Lost Love and Fair Skin

An advertisement of Pond’s White Beauty face cream is being aired on TV nowadays which shows a guy dumps his gf and 3 years later she comes to know he is a celebrity now and engaged with another celebrity girl. The ex-gf sees an ad of the product which claims to give “a white glow” (read: become fair skinned) and starts thinking…rather decides to buy it. For part 1 of the story watch the video. Now in part 2 the fiancee is shown to be a short tempered girl who cares more about her fingernails than the gifted diamond ring. The ex-gf uses this cream and becomes all fair and glowing and the guy comes to her flower shop (by chance) and can’t stop ogling at her. She is still in dilemma whether to tell him that she still loves him.
Now my point is do these Pond’s guys intend to show that an ex-bf can be won back by becoming fairer??? If that is so then should a guy who apparently dumped you for your looks be wooed back??? Even if he didn’t dump you on basis of looks , still should he be wooed back at all??? that too by becoming fairer n all??? What is with this prejudice against the dark skin in India when we are on the receiving end of racism?? I think the British rule made the Indians fascinated with white skin and we have not got over that yet. All dark or wheatish colored girls are made to think as if they are some misfits and have to apply all sorts of creams or soaps to become fair to get married or an audition or guy or whatever. Infact now guys are also being targetted and urged to become fair to woo girls!!! In arranged marriage being fair is a must criteria for the girl, no matter how the guy looks. Being very fair is a bonus. The qualifications and the nature of the girl are hidden or compromised upon after seeing her shining beauty. In fact I suspect even in an affair the girl may use such creams to keep her guy happy lest he leaves her for some more “greener pastures”.
This prejudice and discrimination irks me no end. My elder sister is wheatish colored whereas I’m fair. Since childhood I’ve listened to many comments on the difference which has made me very annoyed with people who advocate fair color. Even when I was 7 yrs old or so, I gave a piece of my mind to some 70+ old men in my mother’s village where we had gone for vacation. They had dared to say “how different Niru’s (my mom’s name) kids are in color” or words to that effect. I have seen my roommates desperately using these products. For what? for whom? Someone who will judge you and accept/reject you by your looks? So much effort for that? Does being fair give confidence? Helps you win laurels?? No I don’t think so. I admit being fair does give an edge due to all the pre-existing prejudices and morons who judge by a person’s looks but if you have it in you no one can stop you for getting what you want. Be it clearing a job interview or getting your guy or winning an Oscar. Check out Halle Berry’s Oscar acceptance speech.
As for winning back ex-bfs I don’t think a jerk like the one shown is that much of a trophy and if it was so easy as made out to be in the ad then there wouldn’t be so many heartbreaks in the world. You know the ad says “sometimes life gives you a second chance”….and the second chance is cosmetic product????? what #@#$&%!
Part 3 of the ad is awaited. First time I’m waiting for a sequel in an advertisement and curious to know what will they show ultimately.

P.S. Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance. ~ John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

142 thoughts on “Lost Love and Fair Skin

  1. The predilection for fair skin has nothing to do with the British. We (if I am allowed the liberty to speak for Indian males πŸ™‚ ) like fairer skin tones over darker ones.
    Now whether the girl hinges her ego, her personality, her self-esteem to skin tone depends on quite a few other factors. And relationships based on the looks of a girl…ahh…totally different topic.

    I used to get annoyed by fair skin cream ads. But I realize they are over-promising like quite a few other products – like pens, shampoos, candy or vehicles. Its just that its related to the skin, so we are a bit touchy about it. (pun intended!)

  2. This ad is totally lame. Do you think this would happen in real life? Uh..! Companies now have forgotten the basic ideas on how to advertise their products… They are coming out with such idiotic, meaningless ads…. yet some people for it.. 😐

  3. I don’t know what a person would do with a very fair spouse/gf/bf (whatever applies)if the person’s nature is not good. U cant stay with a person who day in and day out make your life hell and still enjoy beng with him/her just because of fairnees(of skin!).

    Somebody has rightly said “beauty is skin deep”. Its the persons whole perosnality and nature which give him/her the essence…

  4. Well written. I think this is a serious issue in Indian society.
    I have dark complexion and my sister is very fair. I have been through the kind of situation and comments (from elderly), that is expressed here. We have to set an example to our elders by valuing people by their achievements and character.

