This Sunday, perched on the window, sipping a steaming cup of coffee, I was skimming through the Sunday paper. The matrimonial section caught my eye. Believe you me, it’s hugely entertaining to read these ads in the matrimonial section, how people describe the bride/groom they want in as few words as possible and at the same time making sure it packs the necessary punch. And below is what I read:
- Wanted a fair, slim and beautiful girl, educated and homely for our fair and handsome son, age 29.
- Well educated boy belonging to a rich family with established business seeks alliance from a fair, attractive and modern girl
- Mumbai based girl, 5’4”, very fair and beautiful, working with a leading bank looks for a US-based educated and good looking boy from a Vaishnav family
- Bais Rajput, Pune, age 30, 5’8” journalist, 6 lacs p.a seeks a fair graduate girl. Contact..
And boy, was I surprised to read these things!
We might be in the 21st century, where a Sunita Williams is making space journeys and where a Chanda Kocchar is heading the biggest bank in the country but the ground reality is that nothing has changed really. There might be a constant backlash in some elite, progressive Indian circles about the obsession over the colour of skin. But a vast majority, if not openly then secretly, believes that white is beautiful. These seemingly innocuous ads are at their offensive best. While it’s understandable to want a cultured and attractive girl for marriage (to each his own, we are not being moral police here), what is really contemptuous is the fact that being fair is higher on the priority scale for many amongst us than being educated, skillful or interesting. It is as if, all my talents and achievements come to naught if I am not milk-white.
Then yesterday, while I was randomly surfing through the channels, the above theory was reconfirmed. I couldn’t help but notice the kind of advertisements bombarding our idiot box at prime time. Across the channels, all I could really see was advertisements for shampoos (promising me gorgeous mane so that I can impress that boy I am crushing on and who is oblivious to my existence), soaps (promising me fair, beautiful and fragrant skin so that I can impress that boy I am crushing on and who is oblivious to my existence), deodorants (promising me fragrant underarms so that I can seduce that guy I am crushing on and who is oblivious to my existence) and yes you guessed it right – fairness creams ( promising me milk white complexion so that I can impress that guy I am crushing on and who is oblivious to my existence). Ya ya.. I know you get the drift.
After a point my mind became so numb with overload of information about various creams that I couldn’t distinguish one from another. One cream urged me to look beautiful (read milk white) so that I can increase my chances of finding a better prospect, one threatened me to start using that cream with anti aging properties asap, lest it will be too late for repairs later. One cream also came with a fairness barometer that could measure my improving complexion through 7 days. And voila, at the end of 7 days (only if I apply it regularly twice a day), I will be Ms. Snowwhite. Even if I was chocolate brown before. The before-after transition is unbelievable. Now, do they really expect us to be so dumb to believe that? Apparently yes, if the sales figures of these creams are anything to go by.
Does the fairness cream actually hold the potential to change my fortune? Will the colour of my skin alone determine how successful I become in life? And hello, what is the definition of success? According to all these ads, success is met when I get to be with or marry that eligible guy because I am oh-so-fair now. So that’s about how much a girl can dream of. Looking fair and beautiful and landing an eligible guy is THE goal of her life. Career, passion, dreams, ambition are not for the fairer sex.
Our obsession with fair skin is deep rooted. The way our Gods and Goddesses are portrayed (white and radiant) has led us to believe that white-skin is superior. Also the fact that we were ruled by white skinned British for more than 2 centuries and who tried to establish their superiority over us reaffirmed our belief that white is uber beautiful.
To have a preference of skin colour to marry someone sounds disrespectful but it is still digestible (to each his own). But to let the skin colour be the only deciding criteria is downright hideous.
Here are a few pictures for a good laugh: (Courtesy Google)
That 7-day transition i was talking about
even, Obama -President of the biggest Superpower, is not
good enough if he is not fair
The captions say it all
Why should Girls have all the fun?
Okay, so you get what i am trying to say, right? I would love to see your comments and even interesting stories, if you have witnessed any around yourself. About fairness creams of course.