Monday, October 18, 2010
How Fair is FAIR??
Is your skin’s melanin content remotely associated with your confidence level or your individuality for that matter? Ask the people from Fair and Lovely and they will tell you better. It has been a couple of decades since when such cosmetics have been brought into the market just to encash on people’s emotions and to convince them that just a mere change in complexion will provide them with the qualities they were supposedly devoid of.
The obvious question remains that does our social framework has anything to do with the kind of notions which develop in our minds regarding the advertisement of a particular product? And if the answer is yes, then how does it bring about such a radical change? The concept of fairness has struck a chord with the Indian population ever since the times when the British ruled over India. On being insulted day in and day out, something led us to believe that may be if we were fairer, our adaptability and popularity would increase amongst our rulers. But that was quite unlikely the case as Indians still continue to be treated unjustly in abroad on similar grounds. More often than not, the Fair and Lovely ads are quite stereotypical which mostly shows a girl trying to impress a boy but fails miserably as she is not beautiful. Then comes a miraculous fairness cream which takes away all her problems and gets her the boy as well. This girl is the “supposed” embodiment of every Indian woman but sadly fairness is not a synonym for beauty; it never was and never will. These advertisements have affected the Indian population so much so that every single matrimonial ad has the word FAIR as an important criterion. These days such products have been even brought out for males to emphasize on the fact that we are never happy with what we have. But does a minor change in skin colour actually help us climb up to the upper notches of the social ladder. Does it keep us happy for the rest of our lives or provide us with the much needed social security?
As Bob Dylan has once said-“The answer is blowing in the wind”. One might say, it’s not me, it is the society but it is the little drops of water which makes the mighty ocean. Americans may be fond of a tan and Indians might be obsessed with white skin but that should not, in any way stop us from being what we want to be. A commodity might be hugely popular but that should not interfere in your process of growing up. Social structures are made and broken but it affects our line of thinking which remains the same forever. I would like to end by saying that a society inspires the media to function the way it does ensuring that certain ideologies never go out of people’s mind. Mere discussions won’t help as we need to take this forward. Quoting George Gillespie -“Reformation ends not in contemplation, but in action.”