  5. //still should he be wooed back at all???// definitely not.Long term and stable relations cannot be guaranteed by looks alone.Secondly beauty cannot be judged by skin colour. I think the mentality of people is changing as far as obsession about skin colour is concerned.You can find a large number of not so fair skinned successful heroes and heroines in the film industry and modeling world these days.The transition is slow but it is definitely happening.

  6. he he..silly ads…why a girl would want back his ex boy freind who jsut dumped her..she would probably get a better guy πŸ™‚
    but jokes apart yes what u mentioned is very much true…people do get discriminated here in india on the base of the skin color..and thats more in north india because majority of people are fair..
    i wonder if this would get any better if not get worsened..
    as for the stupid ads..we should just see them adn move on..most of the ads make no sense these days..
    do they ?? πŸ˜›

  7. First of all… the first comment is by Arvind and not me , so you might want to correct that.

    The prejudice is true and widespread and it doesn’t help that from early childhood girls are forced to try to be as fair as possible by , more often than not, their mothers.
    It’s all about how one carries herself, and that really makes the difference. It’s time that the guys stop judging a girl from fairness of her skin and the ‘fair’ girls stop using their color to advantages. (Please don’t tell me that girls do not reject guys who are not ‘Tall, dark, handsome and rich’)
    Not everyone is a saint, and not everyone is a criminal either.

    The youth, guys and girls alike, have to rise above this attitude.

  8. @Arvind Hmm u have a point there though I think the fascination for the white skin increased after the proverbial “gori mem”

    @Joel Its just the actors that are benefiting from such ads be it of such products or cold drinks.

    @Sakhi yes what u said is so true. Still fair skin is demanded in matrimonial alliances.

    @Prajeesh welcome to my blog! yes I agree. We have to start a new trend. Keep visiting!!

  9. @Prerna yes the transition is happening but then again film n fashion world is very different from the real middle class India that lives in small cities and towns. In fact as i researched the subject, I found that these fairness creams are now a big hit in Mali n such countries.

    @Arvind yes its more in North and Central India. Some like us ignore these ads but there are more who are influenced by these. Especially the poor class buy the cheap n same looking but fake creams available in “thelas”. As i said i have seen many of my fiends use these creams.After all they do good business thats why they r able to hire such actors for a commercial!

    @Adarsh Oops I corrected it. //the ‘fair’ girls stop using their color to advantages. (Please don’t tell me that girls do not reject guys who are not ‘Tall, dark, handsome and rich’)// I think u meant smthg else?? cuz if girls like dark guys then no need for the guys to use fairness creams as advertised.and if u r talking about the tall,handsome n rich part then i agree that some girls do reject such guys who dont have these qualities. The change has to be brought on both sides. but first of all such ads should be banned.

  10. I used the phrase ‘Tall,Dark and Handsome’ and added Rich to it as per modern times.
    Well, I don’t think that banning the ads is feasible. If everyone, individually, acts rightfully, then such ads will fall flat.

  11. Halle Barry kinda makes me mad,

    Why does it need to be about blacks and whites?

    Why draw those lines at all?

    She “wants to be treated the same” yet she stands up and throws in my face how different she is? I dont know how many times I have heard “its great that such and such a thing happened to me, this is for all the black people of the world!”

    That is just as racist as anything any white person has ever said.

    And if you think Im wrong, think of the reaction a white actor would get if he stood up and said, “This isnt just about me, its about all THE WHITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!!!”

    everyone in the room would go silent and then start boo-ing and jeering about how racist that person is(and rightly so). Yet if a non-white person says it they are APPLAUDED for the exact same statement except instead of the word white they insert whatever race name they are.

    (there have been plenty of blacks who have won oscars too, why does halle barry act like she is “breaking new ground” or something? Its because she is a racist.

    list of them here :

    filebox.vt.edu/users/clhaynes/blackoscars.html )

    If race doesnt matter then make it not matter. Dont stand up and make your award winning about race. These are individual accomplishments. NOT accomplishments for your race. And they only reinforce the idea that other races are somehow inferior to whites because their accomplishments are somehow harder to achieve and worth more when they do achieve them.

    Last time I checked we were all part of the human race. For the poor white person born in the ghetto life is just as hard as for the poor black person born there. The rich black father pays just as much to put his black kid through college as the rich white man does for his.

    whites and blacks(and all those in between) are actually exactly the same. Lets start holding them to the same standards then shall we?

