Are You Fair Enough?

I am talking about skin colour here. If you are even one shade less than a white-washed tone, you better start using the fairness products else god forbid you may lose the job interview, remain a spinster all your life, suffer nasty remarks from the road side pani-puri Walla and such other dreadful consequences.

Seriously, what are the Ad companies thinking when they show ads where a person using a fairness cream has an interview panel groveling before him to accept the job or a lady who is already ready to give the sun tough competition is depressed about her skin not glowing enough? A fair-skin can get you your dream job, win beauty pageants, the man of your dreams, and in short have the heavens and lady luck licking your feet. Never mind education and knowledge. That is for the less fortunate ones. The colour of the skin rather than person’s inherent qualities like confidence, talent or even education determines his or her destiny. I am surprised that no one has thought of suing these in-your-face-liars.

However there is a far more serious issue here. And I am not even talking about the validity of their claims when they insist they a person with a dusky-complexion can become a white-skinned foreigner within a week or even life-time use of their products. The inherent desire of the Indian or Asian skin-coloured that desperately wants to become fairer at whatever cost is the underlying factor that is being exploited to deaths by advertising firms. In the wake of this reality, can we really blame them? Fairness of the skin is associated with beauty, intelligence, competence and all the goodness that heavens have to bestow. We may have made inroads into science and technology, have the best international schools, colleges and B-schools churn out bright alumni year after year, yet we are unable to wipe out this deep-rooted regressive belief and instil pragmatic thinking and self-confidence that is not dependant of racial background.

A dusky girl is considered far more unlucky than her male counterpart for the obvious concern about who will marry this poor dark girl? Although the evolution of metro-sexual male has given rise to fairness cream for men, men by and large get away from being typecast in skin-colour moulds. After men need to be tall, dark and handsome but women need to be tall, fair, slim, beautiful and what-not. Women-centric serials start with the concept of having dusky protagonists defying the trend but a few episodes down the line they strangely turn a few shades fairer. Hot model Bipasha though known as the dusky siren is ironically never portrayed on-screen in her true skin-tone.

While we Asians spend our time trying to lighten our genetics, our western counterparts spend hours in sunlight to get a darker skin tone. Talk about the grass being greener on the other side! Here’s a satirical anecdote I read recently in the magazine section of a leading newspaper. I do not remember the name of the author, unfortunately. An Indian mother prays to God about getting a fair bride for her son. God more than answers her prayer when her son comes home with a foreigner much to her dismay. Maybe she did not want such a “fair” bride after all. About time to start wishing for more meaningful things in life.


  1. I agree with u, Uma... we are obsessed with fair skinned ppl. In that case I should say, I am "blessed" to be fair skinned. I dont say i dont like being fair skinned, but there is a downside of it too. That remains with me, let me not get into that here.

    anyway, i remember, when i was a kid, aunties used to comment to my mom "you will have no problem searching for a groom for her, she is so fair and lovely" (pun unintended)... i mean, my qualities were that "I was fair period". its like i am gonna get married solely bcz I am fair.. and not for my innate qualities. How shallow is that???

    and i truly suspect the genuineness of the claims by the fairness creams. moreover, people fall for such traps... i mean, even if getting fair was important, i dont think 1 tube could suffice the entire body!!! how can u just have ur face fairer than the rest of the body??

    Everybody says beauty is skin deep and lies in the eye of beholder etc. In truth however, beauty is what you first see. it isn't wrong to want to look nice. each and everyone wants to look their best. But god forbid if you have a darker skin tone, your dreams of even getting close to beautiful is shot dead.

    I really think these companies should be sued for open discrimination. Imagine being turned down a film offer bcz u r dark and then director suddenly notices the same you after 8 weeks of fairness cream treatment!!!

    as u quoted Bipasha basu... she had once told the newspapers that she is proud to be dusky skinned. I still don't know, if that is the case then why is she allowing the masking of it. If only she could take a stand for what she claimed in the newspapers, I would bow down to her.

    Siggh! see long comment! :)

  2. தமிழ் உதயன்: Thanks!

    Purnima: Very true!..and do not worry about the long comment. It is gratifying to note that people find your writing worth commenting on..I LIKE when people comment..if it is long, then SUPER like...:-D

    Perception: has been a long time to get over the colonial hangover.

  3. LOL Uma - totally hilarious (you know what i mean!) post.. i completely share your feelings on this one. In fact I spend most of my time watching TV cribbing about the ads that pass by and lots of "What were they thinking?!" ads come to mind.. maybe i will post one soon on the ads that make me Mad ;) - thanks for the idea!!

  4. Aparna: LOL...some ads are really well made too..i like the cadbury celebrations ads for eg...will wait for your post and u r most welcome!!..:-)

  5. Why go the ad guys Uma? Our own kith and kin do this all the time.. The eldest daughter is nice but not fair, but the younger one is the color of lemon. I always quip with- perhaps she has jaundice!! It tough to explain that color is only skin deep! Nice anecdote there:)

  6. Vidya: yes, it is our own people who are obsessed with skin-colour and this is exploited by the ad firms to the fullest-further drilling it into our heads.

  7. I think it's so ironic to read such 'progressive' thoughts from someone who got desperately involved in matching the 'horoscope' of her's with that of her "boy's" to find the 'perfect' match :)

    Progressive double standard indeed! We Indians, whaatteey bloody fellaas..

  8. Sumod: I think you have some problem with your understanding.

    Firstly, Where did you get such ideas of me being desperately involved in matching of the 'horoscope'?
    And, how does my going the arranged marriage way make me have double standards?

    Arranged-marriage set up may have some flaws, horoscope-matching being one of them. You mean to say all who have had arranged marriages are "regressive"?

    I have met so-called educated guys who insist on marrying only a white-skinned girl, even if that's the only 'virtue' the girl has, and it doesn't matter if they are themselves very dark. This is double standard.

  9. I didn't mean to say all arranged marriages are 'regressive'. My comment had nothing to do with arranged marriages.

    You were involved in matching your horoscope with someone else.You might have your own reasons for doing so. And now when you are criticizing people who are looking for a 'fair' skinned girl, why don't you think that they could have their own reasons? Is this not a double standard?

    I think matching the horoscope with someone else for whatever reason is as uncivilized as considering the 'white-skin' of a woman as her 'virtue'!

  10. I don't think it is fair to compare the horoscope-matching and discriminating a person by his skin-colour on the same platform.
    I am not in favour of horoscope-matching in any-way, but as I said, it is sometimes a part and parcel of the arranged-marriage scenario. Of course you lose out on some good alliances due to this constraint but it is not image-damaging as rejecting someone only because he or she is dark.

  11. Hi, looks like i am stuck to your blogs, can't leave without commenting.
    Everyone faces these problems in our country, especially we south Indians.
    Though I am not fair, I never wished that I was fair. I love my color, and would never want exchange it for any thing else. I also like people who are shades lighter , because it is what they are, one should only aspire to have a healthy skin, not fair or dark skin.
    And one thing that people don't realize is that even if they become fair using these creams , can they totally change the entire body color with which they were born, how stupid they would look with a fair face and a dark body.
    Now for that also they have come up with a solution( pretty late): a body lotion that makes you have the same fair color of your face.
    People know very well what they are falling for , yet they are not able to resist the temptation of trying, there by more money in the pockets of those giant companies.

  12. Thanks info..get money fro you handphone,,,


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