Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fair = Lovely ?

The Fair and Lovely ads speaks of fairness as a qualification. Fairness can change a girl’s life. In 14 days , she can turn into the most successful woman. There is this particular ad where a girl is a theatre artist but her talent is not recognised . Then she uses this cream and her complexion lightens . The next thing we know , she becomes a top actress ! This ad is named ‘Power of Beauty’. Fairness is seen as a confidence booster. But most importantly, as the ad suggests, it is associated with beauty. The Matrimonial ads refer to fairness and beauty as synonyms . Fairness is a virtue.

Indians are obsessed with fairness. It is , however , very curious as the Indian climate does not support fairness. Indians complexion ranges from ‘wheatish to dark colour’. A Fair skin is rare and so it is considered a gem. This obsession may have a historical background to it. The Rig Veda frequently refers to the word varna , literally meaning colour . The arya with a fair skin and perfect facial features were constantly in conflict with the indigenous tribes who were described as dark and ‘without a perfect nose’ . The word varna in later periods is used to denote caste of a person. This example points out that some form of consciousness about one’s complexion may have been prevalent. Some of the stereotypes connected with the dark complexion may have started emerging.

The rule of the Whites( the European colonizers ) consolidated the process of racism . A very famous concept produced by the colonizers was the concept of white man’s burden. They made statements like ‘the foundation of all great civilizations was set by Whites’. Fairness got associated with power.

The colonization came to an end in the twentieth century but racism has managed to survive. People often act crazy when there is a white foreigner around them. The dark ones are all categorized as the Negros. There is a desire in every Indian heart to look , behave and live like a foreigner. Fairness/Whiteness is attractive but Racism makes it beautiful. Fairness is the demand of the society. Fairness is one of the most attractive word in Indian Matrimonial ads. In the latest Fair and Lovely ad , the girl is rejected by many seekers because she doesn’t have the ‘glow’. Fairness creams are the most popular creams in India. Every household carries one. A Pregnant woman is often advised to drink milk so that the baby gets a milky complexion. The most typical question asked about a baby is whether he/she has a fair skin or not . The word ‘fair’ also denotes something which is right. Fairness for men is a new concept in India . Its generally the women who are more conscious about the way they look . The first time i saw the Nivea Whitening Cream , i could not help myself laughing . The ads for men also proved the same point. Fairness is the ladder to success.

Now the question comes ...how fair is it to be fair ? The Supreme Creator designed us all differently for a reason . It(the creator/force) prefers diversity. It wanted us all to be unique. But Human beings do not think on the same lines . They prefer homogeneity. To dislike the way you look means to insult the creativity of the Supreme Creator. A more scientific reason is the climatic factor. Its the climate which determines one’s complexion. Fairness is also associated with a lot of skin diseases. The White people are more prone to skin cancer as compared to the wheatish and the darker shaded people. The Fair skin is often a bed of blemishes , pimples and rashes . The constant use of fairness cream is also harmful. Fiddling with the melanin of the skin is not a joke. The ads will never give the real picture. Its Skin quality which makes the skin look beautiful . The colour has no role to play in that. Africa is not full of ugly ducklings. Infact , no one really is ugly. Its actually one’s own perception that makes one ugly or beautiful. To be fair may be a good thing , but to be dark is definitely not a bad thing!


  1. I think that this whole issue of fairness is something like depicting women just as an object, which should be attractive !

    But what to do? Even girls want to look physically beautiful. But i feel that they should understand the difference between beautiful and attractive !

    Take Care !

  2. girls wanna look beautiful coz society wants them to look beautiful !! girls are seen objects by the society ..nt by girls themselves ! and dude ..i also wrote abt men trying their hands over fairness ;) ..write abt that too :D

  3. devika..very truly said by you..it all boils down to one thing in life..beauty is not wat is shown by the outward appearance..bt it is wat u r as a person and how much pure u r as a human being...i completely agree wid wat u have debated upon that its not the women bt even the men who are gaga over fairness..

    this fairness saga is very famous especially in marriages in india..applyin haldi to bride and bridegroom..so their skin shows the glow and they look good..

    fairness thingy is again like the other cults prevailing in country..keep up the good work :)

  4. Loved the post Devika!
    Very thought provoking,very rational.
    I agree,the whole idea pf fairness is over rated.
    Keep blogging :)

  5. Fairness is not synonymous to beauty!True.

  6. And they lie in the sun for hours to get a tan. Quaint. Aint it? :)

  7. this article is aimed for the indian audience...nt the western ones ! Indians remark 'dhup ...ohh.. main kaali ho gayi toh!' ..lolz !! funny yes !!!:)

  8. In the ill-judged execution of a well-judged plan of things the call seldom produces the comer, the man to love rarely coincides with the hour of loving. The desired thing never comes in the hand of a person at the time when he desires it or vice versa.
    People often crave for those things which they don't have but one should understand that "not having" doesn't actually equals "lacking".
    If a person's complexion is wheatish or dark, it doesn't always mean that he lacks fairness.
    People are often buried in the misconception that fairness heightens one's confidence level. But the truth one should be aware of is: It was not the two halves of a perfect whole that confronted each other at a perfect moment; a missing counterpart wandered independently about the earth waiting in crash obtuseness till the late time came.
    I mean to say that every person is a perfect half of a perfect whole. The only secret for perfection is that he has to wait for the other half than to focus on secondary things like fairness etc.

  9. ur absolutely right erebus :) ..we crave for what dont have !

  10. To dislike the way you look is to insult the creativity of the supreme creator.
    well said Devika...
    made me think.
    It is very inspiring to see u putting light on these seemingly unquestionable perceptions..
    good work..
    keep going.