    How about this one:

    Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

    I dont want to site the source(Im sure everyone knows it anyway) but it appears that since 1598 AD the world has not changed that much.

    This message has yet to sink in.

    People are people. Same same same same same. Let us accomplish things for either ourselves or for everyone, Let us not accomplish them for a faction. Because that only makes the divides between us greater.

    I think I might have gotten off topic, here is the comment I shouda left-

    -Those creams and such are dumb, I agree.



  12. @ Reema: The preference for fair skin does not have much to do with the British rule.

    Practices that emanate from socio-economics gradually become prejudices as fewer and fewer question their origin, logic or continued applicability.

    In the hierarchical society, that is India, those, who worked manual or outdoor jobs, had darker skins. Those, who did not have to work such jobs, had fairer skins. Fair skin therefore signified wealth and social desirability.

    Also remember, most manual jobs were reserved for lower castes and I am still amused by people in India, who say, upon discovering someone is lower caste, “oh but she is not dark, how come?”.

    Much as the Pond’s ads are weird – and I saw them this time too – they address an ingrained preference in the Indian psyche to flog their product. All legal and above-board and if people buy the product, well, more fool them. No?

    This brief post may interest you, too:

  13. @Adarsh hmm maybe u r right.

    @Robert πŸ™‚ No ur whole comment is welcome n nice. And point taken. But the thing in India is we belong to one race but yet we discriminate among ourselves on basis of skin color!! the fair skin is a dream for us. Its projected by cosmetic companies as desirable. and I’m questioning this thinking and attitude.

    @Shefaly //people in India, who say, upon discovering someone is lower caste, “oh but she is not dark, how come?”. // This is so true and a good example. U r correct. These companies are all just making money while taking advantage of such prejudices in the Indian psyche.I’ll check out ur post surely.

  14. You touched upon a topic which , unfortunately, has no black and white answers. While I agree with you that TV advertisements for fair creams border on insanity and childishly propogate primitive concept of beauty, men who seek fair/beautiful brides should not be ridiculed as such. The way nature has programmed my poor brethren, he is indeed attracted to outer beauty-fairness or otherwise- of women.Yes, no doubt that many of us do look beyond girls’ looks, but still, for most of us, we could never become so ‘cool’ that outer beauty doesnt matter to us at all. Now, that outer beauty could be in the form of fairer skin for some men and , for some, in the form of voluptuous figure and for others in the form of something else. I dont think that men, even Indian men, necessarily have hots for gori chitti girl all the time. Personally too, I have always fallen more for girls whose skin color , at the best, could be termed as wheatish. Most of my white friends find Indian girls ( not kareena kapoors or Aishwarya rais, but very regular Indian looking girls) most beautiful in the world.
    I agree to an extent that fascination for fair skin among some Indians is probably due to colonized past and ridiculous belief among some upper caste people that skin color defines superior caste and status.
    Many years back, I watched a documentary called ‘Skin Deep’ by Reena Mohan..I think it was a very honest and disturbing account of problems faced by dark colored/plain looking girls in both rural and urban India.
    In the end, I wish it was that easy to reason with men that beauty is skin deep and that they should not run after ‘fair’ looks.

    P.S. : I completely agree with canopener’s comment here that Halle barry’s or such similar comments by black or colored people , propogating their personal achievements as victory of their races despite all ‘odds’, make things more complicated in this already polarized world. Such statements are as racist in nature, if not more, as some racist comment by a white person.

  15. “Beautiful girl White engineer MNC.”
    This is the usual line for most of the matrimonial ads these days.
    well we get it, they meant fair. But still the demand for fair girls in the matrimonial columns is huge.

    I think our society influences much in this. the line has been drawn,where the parents look out only for fair girls. The girls parents curse themselves and the gal for being more towards the darker side.
    We Indians wud have the same color as that of our ancestors, I guess it better to accept it. and even the fairness cream companies come with markers with number from 1 to 10 to measure one’s skin tone.

  16. Not only the discrimination that is been fanned by the commercials but also they are damaging the skin per say.. most of these products remove the first layer of the skin which contain melanin (the pigment that is responsible for the colour of the skin). Due to this the skin becomes vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun and becomes more prone to cancer. (this is the simplified version of the fact and not the exact medical version!)

