TALL, FAIR, BEAUTIFUL BRIDE SOUGHT. . .
Many of us must have come across such advertisements in matrimonial columns of Indian newspapers. The only word in the headline that I have a problem with is “fair”.
It reeks of racism, of backwardness, and is a classic example of reverse racism in a country like India. When the British ruled us, they hated us for our brown complexion. But we looked up to them. “Gora saabs” and “gori mems” fascinated us no end. Today the British have moved ahead in terms of thought, but we are still stuck with our fascination for fair skin. Beauty product companies are leveraging on this very fascination and making millions.
“Fair” is now synonymous with “lovely”. “Fair” is now synonymous is “Handsome”.
These beauty products promise impossible change in complexion within a month or two. And they are supported by these equally ridiculous television advertisements.
A dark skinned girl is a very good singer but she is low on confidence. But the moment she uses a certain fairness cream, she becomes the winner of a singing reality show.
A dark skinned junior artist is always sidelined and given smaller roles. But the moment she smears ‘so and so’ fairness cream, she is the star in a big budget movie.
The fact that the public is buying these ads is evident. And slowly but steadily, this is getting embedded in the psyche of the Indian masses. Every groom seeks a fair bride, and they proclaim it shamelessly in the matrimonial advertisements.
And it is not just limited to the female beauty care range. In the course of last few years, a new trend has come up in the male skin care section. And fairness creams for males are also being sold. A self-proclaimed “King” of Bollywood endorses such fairness creams for Indian men. So does a ‘so-called’ actor with over grown biceps. “Take care” – he says in the advertisements. Gone are the days of the classic T-D-H (Tall dark handsome) Indian male.
This is the age of the fairness cream smearing, metrosexual Indian male.
But, we all need to stop and ponder.
Is such promised fairness achievable?
Is it healthy?
Is it permanent?
And more importantly, is it necessary? Is Fair really Lovely? Is Fair really Handsome?