‘Fair’ aint all that is ‘Lovely’!

The thought for this post sprung to mind after a free-wheeling chat on India’s rapidly degenerating TV scene, with Arun and Darshan. Arun brought up what I deem to be among the most deplorable ads to have ever been aired on TV – the one of Fair and Lovely wherein it is projected that being dark-coloured is tantamount to being ugly, to the extent that it becomes a source of everyday embarrassment! In a nation/society getting increasingly vocal against racial profiling (look no further than the amply televised assaults on Indian students Down Under), I’d have expected rubbish like this to have met with a fierce furore. Instead, it’s got away utterly unscathed.

In defense of the ad-makers, they can’t be charged with sparking this phenomenon into existence. Color-based discrimination has been around for as long as I can remember. Beauty may be only skin-deep, but the coupling of color with it runs far deeper, inflicting profound social trauma on countless people. What baffles me more is the irony that many of the people who help perpetuate the Indian obsession with fairness are quite magnanimous in their appreciation of foreign black celebrities like Will Smith and Naomi Campbell!

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About Pulkit Parikh

A computer science researcher by training. At present, I earn my monthly wages from Microsoft, where I am a software engineer. Prior to that, I had worked with KSS and HP Labs, after obtaining MS-by-Research from IIIT Hyderabad. I hail from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), where I spent the first two decades of my life. A few years later, Sejal was kind enough to pick me as her partner for life. I am avidly fond of bridge (a riveting mind game of cards). In late 2010, I made what I consider my most significant decision: https://pulzinponderland.wordpress.com/living-well-by-letting-live/

Posted on September 30, 2009, in General Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Completely agreed!,
    We used to have discussions on the similar lines at home.. most of the advertisement are aired which conveys the message that you are “nothing” if you don’t have this…. Nike was the father of all such advertisements which started such campaigns at US… now the trend is coming in to India as well :(.
    Unfortunately they are able to do it successfully. At the end of the day I have a question… if Head and Shoulders say that after using their shampoo… 99%* of people [*conditions apply… god knows it] will have a clean hair then why the hell they have to produce more shampoos to serve the rest of 1%?.

  2. could not agree more!! I myself was about to write a post on this.. particularly how this (m)ad-man’s idea of ‘cool-dude’ and ‘hot-chick’ plays with the insecurities of juvenile folks.. particularly in the rural areas. Villages with a beauty parlor and no school/hospital have become all too common :(.

  3. “……..And if you think about it, what is the point of an ad except to make us unhappy with what we have……..” – Annie Leonard (Story of Stuff)

    Each advertisement basically tells us that we lack smthng or there is smthng wrong with us ….and it will be all be right if we go buy their product. Ads make us unhappy..!!

    Advertisements are supposed to help us make a rational buying choice.But more and more of ads are completely devoid of any information, more and more they rely on exploiting sone or the other emotional insecurity of human mind. Either socially acceptability, peer pressure , shame as Darshan pointed out, sexism, stereotyping, jealousy (onida ad) etc.

  4. Staying in cities we cannot even guess the magnitude of damage that this ads are doing. City people are atleast very cynical and they know most ad claims are not true, but if you go to smaller towns, and even smaller villages people are so innocent that they take everything as true, and they start spending money on this.

    I wonder if there is any place where we could challenge the claims made by this advertisers, and get an incentive if the claims are proved false.

  5. I completely agree with you. We are a country of hypocrites

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