  17. @ Sakhi: I think you are talking about products that contain hydroquinone which are disallowed in most civilised countries in the world although I am not sure of Indian regulations regarding these. Hydroquinone based rogue ‘fairness’ products are most common in African countries – and in the Middle East – which suggests that the preference for fair skin is not just an Indian malaise. Fairness creams are also excessively popular in China and Japan. e.g. Shiseido sells a skin whitening range in those countries but not in Europe.

    The products – at least those from MNCs – being sold in India as fairness creams do not contain hydroquinone but are weak, non-chemical sunscreens – which people in India otherwise just do not use – which lighten the skin by preventing excessive melanin production to protect against the sun’s rays.

    Most American companies are liable to be taken to court for their actions abroad as well.

  18. @Dev wow! that must be your longest comment yet on my blog! look at what moving to WP does πŸ˜› πŸ˜› Jokes apart, //In the end, I wish it was that easy to reason with men that beauty is skin deep and that they should not run after β€˜fair’ looks// I’m so happy to hear a man say that πŸ™‚ Ofcourse we can never be “cool” so much as u said cuz after all its innate in any species for propagation; to define in absolute basic instincts. Hmm I dont quite agree with //propogating their personal achievements as victory of their races despite all β€˜odds’// view but then each to his own! Cheers!

    @Taju Yes i too have seen these “white” ads. as if they r advertising to buy some shirt!!The demands in matrimonial columns are too much…”slim,educated,homely,very fair,beautiful,traditional” all rolled in one they want!yup have seen those markers in ad. The attitude certainly needs to be changed.

    @Sandeep πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  19. @Sakhi yes..chemicals can never do good to skin. And u know just yesterday I saw an ad for bleach for men!!! Poor men!!

    @Shefaly //Fairness creams are also excessively popular in China and Japan// Really??????? but they all r already fair. I havent seen a single Chinese or Japanese who is dark. In India many banned drugs n chemicals are available…in fact so many medicines which should not be given without prescription are sold over the counter.

  20. @ Reema: The workings of the human mind are not fully understood by any one πŸ™‚

    Re banned chemicals, I know for sure Fair and Lovely does not use them. I am a compulsive label reader, one, and also I worked in the industry so we knew a lot of stuff about competition.

    And I disagree that chemicals can never do good to the skin (as you mention to Sakhi). Some of the most active and effective sunscreens – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – are both chemicals. There is some evidence that oxybenzone enters the human blood stream. But very few products contain oxybenzone.. Many things we eat and drink routinely contain chemicals so it is all about making the right choices based on one’s own risk propensity. Isn’t that what science should equip us to do?

  21. @Shefaly yes ofcourse we cant avoid chemicals in our daily life…and science should quantify and inform the risk and even reduce them for us.

  22. The most irritating thing is famous public figures endorsing such stupid ideas. They should rather use their celebrity status to support that “we should say no to any racial discrimination based on skin colour.”

  23. @Willow Nowadays celebs are endorsing any stupid product for money…starting from inverters to navratn tel!!! have u seen the Chak de girls ad for inverters?

  24. @RukmaniRam Welcome to my blog!! Thank u for the link but I have already seen it on you tube! In India however all the parts havent come yet. But going by the original ad it looks like my guess will come true. Keep visiting!!

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  28. Men and their families I think are stupid enough to want a fair woman when it comes to the marriage market. But I cannot understand the ads showing girls clearing interviews due to fairness of skin. WTH!!!!
    BTW who wants to win back someone who dumped you for the color of your skin??!! If the girl had sense she would kick him where it hurts and get on with her life.
    Good post!

  29. Well said! and I totally agree with Canopener’s comments about the African American experience here. While fighting for equal rights people often get equally divisive!

    The ad is typical of the values of the dominant culture of preferring lighter skin. Comments like, ” Oh she is so beautiful, light skinned, good features .. ” have deeply rooted this in our psyche and people sometimes exhibit biases without even realizing it!!

    The only solution is for both men and women, young ones if their parents are stuck in the discriminatory mindset, need to boycott it totally in all its ugly manifestations!

  30. Let it be a criterion no…. if a guy wants a fair skinned girl and a girl applies a lot of creams to get the fair skin, they should be so like minded. And maybe even make a good pair – On TV and movies and photos. But life is not lived in a photograph. Or for it. This could also be an elimination technique for guys or girls who think otherwise. All the ads looking for such ‘fair skinned” stuff could be eliminated at the first sight. Now, that’s what I call Hate at First Sight! πŸ™‚

    Destination Infinity

  31. @Shail Welcome to my blog. Exactly! how on earth can they suggest such a thing ? Thanks! Keep visiting.

