If one were to do an analysis of Indian television after the liberalisation phase, one striking feature will be the huge influx of fairness creams into our lives. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to remember any fairness cream ad during the Doordarshan days.
Is it that just after liberalisation happened, people started realising that they need to get fair? Was there a feeling that we need to be fair and ready to face the world? Or did the entire country just become dumb, after eating McDonald’s and drinking Coca Cola?
The earliest one I remember showed Genelia D’ Souza getting rejected for having no talents (the only shred of reality in the ad). She then, looks down dejectedly, and someone suggests she apply Fair and Lovely. She applies it, and lo and behold! She gets a ‘fair’ selection in the commentary box with Krish Shrikkanth. Which is a disturbing thought, considering that Srikkanth is now the Chairman of Selectors, and Virat Kohli applies Fair and Lovely. What message are we giving out to budding cricketers?
For years, we have tolerated outrageous ads that show girls who are rejected, unsuccessful, and untalented, change their fortunes, due to a fairness cream. It’s almost like saying, “Life is not fair, so you have to be.”
There have been fairness creams for girls, for women, for men, and for sportspersons. The ones for men are disguised under names like skin lightening, skin whitening, power whitening, and what not. I suggest some company comes out with a fairness cream for infants as well. Make the child fair from childhood, so that future is secure. And what about bure nazar wale? Why should their mooh be kaala? How about one for them too?
If we are showing girls of today that they need to be fair to be successful, what kind of message are we sending out? As long as there are ads like this, people like Shakti Kapoor will have something to do. Because we are endorsing the idea that good looks is the way forward, that one needs to apply fairness cream to get a job. It’s as if companies mention in the job notification – “Candidates who do not apply, need not apply.”
Then there are the ones that show the girl applying cream and becoming more presentable for the numbskull who has come to choose a bride. In the 30 seconds that the girl has applied the cream, everything about her changes. Her skin, her dressing, the walls of her house seem brighter, even her parents seem to be in a better mood. I am sure in a few days there will be a fairness cream for ‘maximum pleasure’ as well. Apply cream so that your wife looks fair, guaranteed to make you last longer.
It is revolting.
I don’t know who are the douschebags who do research and market surveys for these fairness creams. I am sure it is someone from Arindam Chaudhri’s ashram who dared to think beyond the IIMs. Well, here’s where you went wrong, dickheads:
DUSKY GIRLS ARE HOT.
Since times immemorial, from Draupadi to Chitrangada Singh, Indian men have fantasised about, worshipped, loved, chased, and proposed to dusky women. I am not saying fair girls are not hot, but not all of them are. If only being fair was enough to make someone hot, I’d have a Dolly Bindra wallpaper on my computer. There is nothing as sexy as a wonderful, intelligent, dusky girl. Dusky girls seem more earthy, and sensuous. I somehow have found fair girls to be more finicky about getting tanned in the sun, getting their skin dirty, about pimples, dimples, and crumples. I have always wondered if it was a constant pressure to remain fair. At the same time, I know morons, guys, who apply Fair and Handsome. May be they took the phrase ‘Everything is fair in love and war’ quite literally. It’s sad, because as long as you have men applying skin whitening shit on their faces, there will always be ads that talk about changing your life through fairness lotions.
My problem with the terms is more than just the usages. The problem is with the etymology itself. The word ‘fair’ has stood for “justice”, “nobility” and “good looking”. At the same time, “dark” has stood for the evil, the ignorant and the sinister. With the usage of these words, we are just reinstating what our idiotic ancestors thought of such issues. Our mythology is replete with stories of queens who are cursed by rishis for being too proud of their good looks. And what does the curse entail? That they turn dark and ugly.
While I do not have huge respect for such kind of stories, what is saddening is that our parents and grandparents have all believed that, and enforced it upon us.
If one believes that today’s people have gotten over such beliefs, one has to open a Matrimonial page and have a look. No matter what the religion, caste, educational achievement or income levels, what unifies us as a nation is our obsession with being ‘fair’.
Check this out: Wanted Fair, homely girl for boy, 28. B.Com now running family business. Caste no bar.
The guy is probably some dimwit who completed his graduation and now sits in his father’s sweet shop, but he wants a fair bride for himself! And notice the magnanimity in his search for the perfect girl. She can belong to any caste, but needs to be fair.
Fair is everything in love, obviously.