Monday, October 13, 2008

Now that's not FAIR !

It’s commonly heard that the actual beauty lies inside. But does this thing hold relevant in India today too? How many marriageable people would agree to accept a dark complexioned person as their partner for life? Hardly anyone, that too in case when that person is doing exceptionally well or hails from a healthy financial background. Ironically India is a country of wheat complexioned people. Fair girls stand fair chance of getting privileges while a similar but dusky girl would not make it to the merit list. Parents get doubly disappointed when they are blessed with a baby girl, that too of dusky complexion. And we still say women power is developing? Why are we obsessed with the white skin? Is it in the Indian genes or a colonial hang over that white skin defines beauty? The market is flooded with the skin lightning creams. There is a new category been launched: the white glow? Indians do not have such skins! The models used in the ad are all western Celebes who have this type of skin. Still the marketers are laughing their way to the bank. Why are we drooping so low to make ourselves look alike the westerners, is it the source of our self confidence? Then it’s humiliating.

Fair n lovely from HLL is another brand that has filed a gap and, has a massive 53 per cent market share. HLL has other fairness products under its Lakme and Aviance brands It has intensively studied the Indian skew ness towards the fair skin and has clearly marketed a concept, a dream to millions of Indian consumers who either because of family or social pressures, low self esteem or some personal marriage rejection experiences are longing to get the stamp of approval of society by getting fair. Star plus even runs a tele-serial on this very theme: the duskier sister is not getting married and the whole family is in tension!
Now some interesting facts:

Of the Rs 3,000-crore cosmetics and toiletries market, the skincare segment accounts for Rs 1,200 crore. Fairness products account for a whopping Rs 700 crore of this segment. The annual growth rate is between 10 and 15 per cent. South is the largest market with 36 per cent contribution, with the North and West equally contributing with 23 per cent The East contributes 18 per cent to volumes. Category penetration, according to ORG, is at 11.6 per cent all over India. Andhra Pradesh is the highest penetrated with 14.5 per cent with Gujarat penetration at 2.8 per cent. Kerala, Gujarat and Bihar are the top three growing markets with Kerala growing by 40.37 per cent

Does that mean the dusky people stand no chance of getting success; at least the ad seems to convey this only. A dusky girl comes home like a lost solider, gets a complete makeover by using a fairness cream and wow! She is on the top. How many of us would like to marry a fair and lovely bimbo? Surprisingly, most of the top Indian models like Sheetal Malhaar, Carol Gracious, Noyonika Chaterjee, Dipanitta Sharma, Nina Manual, even Maliaka Arora Khan have dusky compexions.

Grooming experts say it’s not just the complexion rather the whole personality that counts. The way one talks, body language and of course the content in the head. Still, we do have two major preconceived notions that fair are beautiful and secondly beautiful people are good while dusky ones are vamps. Fair and lovely and other such crèmes do a thriving business exploiting these two major notions only. That means talent does not count at all? Being fair is a guarantee to success or dusky people in spite of talent cannot be successful till they become fair? The tag line of fair and lovely is; the power of beauty’ does beauty means only fairness?

I have seen parents discriminating kids on the basis of complexion. What can be more depressing than this? Should we conclude that Indians are schizophrenic? At one hand we are focusing on talent only while on the other we are discriminating, and what the basis is: the shade of your skin!

This is well absorbed in the Indian mentality that fair means success and attention and it is not wrong also. Fair and handsome is one such crème that exploits this notion. SRK is the brand ambassador and the success rate of this crème is phenomenal. I think it is the high time we drop all our preconceived notions and stop discriminating with those born with natural darker shades of skin. Success is not about the colour of someone’s skin. It depends on a lot more factors. I thing we all must open our eyes and make our hearts more receptive.
[1] The Hindu business line


  1. Its in our mind set. My blood boils when my close friends talk about fair girls to marry! Mind that these guys are far educated in the US of A; yet the Indian mindset.
    Why look far, its in our own home. My mom gives me tips on the food I should eat and the packs I must apply to get fairer(I am just wheatish!)
    Sometime back, I read the Aishwarya Rai declined an advertisement offer from a fairness cream as it was against her ethics. Kudos to her!

  2. hi
    thanks :)

    yup I agree but sadly it is very much a reality :(

    yaa aishwariya did the right thing :)

  3. I have seen in the families that fair bahu is pampered more whereas dark one has to slog.

  4. hii Renu

    yes, sadly true