    @Uma Welcome here. Thanks. Yes the only solution is to change one’s attitude and prejudices. Keep visiting.

    @Destination Infinity LOL Nice idea!

  32. Isnt the entire arranged marriage idea based on these superfifical aspects ? Accha ghar, acchi naukri, gora rang and other such things, which are the only things you can know abt a person by just looking at their picture and ‘resume’. I am not trashing the idea of arranged marriages, but that has certainly played a part.

    But having said that skin color does vary quite widely in India, and its not just extremes like it is in the US.

    Reema: Basically arranged marriages intend to make marital life easier by screening some things that can cause clashes. But fairness cant be termed as an important factor or rather a factor at all for a happy married life!

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  34. That is just ridiculous! Did not know about the Ponds ad. I am so with you in that why would a woman want to take back a guy who has dumped her for her looks???? Such a guy is never worth it! Re Indians obsession with white skin since the Brit days…well, the Brits and other ‘whites’ have moved forward in that they love the fake tans to get darker but we are stuck on fairness creams! Go figure!!!

    Reema: Exactly!! πŸ™‚

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  37. I think dusky is the new fair from days gone by! Let’s rebel by getting sun tans… by the beach, on the roof of our buildings… wherever! Before and after shots posted on our blogs! Who’s with me?

  38. These ads are getting a lil’ too ridiculous. Am extremely disappointed that idols like John Abraham and Dhoni are riding this band wagon. Was watching a documentary on BBC five years back about African girls falling into the fairness jing bang trap. The report pointed out that the chemicals in these products eventually cause more harm than good.

    Afsha: am with you… i need a tan big time.

    P.S. got here from indiblogger. am on blogspot, so won’t be able to follow. Gr8 post nevertheless.

  39. this is the very big problem of indian people he is a dark faces but after introducing of Pond’s White Beauty face cream this problem is solve

  40. Very nice blog, Reema.

    I have not yet seen the Pond’s ad, but I am just guessing what the third part could be.

    The dumped girl (who wooed the moron back with her newly attained fair skin) has another neighbour girlfriend. Now this third girl was keeping a track of the whole dumpee/dumped saga, decides to use the product, and this time the $@&*^# leaves the heroine and falls for the third (neighbourhood) girl.

    I am sure some more sequels will come.

  41. Good point. And its been raised before as well. In fact ‘Fair and Lovely’ is the living, expanding, well doing guarantee that such a model exists, there are suckers for this kind of product and all that the marketers and companies are doing is target them.
    I wonder if its time the Government came up with a law against marketing skin lightening creams? (im a ready supporter)

    But then, our whole society is based on looks. Worldwide. Are you thin? No? Then you are not pretty. Are you tall? Do you have a sharp nose? Flawless skin? Big eyes?
    If all these characters which you are born with can be used to judge you, whats fair skin? Brits or no brits, just another parameter! And people LOVE the ads >.<

    FYI – Fair and Lovely has a HUGE market in African countries. People there tried out a campaign 'Black & Beautiful' – to no avail.

  42. Hi Reema..came across your blog at indiblogger..my votes are for you..read your post and loved it. this is such a sensitive issue.it’s a shame that such prejudices still exist in our country and those shameful things are being reflected through ads and thus in some way encouraging them.

  43. brilliant post. yes indeed the discrimination exist. and the sad part is: we still run after the ads.

    Reminds of an old cartoon series called Recess. In one of the episodes – they repeatedly expose the public to the names of the brands and later the public are like hypnotized! they walk in right-angles and buy ‘the’ product. Of course, you post is not very much related to this – but somehow i felt like sharing…

    and once again: brilliant!

  44. I totally agree….the sad part is that there people who actually fell for it….and this is what they had been waiting for!

  45. I went through the blog and most of the comments, and hv got the trend of thought…but I hv a slightly different angle to this…obsession with ‘fair’ skin is not so much abt racial prejudice or a British legacy…it is a natural attraction for the opposite sex in a predominantly dark-skinned population..among caucasians, a darker shade of skin is considered more attractive…this works at a very subtle, psycho-cognitive level, and is hardly a thought-out process.. the basic word is ‘sex-appeal’, which every girl wants to have..the singular girl who doesn’t want to is actually the odd one out! We cannot wish this away..this is herd behavior.. I hv watched myself, and realized that even I am not immune to this! The eyes naturally plant themselves on the fairest of them all on the screen! The tallest is always more magnetic! Sometimes, a combination, such as a tall frame with a baritone voice (BigB!) can overcome other ‘weaknesses’ in men! It is all very unfair, but that is typical animal/primate/human behavior! If we make a deliberate attempt to overcome our own behavior, we end-up being unfairly biased against the fair-skinned!And the commercials are very clever in exploiting the natural foibles of their targets!

