A closer look at the advertisements in the middle of the Television programmes will give us a blatant idea of the dangerous tendency in the audience for fairness. This obsession with being fair has taken a different look over the century as celebrities go out of their way to endorse fairness products, face creams that bring out the fair youthful skin. These glib ads are aimed at having an impact on the target audience so as to make it a leading industry. Indeed cosmetics have achieved a grave importance, in many scenarios, much more than the basic rights of many underprivileged. The hoardings, advertisement cut outs showcase ‘fair’ women. Scarcely does one come across a dark complexioned lady. The vanities have been given the mainstream importance. The local shops store the assortment of creams, anti-tan lotions, and the large range of fairness creams for both men and women. A visit to the Government hospitals would greet you with the stark truth of life. Lack of adequate number of beds, no proper infrastructure, minimal medication supplies, patients lying on the grimy floors owing to the lack of beds, irregular doctors, horns blaring, dire state of the Operation Theater
, and unclean sordidness of the maternity ward will be what meets our eyes. And then again, any local shop will provide you with any fairness creams, no doubt about that!
This is the sorry state of the nation. This bias against the dark complexioned people is a result of ages of colonial rule. Not to mention, the apartheid comes to mind when speaking of the racial discrimination. In India it is a mass discrimination that takes place in almost every sphere of life. The movie, ‘The Help’ based on a book by Katherine Stockett, has depicted how the black people were prejudiced against and how a young writer who is not Black sets about to bring freedom of the Blacks from bondage and racial oppression.
Scenario 1: you need to work on that tan of yours! The family of the groom is due to arrive next week. What will you do if they reject you? Who wants to have a dark bride?
Scenario 2: why are you so dark? Have you tried ‘XYZ’ cream? It helped me a lot. Now my husband loves me even more. You should go for it too.
Scenario 3: child to the mother: “They called me Blackie at school today. Please make me fair!”
These are just a few instances of the horrible racial prejudice that is characteristic of the society of the country. Not to mention, racial discrimination often starts at home. Distinguishing between the fair and the dark siblings is wrong. It shatters the confidence of the one with a darker skin tone, leaving her with a sense of incompleteness, feeling of being incompetent, lack of faith in one’s capabilities, low morale and confidence and a crippling sense of not being loved. How can something so trivial as skin tone, get preference over the inner qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion. This obsession with being fair seems to have perpetrated all spheres of life, be it at school at home at the workplace. A look at the matrimonial column of the newspapers will give you an insight into how deep the roots of such physical appearances have seeped in the daily lives. Who will want a dark bride? Sure, who will? Why go for her inner beauty, her love for her family, her innate beauty? Instead judge her, tell her to use fairness creams, bleach her skin, and lighten her skin tone. What about the burden of being discriminated against? Oh, that can be overlooked! Such is the state of the country. Humanity has been sucked in the vortex of slogans of the brands that sell such creams that can make you ‘fair and lovely’ or ‘fair and handsome’. W person has been objectified to such an extent that he or she is no longer a human but an article for display, by the family members before marriage and by the in-laws after marriage.
A careful study of fairness creams and their constituents have added amounts of mercury and other harmful agents that could prove carcinogenic. These creams lead to the skin becoming thin and melanin secretion being reduced, which could prove harmful in the long run. It is a shame to see women give in to the trends of applying fairness creams on account of the sexist attitudes that are dealt to them each day. Not only does it victimize women, but the racial bias has been directed to men too. It is embarrassing for me to accept that I have a few relatives who are obsessed with the skin tone of the baby yet to be born. My having told them numerous times that it is the head and the heart that matters over the color of skin has done little to make then stop fretting about the coloration of the baby. It took me days to realize why. A dark infant would mean a lifelong struggle to find a suitable partner who would not reject prospective scope of marriage. Such is the degraded state of society today.