Racism comes in many forms, and if you’re an Indian you don’t need to look too far – just reach for your nightstand and you’ll find a bottle of good old fairness cream. British left India in 1947, and cultured as they were, they didn’t leave without a parting gift. They passed on their legacy of racism to us and being the excellent hosts that we are known to be, we have held it close to our hearts ever since.
Caucasian features like fair skin and pointed nose became the unachievable benchmarks of beauty that every Indian has since been striving to get close to. This also spawned a market for fairness creams and paved the way for one of the most successful scams in the history of the country, still going strong. The ads for fairness creams endorse sexism, racism, and misogyny and are insulting to women and in general, all of humanity. And all these ads follow the same template.
They’ll show a girl who is of a wheatish complexion, and she gets denied a job or a marriage opportunity because of that. Then her mother or her friend would suggest her a fairness cream and within a couple of weeks, she’ll be glowing like a Neon light and would get everything she’s been denied.
First of all, it endorses the idea that your personality or your skills don’t matter; the only thing that matters is your face – and that it should be white. Secondly, they take advantage of people’s insecurities and put their health and well-being at risk. The fairness creams contain chemicals like bleach which are not good for the skin.
Bleach is used to clean toilets, imagine being made to use it on your face. The irony is that while the white people are getting sunburned trying to catch some tan, we, who are born with a natural tan are bleaching our skin to look white.
Anybody who understands these arguments would see through the sinister piffle that these ‘beauty products are trying to show us. We celebrate Independence Day every year with great pride, but it doesn’t mean a thing if we cannot free ourselves of the vices that have been passed on to us by our captors. It’s high time we chuck this legacy of racism aside and say no to fairness creams. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you shouldn’t change yourself for people who cannot accept you as you are.
- Author is a Delhi based journalist and contributes on various subjects, including society, culture and the law