  46. Hi,
    Came here from indiblogger. What a lovely post. I am dark in complexion as I am a tamilan by orgin. I see that we ourselves are responsible for this current scenario. The media unfotunaletl has created the divide between the fair and the not so fai and dark people. The onus should be physical fitness rather than beauty. We must have self worth and esteem which unfortunately we are not encouraged to have by our societal design. We cannot be rebels and have the life that we want. Biologicaly , animals find partners based on various parameters but predominantly it is physical fitness and the ability to reproduce. We as a socity curb natural slection.
    If a tamil girl is not getting marriage alliances because of her darkness, does she go out of her way to wait for the right guy. No is the answer as most of the parents wish to send off their daughters by paying double dowry. Incredible, but true. I hope the current generation which is bearing the fruits of globalisation can understand the marketting gimmicks of these heartless corporates and lead a content life.

    ps: If only fairness got you husbands, 90 percent of girls in TN would never marry.

  47. But the sad thing is there are still people who run after these ads and still buy the products. So Madison Ave (or its Indian equivalent rather) can keep going with its stupid sales tactic by labeling every aspect of a human being with a price tag. It is a bit of anglophilia; no matter how many times people say it doesn’t have to do with the British, the truth is we still value white skin over dark.

    And funny story, recently I was in Taiwan. I guess I have “wheatish” skin (though I don’t really like that word either..I am not wheat or rice for that matter). And a lot of Taiwanese people I had met had only been exposed to Bollywood’s light-skinned actresses. And a lady asked me whether I had African roots too because she didn’t think Indians were brown! I was like uhmmm… maybe we should do a skin color demography chart of India? haha
    But jokes aside, it does seriously affect a girl’s self esteem when she’s held so much lower even from early childhood just because of the tone of her skin.

    • yes many many people are still obsessed with fair skin. Recently a friend said about her own daughter – her skin color takes after my husband’s wheatish skin color. Imagine!!

  48. A decent one. I always have an confusion, if one uses fairness cream, she becomes fairer, but then, if all of them uses it, so does everybody and she will remain relatively dark even then!!.

    It is better to be loved for a person you are and not for your skin.

    PS: In goa, foreigners desperately want to get their share of Tan!!

    Superb flow


  49. If only colors defined the characteristics…it’s grossly unfair on societal and saner terms to co relate beauty with fairness. How on earth is Naomi Campbell the supermodel and a designer’s top catch for being the show stopper while being a dark woman? The Indian mindset has to break through the shackles of their fetish with the fairer color,for not everything that glitters is gold!

    PS I’d also like to point to the pathetic Fair & Lovely TV commercials.

    Nice post!


  50. the stupidest product on the market should be the fairness cream, and its pathetic to see, a seperate launch for men..

    it might be funny, but its not when i heard a 8 year old wheatish complexioned boy ask his mother to buy him one.

  51. It’s almost funny that this is a topic of constant hand-wringing; and yet things never change. I wrote a very similar piece a few years ago — which was lifted from my blog and printed (with the photo I took) by the Bangalore Times without attribution. The fairness neurosis makes everyone look bad (so to speak), but it looks as though it will never go away. Sad.

  52. Hi Reema,

    Just yesterday I was listening to the radio when the RJ asked a question to the listeners which was like “Is there a discrimination done between fair skinned and dark skinned people in India?” Which leads to the very topic of complexion and skin tone written by you. Must say you have chosen a very debatable topic.

    Our outlook on beauty is very distorted in my opinion. On one hand, where we have dusky models and beautiful actresses like Bipasha Basu who are proud to have a dusky complexion. I prefer to call it dusky rather than dark, you see how words can make such a difference. On one hand, this ad is dumb as it makes use of a very unrealistic story to market its product. On the other hand, I feel the junta is sensible enough to interpret the ad in the correct way.

    While some of us do feel sometimes that we could be fairer, and this ad communicates that emotion to some extent and also this video I posted on my blog http://unboundspirit-heena.blogspot.com/2009/09/great-videoevolution.html do have a look!

