Saturday, 10 March 2012

Fair and lovely, naturally!

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who's the fairest of them all?"
And so asks the Queen in "Snow White and the 7 dwarfs"

We Indians are an obssessed lot. And some of our obsessions have taken a national form. Cricket, politician-bashing, fight against corruption, picking nose in public, spitting "paan" onto the road or the walls of  neighbour's houses or a public building. The list is endless or atleast long. Now we love colors don't we? We have a festival dedicated entirely to that cause. To celebrate colors. But our love for color extends to our skin tone too, sadly. That is where the problem starts(I don't know where it ends, we have too many problems as a nation). While the whites, blacks and yellows have been happily married to their colors, we the browns are constantly looking to brighten our tone, by a shade or two.

Fairness products available to Indian consumers

Open the Classifieds section on Sunday Times and you will come across innumerous ads seeking a "fair, beautiful, bride...." And cashing on in this obsession are the cream-selling companies. They promise to make one fairer by several tones, infact. Aah, miraculous indeed! If creams could enhance color, what do you think the entire continent of Africa and its populace have been doing for thousands of years?

Why can't we make do with the color we inherited? Why don't we understand that we are genetically disposed to have more melanin in our skin than the Europians and Americans? Where does this need for fairness arise? Back to the rat race. Well, if you need to get ahead of the others, then you must have "fair" skin. Because its been on demand since ages long. Fairness sells. Ask the stewardess of a certain airlines why she was rejected or the model trying to make it big on the ramp why she was dropped from a certain assignment. More often than not, it has to do with her skin tone.This discrimination is seen more in professions that focus on the looks. Beauty is more than skin-deep, ever heard of that? Amidst cries of foul play and racism by various organisations, the companies continue to sell dreams in the form of creams. And our heroes and heroines continue to endorse them without a hint of morality. Listen to SRK advising a dark guy to use "mard-o wali fairness cream." It's not okay for guys to be dark, that's his message. While he drew a lot of flak for this, you think he cares a hoot? We cry "racism, racism" every time an Indian is targeted outside our country while within the borders, we shamelessly continue to shove creams/lotions/powders down the throat of our own people after calling them "dark".

With the advent of consumerism and the metrosexual male, they have now come up with fairness creams designed specifically for men. Ughh! Imagine men spending hours standing in front of mirrors lathering their faces with dollops of those gooey stuff. It's one thing to be well-groomed, presentable and other to be effeminate. Exit the tall, Dark and handsome men. Enter the Fair and metrosexual variety. Didn't I say we are nationally obsessed with color, our obsession having crossed the boundaries of gender too. Enough to make a guy steal into a girl's room to lay his hand on that tube(or so they make you think). Don't you raise your eye-brows if you happen to read, "Required: a fair, handsome groom/steward...".

And I have known women who have fallen prey to such advertisements in the chase to fulfill their dreams and ended up with rashes and dark patches on their face, the result of prolonged use of such chemically loaded creams. If we can celebrate the different colors of holi, why can't we celebrate our own skin tone? And oh, a word of caution for my dear readers: when you apply the cream, please ensure you smother some on your necks and hands too. Else you may end up with uneven skin tones in your face and rest of the body, like John Abraham in the picture(above).


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