still don't get equal opportunities and society continues to impose barriers for women, Fair & Lovely will give women the confidence to overcome their own hesitations & fears to achieve their true potential.

Needless to say, this is another bogus claim by Fair and Lovely.

It has not only struck the chord with the women, the men too want a fairer skin with Fair and Handsome in the markets nowadays. Does the fairness creams really talk about freedom or it is just inculcating gross racism?

Hindustan Unilever quarters two conflicting cosmetic brands (Dove vs. Fair and Lovely)

In 2005, Dove launched a 'Campaign for Real Beauty' which strived to change the perceived notions of stereotypical beauty. Dove conducted a global study, it was discovered that only 2% of women described themselves "beautiful".

The rationale, however, might have been to sell the dove product lines, but it did justice to the women who had an incredibly shallow self-concept of beauty. Dove placed the hoarding of women with real beauty (wrinkled skin or fat body), thus outshining the 'Perfect, flawless and skinned' image of beauty.

Fair and Lovely, conversely has subsisted by the dark skinned convention, indicating women that they might not be able to find a perfect match or a right job as easily as their paler counterparts.

Let's Uncolor Campaign

Recently, a campaign against Fair and Lovely created uproar in the social media. The rationale behind the campaign is to urge people to think beyond the color. 'A promising fairness', an illicit theme through which the fairness creams has feigned people for ages. The campaign was initiated by the famed vocalist, Ram Subramaniam in light of color racism which the brand seeks to bolster, even if it involves the slaughter of moral principles.

The video has gaged immense popularity among the people on social media with 2 million views.

Watch: Let's Uncolour Campaign

This is how people showed their support for the campaign – Let's Uncolor #IamNewIndia.

I reached out to Ram Subramaniam with regard to his most recent campaign against fairness creams.

Color racism has been embedded in our society ever since an undefined time. Can India ever be racist-free country?
Yes, we can be racism-free because India is unique and beautiful as a nation. Indians are predominantly dark skin, bravely democratic and spiritual as people.
"Fair and lovely proclaims, they have helped women to overcome societal barriers and seeking a right partner."How badly are women deceived through such advertisements?
Everyone knows the answer to that question. See, fair and lovely is a cosmetic product masquerading as a miracle and in that process, they are making most people of this country feel small instead of better. It's important that we ban all cosmetics that hint at fairness equals beautiful or handsome. It's not good for our society as it promotes casteism, racism, classism and singular-ism. I would like to believe that it's a governance oversight by the political class, since independence, and I hope it will be corrected.
In a country like India, marketers' predators are always eager to prey on people's insecurities.

For all the right reasons, marketers should stop digging at Dark Skinned people. The European colonization is long gone and it is expected from all the fairness clichés to vanish in thin air. Beauty certainly lies in the eyes of the beholder and not in the fairness creams.

– By Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94