If you think discrimination on the basis of colour doesn’t exist in India, then think again. If you have lived in India then obsession with fair skin will not be news to you. And if you’re brown skinned, then most ofyou’ve probably grown up with comments like, “Don’t play in the sun, you’ll get tanned”, “This colour will make you look darker” and “Have you tried xyz product to lighten your skin?” Right?
Dark skin is treated like a disease in India! Our obsession with fair skin is legendary. Fairness creams have flooded indian market convincing an entire youth that fair skin is the answer to all their problems. Magazines, newspapers tv screens, all are bombarded with ads, telling us that if we are not fair, then you will face rejections everywhere. Guys we have taken colour discrimination to a whole new level.
In India, fairness creams has a flourishing business of around 450 million dollars. According to research, the whitening cream market is expanding at a rate of nearly 18% a year, thanks to all the Bollywood stars involved in its endorsement.
Not just women, Indian men also want to be fair! Surprisingly, it is not just women who bear the brunt of such nonsensical preconceptions; men too are victims.
False narrative is sold to them, for ex- Being fair makes them more alluring to the opposite sex. We prefer our heroes to be “fair and handsome”. Subsequently, brands like Emami and Garnier cash in on lightening creams and soaps designed especially for men.
And then there are some damn illogical advertisements! Hundreds of not so fair women and men face rejections on jobs, interviews and marriage proposals being dismissed. This is true! If you do not believe me then see those fariness cream TV commercials.
Get a fancy job! Get a long awaited promotion! Get a girlfriend! Get happily married! We have all heard of the usual. Next they are telling you fair skin will boost your confidence; increase your self-esteem and people will just love you!
For years, ads for creams like Fair & Lovely and Ponds Whitening Cream have explicitly linked whiter skin to beauty, good life, romance, career success.
Their capabilities, skill, performance, talents of these dusky girls are ignored even till date and they are judged only on the basis of skin color. For example Fair and Lovely fairness cream clearly shows a woman who is not so fair being rejected at job interviews and then suddenly she applies the cream and becomes fair. Voila! She is selected for the same job where she was rejected before because of her dark skin.
If you are not fair then you will face rejections everywhere! I mean forget talent passion, determination, knowledge, skill etc and focus on how to make your skin fair only?
Fairness cream cannot change a person’s natural skin color. The creams only bleach and prevent secretion of Melanin. So in effect fairness creams reduce tan, prevent the skin from getting darker by preventing melanin secretion; but they cannot change a person’s natural skin color.
It is important to know the harmful chemical ingredients which are used in the fairness treatments and creams. They can be very harmful for your skin, thanks to the toxic chemicals present in such cosmetics. Fairness creams usually contain harmful bleaching agent such as hydroquinone and metals like mercury, lead, nickel, chromium.
Many of the Side Effects are Irreversible
- Photosensitivity (skin becomes sensitive to exposure to sunlight)
- Facial hair growth
- Skin cancer
They are harmful and nothing can permanently change skin tone. As per dermatology studies, achieving fairness up to 20% is possible, but not more than that.
The trend of skin lightening treatment is also increasing. Many people including men are opting for skin lightening treatment but remember it can lead to skin cancer, permenant skin bleaching, uneven color etc
Does fair skin guarantee you name, fame & success?
No, Fair skin should not be the ticket to a happy matrimony or a successful career. It’s time to broaden our perspective to see that ‘fair is not always lovely’.
Why is fair skin so important to us? Why do we judge people based on the colour of their skin? No, Indian ads alone should not be blamed for spreading racism. It is we who are racist towards people from our own country because of their skin colour and slightly different facial features.
Like the ban on liquor and cigarette ads, hate speech and child pornography, should there also be a complete ban on skin-whitening creams and other products that promote fairness, and hence prejudice?