What are the first 4 words of every telly ad? Want to be fair… All the classified ads have this one common line which actually has become compulsory now. ‘fair, slim and homely bride required…
All these verses tell a simple fact that has been seeded in the mind of Indians of this generation, that being fair would make you more beautiful and acceptable in the society. The image which will come into your mind when a gorgeous girl is mentioned will surely have a fair skin tone. This image has been stuck in our mind for over a decade now, which forces people to go for fairness treatments and fairness creams. The craze for these creams had been on a peak for many years. The clichéd advertisements made everyone want to score better on the foolish fairness meter.
The point here is that fairness is not equal to beauty and this million dollar industry wants to play on your insecurities which make you vulnerable. The prejudice of colorism has affected many since their birth. You might not have ever seen a Barbie with a dark skin. These points subconsciously instills in your mind the clichéd thought which the fairness cream and makeup industry would want you to think. From the TV advertisements to the wide-reaching pamphlets, everyone is made to believe that they can reach their goals and dream jobs only with a fair skin.
Another such phenomenon can be associated with finding thin to be beautiful which has led to Anorexia. Anorexia has been prevalent in today’s world. Models go to torturous extent to stay slim. They eat and forcibly vomit it back to stay slim. Unrealistic body images are set as ideal for them which leads to self-depreciation. Many countries like France thus have banned underweight models
In a nation such as India, where a majority of the people are brown, these creams get a large target market not only in females but recently also in males (Yeah! Reference: fair and handsome). People should accept that it is natural to be brown when your country is nearer to the equator. No doubt brown, black, pink or yellow whatever your skin colour is, you can be beautiful. Accepting this fact would in time remove this myth. Being proud of your skin colour might just do the drill in fighting off such thoughts of the Indian society.
This major stereotyping of beautiful women has shown its colours in Indian cinema too. Being fair turns out to be a pre-requisite to climb the ladders of the film industry. The number of white skinned Miss India and Miss World can easily outnumber the darker skinned population. People in Asia have slammed this stereotype in countries like Thailand and many campaigns have been launched to create awareness about this like ‘Stay Unfair, Stay Beautiful’. The times are changing and companies owning fairness creams have been asked to give official apology for misleading people. So go ahead and take a step by being unfair but proud of it.