I am not much into TV serials and specially not the saas-bahu soaps. But I do watch some light hearted and comic stuff once in a while. Also, we generally tend to watch TV while having dinner. The prime time, as it is called. The one when there are many viewers glued to the idiot box and maximum TRPs and thus, maximum ads. Now, you may be thinking what am I blabbering about the idiot box with a post titled as this. The real observation starts here….
When watching the telly, I have noticed that out of 10 advertisements aired during the prime time, at least 4 are about products claiming to make you fair. That makes a decent 40% of the ads. Skin – lightening Creams, skin lightening soaps, talcum powder with skin lighting qualities (meh!), moisturizing creams with skin lightening elements, anti-aging products with skin lightening properties, acne removal creams with skin lightening agents, men’s creams and face washes (yes, fair and handsome!!) …aarghhh!!! If this is not enough, the leads in the remaining ads, males, females and even kids are majorly fair ones. Or the darker ones with so much grease paint on and made to look fair!! Be it an advertisement for fans, chocolates, durables, clothes etc etc etc.. The darker shade is shown only to depict something ugly, bad or a negative character.
The society wants it and so the media feeds it. The media highlights it and thus the society wants it more. Vicious circle? Yes it is! Did you know that the fairness cream industry in India is as huge as Rs. 3000 crores?
In a country where the natural color of the skin is wheatish to brown due to the geographical reasons, why are we so fixated on being fair? What is it that fair people can do but brown cannot? Why is everybody hell bent on lightening their complexions? Why is a skin tone so bloody important while judging a personality of a person? Why is good looking associated with being fair? Why does every groom wants a ‘fair bride’ even when he is a color close to coal? Why do the unborn kids are expected to be fair when their parents are wheatish? Why does every compliment has to include cute and ‘fair’? Can’t someone of a darker shade be more good looking and presentable than someone who is fairer? Are not brown horses more alluring and appealing than the white braying donkeys?
Sorry donkeys, I apologize, I do not mean to demean you. I just wanted the ones with the white color fixation in their head to know the difference. So used you as an example. Please don’t mind.
Even during my wedding the make-up artist was hell bent on making me look fair. “Photos ache aayenge” was her explanation when I asked. I washed my face and told her to re-apply the stuff again, maintaining my skin tone and using a foundation suitable with my shade. And yes, I was looking very beautiful and glowing because I am proud of the color I am. I was smiling the whole day because I was in the dress that I loved and was marrying the person who loved me the way I am. I was smiling because I was happy and thus, the photos turned out to be beautiful! My skin color had no role to play in this! Being wheatish or dark is beautiful. When someone comments on your skin tone, if you can feel proud about it and not get offended, that is all that matters.
Until and unless people stop associating being dark as being ugly, this will continue. It’s no big deal in being fair. Being presentable and having confidence is more important. Not all scientists, doctors, models, corporates are fair. Yet they are way ahead of their times. We have to stop differentiating amongst people on the basis of their skin tone.
It’s time to start reciting stories to kids involving chocolate brown colored fairies and queens. It’s time to stop the racism prevailing. It’s time to give its due to being dark. It’s time to raise a toast for everyone out there irrespective of their color. It’s time to understand that even dark is as beautiful. It’s time to stop being shallow and look beyond the skin tone. It’s time to be colorblind. It’s time to change.
It’s time to be ‘fair’, not in context of skin tone but in terms of treating people.