    • Welcome to my blog. The point is that if u want to advertise a product just do that…do not link with stupid reasons like getting a job/ married/ boyfriend etc etc. keep visiting!

  53. first time on your blog
    we Indians are obsessed with white skin
    worst is now a days even boys are trying every thing on the earth to get fair skin
    gone are the days of Dark handsome boys
    now even the boys want to be fair
    as a result the market is flooded with fairness creams for boys

  54. I believe that the people behind these ads are aware of the irrationality and everything else being discussed here.

    They’re probably making the ads for the masses and not for a handful of people like us.

    I wish there were more responsible πŸ™‚

  55. I too am of indain descent and I could not agree with you more. Most Indians are SO racist and have this inherent bias toward lighter skin-it is so archaic and…racist. It never ceases to amaze me.-soraya

  56. As a white-skinned foreigner living in India, I’m also sickened by this white-skin fetish that the media is embracing and imposing on Indians—who are, if I’m not mistaken, MEANT to be dark-skinned!! And all the while, in foreign lands, the white-skinned people are lying under the sun trying to become darker!!! Ridiculous, all of it.

    But the British have soooo much to answer for, don’t they?

  57. The age old dilemma plaguing India indeed !!
    There was one instance wherein one my my friend got dumped cuz the guys mom wanted a fair skinned girl !! Sick right ?
    Also there was one Arjun Rampal’s movie – I see you , wherein they wanted to promote the dark skinned heroine of that movie. Did we see her again…i doubt.
    I guess there is no real cure for this madness…is there?

    • I personally think that skin color (fair, dark, dusky, or whatever) is just another “attraction attribute” along with other attributes like height, body structure, etc.

      BTW, I am using the term “attraction attribute” for lack of a better word πŸ™‚ It’s almost midnight and I do not want to break my head over it.

      Some folks prefer taller partners, while others may prefer some one who is more petite … In the same way, some folks may prefer duskier partners, while others may prefer paler partners. Their personal choice, right? So be it. How can someone judge a person’s concept of ‘beauty’?

      I lived in the US for more than 10 years before coming down to India for an extended vacation. The idea of beauty there is very different from here in India. In the US the primary attribute is fitness. You need to be lean and athletic to be attractive for the average Joe/Jane out there. None of the nice long hair etc πŸ™‚ which we have here. I am not saying one is better than the other.

      A batch mate of mine who was super popular while in India went into a kind of depression when she moved to the US. The idea of beauty out there was very different and all of a sudden no one out there considered her to be pretty.
      She was vain enough to go into depression … I digress …

      In the US being fat is almost criminal. Switch on the telly after 12 and all you get to see are fitness machine ads, diet pill ads etc.

      How different is the ‘Fair and Lovely’ ad from the ‘Pop a few and become a size zero’ ad. Both are targeting people who seem to be unhappy with the way things are. They are capitalizing on inferiority complexes by provide crappy solutions which they know will sell.

      In China, the obsession is height πŸ™‚ There are lot of people who undergo surgery to increase their heights. Insane? Definitely!

      Here is the reason for the obsession for tanned skin in the western world. A few generations back, pale skin was popular there too. Same reason as India’s. Upper Class = No working in the fields = No sunburn = Paler skin. Hence Pale skin was being equated to belonging to the Upper Class. But now, the western world has an affinity for a tanned tone. Logic : Upper Class = More money to spend on beach holidays = Tanned skin tone. That’s why tanned looks are in as of now.

      I feel that people should be comfortable the way they look – be it tall,short,fat, thin, lean, dark, dusky, or whatever. In Samoa, for example being fat and rolly polly is considered to be attractive. Very different from India or the West.

      May be I should move to Samoa πŸ™‚ LOL !!!

  58. As we Say beauty lyes in the eyes of Beholder……i personally dont like discrimination or measuring of beauty on skin color..i think its just the notion introduced many years back By the So called West World including England , Europe etc.
    For me its just like how you carry yourself and how you present yourself.

  59. Great Post! You have a very interesting perspective in your blog. I really like it! . As you rightly mentioned, most people are attracted to glamor and beauty and only a select few like to peep deep inside of you. There are very few people who understand that beauty is skin deep and that character is one of the most important trait or aspect of a person.

  60. Playing for the gallery are we mademoiselle. We live in a world where perception is everything. That being said what about free will.

