It was 2005 when a news was announced in the mid of June. Emami Ltd had declared the launch of a fairness cream for men, aptly named ‘Fair and Handsome’. In the words of the company’s director, Emami aimed to gain 20 per cent market share of men’s fairness cream in Andhra Pradesh by 2005-2006 and reach out through 30,000 outlets. [news link]
I am sure that six months down the line, Emami is not regretting the launch of Fair and Handsome. We Indians just don’t want to be dark. If we are not fair, we are wheatish, but mind you never call us dark.
Tall, dark and handsome? What’s that?
It’s interesting to wonder, why is it that being Fair is so good and cool and happening? Not just that, what the hell does being fair has to do with being handsome? Look at all these advertisements on TV. The idea that they are propagating is this: it’s important to be fair. The case is extreme with girls. Being fair is a big big deal for girls in India. Why? Ever thought so? Why is that we all want to be fair? The girl wants it, the boy wants it. Every damn Indian wants a damn fair skin. Who said men wanted to be tall dark and handsome? At least not in India! No way!
There’s one logic behind this mentality and that’s fairly simple. Any human being wants to look like and appear as his/her superior. Right? Keeping this in mind, let’s talk a little about the history of our country. India was ruled by Aryans and the Afghans and then of course the Britishers for so many years. And these rulers were fair, weren’t they? So a fair skin became the symbol of power and prestige and things like that. And that link still holds on.
Who are they today?
The fair rulers are gone but we still have the ad agencies who are keen on convincing us that if we are not fair, we are worth nothing. They are not just the ad agencies. The film industry does the same thing. Most of the film stars do not look like normal people or the common mass. Almost all of them are fairer than an average Indian. But then, these guys who make movies have to sell a product and so they can hardly be blamed. Basically, no one can be blamed. Not even the Emami guys. They are making profits and the Indian Junta are gladly paying for fairness creams and everything is running smoothly. Who the hell has a prblem?
To be fair
Let me be ‘fair’ as well: I myself got this Fair and Handsome pack, not a very long time ago, though I am sure my skin color will hardly be affected by the cream. The question is of course not how effective the cream is. The question is: why aren’t we happy with our skin? And though I can think of an answer and I can write a blog on this, at the end of the day, I do suffer from the same fairness syndrome. Fair enough!