Yesterday I saw an article in an online newspaper about an advertisement on TV. You may know that I don’t really watch TV and thus I had not seen this advertisement live but after reading the article, I watched it on YouTube and decided to write a blog entry about it, embedding the video below for you to see it. This advertisement has made me wonder how far the cosmetic industry will go in order to make profit.
What you can see in the advertisement is a woman who looks sad, sitting on the sofa next to her husband. The reason for her sad contemplations seems to be her husband, not giving her a single glance. Then, the solution to her problem: she washes herself with the ‘Clean and Dry Intimate Wash’ lotion with an immediate effect: laughing, she and her husband play teasingly in their living room.
This per se would be a normal – if a bit strange – advertisement. What makes this commercial controversial was the small extra in this washing lotion: it should make the washed intimate area fair. ‘Freshness and Fairness’ is the slogan of the company for this product. Seen with this information, the commercial is something to object to!
Let me tell everyone who may be confused as to the sense of such a lotion that in India the ideal of beauty is being fair. One of the most important criteria for beauty here is your skin colour. Are you fair and look rather white than brown, you are more easily considered a beauty. Young girls want to have fair skin and unfortunately many girls who have darker skin get inferiority complexes believing that they are not beautiful.
The sad reality is that they do get rejected more easily, at least in one field. Not only girls and women, boys and men, too, are facing bad discrimination in their search for a spouse if their skin has a darker tone. I already told about the cattle market of arranged marriages in which parents look at possible spouses and reject both boys and girls because they are too dark. If they are fair however, they are more wanted!
Can you imagine what kind of problems these young men and women have with their self-confidence? Knowing that they are seen as less beautiful, no matter what the rest of their body looks like! So they try in any way to look as light as possible. They don’t go out in direct sunlight for fear of getting darker. They apply make-up that makes them look fair. Or they buy whitening lotion.
Just as in Europe there are tanning lotions, whitening lotions and fairness creams are sold. In India they have become so popular that Ramona always says she has to take care not to accidentally buy a body lotion which says ‘fair and lovely’ or ‘with whitening extracts’ because so many products have this effect!
The thing that I believe is worst about this is that it is so heavily promoted by media and by celebrities. There are so many commercials that even I, who hardly ever watches TV, have seen several of them. At first those spots and the products were only for women and their beauty but then big celebrities started advertising lotions for men, too. Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan promotes in one advertisement how a young actor can boost his career – by using a whitening lotion! Virat Kohli, player of the National Indian Cricket Team, explains that he has to always look good – on and off the field – and that is why he uses one, too!
Now we have the high point of such advertisements – whitening soap for a woman’s intimate area! The next step will be the same product for men! Can’t we live the way that we are and accept that we all are different from each other? We all are beautiful, some of us lighter, some of us darker! And I want to ask the media and all celebrities to take some more responsibility and keep our youth in mind. If you teach them that only fair is lovely, you are responsible for their inferiority complexes, their depressions and whatever bad comes out of it! Teach them to treat their body well, to take care of it but without the wish to change it artificially!