    If I dare say I do not fancy a girl friend who is dark , am I culpable of racism?. Or let me put it this way. I am beige, ok. And I approach megan fox and ask her for a date, which she will refuse in micro seconds.

    Would it be right on my part to say that megan fox disapproved me because of my color. In this instance let us assume that I am a genius philanthropist with numerable contribution to society. Should it make my case any stronger?.

    Its a case of grapes gone sour. As Helen hunt said in “As good as it gets”.

    You are mad not because you had it bad, you are pissed that others had it good.

    My latest posts treads on the lines which I wrote above. I would like to hear what you have to say about my post, assuming I haven’t irritated you already.

    • What a loser you are!! Without even knowing me and reading the post carefully (else u would have known that I had and have it good) u go on to pass judgement! u cannot put up a rational argument and just love trolling on blogs..thats how u get your high I suppose?

      • I get my “High” by having rational arguments, clearly this is not place for me. And I just wanted to critique the post not you at all.Forgive me if my comment sounds as trolling. I am against discrimination too and by that I just wanted to say, the fair person is not at fault but the marketing folks are.


  61. Yes, it seems to be that we as a society are so “into” fair skin. That is ironic because if you look around you, you will see that the majority of the people are darker skin toned. I am, however, not sure that this has to do with the British rule. I would like to go back to the old stories and ballads written in all languages in India and see if this bias existed even then. Anyway, good read. Here’s to hoping that (a) women stop equating self worth with whether someone is willing to go out with them or not; (b) that the brown people will in general grow up and realize that we come in all shades and that there is beauty in every shade.

  62. Hi Reema!!

    Nice post!!! Its not just the skin color….Men I think give more importance to looks than women…So looks matter more than the person…And looks are kind of judged by the skin complexion….Well, thats the whole concept behind the love at first sight stories right?

  63. Well said! The world of FMCG advertising and marketing in India is run by male marketers who, blissfully ignorant of the fact that 80% of their products are targeted at women, continue to foist their tastes upon them. Add to that our collective societal obsession with fairness. I discovered it first hand when I was recruited as the first woman sales manager in the all-boys sales club of Hindustan Unilever – experiences which subsequently birthed my debut novel, Earning the Laundry Stripes. The only way forward is for women to start determining what is important to them and making their voice heard. Go Girl Power!

  64. Well said!!! I too keep wondering why this insanity behind the idea of “fair skin”. I think it is time to promote “dark is beautiful” or “you are beautiful the way you are”.Nothing really matters. Just keep thy skin glowing, silly! πŸ˜‰

    Nice post!!!!

  65. everything sell, you just have to touch the pain point of the consumers. Cosmetic companies started with women and now i see men getting facials. It is ok if the products are non toxic and have good effects (physical or psychological) πŸ™‚

  66. Well said and written. We have internalized colonization so that no matter what it is the fair that is considered superior. Time to love our brown selves:)

  67. We’ll written! When will we overcome the obsession for fair skin! Some of the most beautiful women I know aren’t fair. Sad that one’s beau is judged by fairness of skin.


  68. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

    The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Kudos

  69. Hey…thanks so much for visiting my blog! And yea, this country is internationally criticized with our obsession with fairness. The idea is overrated!

    Have a great day! πŸ™‚

  70. It is heartening to see this post and discussion, and so many people saying ‘Nay’ to the trend of ‘Fair IS Lovely’. However, we, as a society need to understand the issue and its roots much more deeply – and maybe even start a movement (or at least show support for whatever movements exist currently, however small). One such movement is the Colorism Project. Those interested, please check out the link http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7h6fkApDMgJxi3d-jKJtwA

  71. They make the most offensive cosmetic ads in our country! They play on insecurities and society’s conformities. Notice how our sales women make us feel ugly to sell us something but in other countries they use flattery?? Fairness cream ads need to stop making ads that tell us that they think that their target audience is stupid enough to buy their fake photoshopped effects!

  72. Pingback: The Post Tag | My Random Thoughts

  73. Well, things have moved much beyond just fair skin now considering that older women are now supposed to woo men with a tightened women-hood ! One would think, the whole relationship centers around things like these.

  74. Very interesting post, the funny side is that the add people are in search of a plot to put their stuff into it to attract the viewers or the consumers!!
    This is what exactly happened here too.
    I am here for the first time. good blog. keep writing. Keep inform
    Best Regards
    Philip Ariel

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