We have all heard the story of Snow White,havent we? We know how the evil queen resorted to her cunning ways to get rid of Snow White because she wanted to be the fairest of all.
Then there is the story of this poor duckling who was always pecked and kicked by one and all because he was ugly. And as he grew up to be a beautiful white swan, he was accepted by everyone.
It’s strange how,when the duckling was dark and brown, he was thought to be ugly. But the moment he saw his white reflection, he knew he would be considered beautiful by everyone and accepted thence.
For one, I’m not going to tell Namnam this story as I can’t accept the message it conveys. I can’t tell her a tale where she needs to be told, to be accepted one has to look beautiful from the outside.
Anyway, its worth mentioning that fairness has been associated with beauty for ages. And this obsession for having a fair skin has been deep-rooted in many of us even today.
Even today girls are ostracized by our society for their skin colour. She is already made to feel worthless from the day she is born for being a girl. And on top of that, if she has a dark skin, she is made to feel even more so. She is made to believe her life is a waste and happiness will always elude her.
The parents get palpitations when she reaches marriageable age because no one in the right mind will want to marry her. Look at the matrimonial ads that are splashed in the newspapers and websites and you’ll know what I mean. Most of them will be either about seeking alliance for daughters who are ‘tall, fair, slim, etc. etc.’ or sons who prefer fair girls. As though being fair is the ultimate route to happiness.
Talking of ads, there is this particular one, of a fairness cream wherein a makeup-man’s daughter is frustrated that her father has all the knack to make everyone look fair and lovely but her. But one fine day, much to her delight her father gifts her a fairness cream like a magic potion, which is to transform her into a beautiful girl and make her a successful.
Another one wherein a girl, who is dark( obviously), comes home depressed after failing to impress her interviewers. Seeing her lost and dejected, her father, mother or sister (don’t remember who) gives a fairness cream to her…ta-daa… her life is rosy and musical again. She gets an interview with the same company and this time she gets a job! Forget about education, qualification, aptitude! If you have a fairness cream in your house, you’ll be given a job! That seems to be the marketing funda of this product.
I can list down examples of so many such ads. Such ads find a way to our lives because we are still obsessed with getting a fair complexion. Such products get leverage because we continue to associate fairness with success, happiness and beauty. And they succeed in luring us even stronger by getting our favorite icons to endorse for them. What more assurance would we want than be told by our very idols that the sure shot way to be happy is to be fair?
Namnam is yet to understand these ads. But the day is not very far when she will start paying attention to them and probably even get conflicting thoughts like Umm’s daughter O had. Now I cant stop such commercials from being dished out to us neither can I ask those icons to stop endorsing them. But I can surely stop myself from buying those products if I want her to believe that fairness creams cannot make one beautiful. That beauty is much more deep-rooted than that. That it is far more important that she takes care of her skin and protects her skin from rashes, blemishes and harmful things than lose her sleep over thinking how fair she is. That if one is beautiful from the inside, it will show from the outside too. Then, it wont matter one bit that the person is fair or not.
So I discard all the bottles of creams and lotions lying in my closet that have anything remotely ‘fair, white,or shine’ mentioned on them. Here I join Ummon in swearing off these whitening brightening shining products.
How about you? Care to join us?