The famous South Indian actress, Sai Pallavi, rejected endorsing a Rs. 2 crore fairness advertisement deal. She said, “This is Indian colour. We can’t go to foreigners and ask them why they’re white, and if they know that they will get cancer because of it. We can’t look at them and think we want that. That’s their skin colour and this is ours. Africans have their own colour too and they are beautiful.” She also recounted a childhood incident where she had tricked her sister into eating vegetables by telling her that it would give her a fair complexion. She said, “I told her that if she wanted to become fair, she should eat fruits and vegetables. And she did… I felt very bad about that, the impact it had on a girl five years younger than me.”
This is not the first time some actor has rejected endorsing a fairness cream. Many people from the film industry have done the same in the past too. Abhay Deol had slammed a few Bollywood figures in the past for endorsing fairness cream ads; filmmaker-actress Nandita Das runs a ‘Dark Is Beautiful’ campaign.
This is a very welcoming step by our celebrated actors; but what remains as a pertinent question is, even though there are so many turn downs for endorsing such products, how come these companies are still able to run their 30 to 60 seconds show daily? Why is the desire to be fair such a dire need amongst us? It is 2019 and still, we are obsessed with the idea of fair skin; it is sickening when people pass comments about someone’s skin tone and judge them on the basis of their skin colour.
I won’t deny the fact that there was a time when I used to apply such products to make sure that I looked fairer or edit my pictures before uploading so that I look as perfect as those in the square of Instagram. But with time I started understanding and feeling proud of what my tone and complexion is, the real needs and deeds of life, that life is bigger than those pretty pictures.
We have advertisements showing that being fair would guarantee a good job, a successful career and a lovable life partner irrespective of one’s gender. Well if that’s the case why are we studying? Why are we making sure that our CV has a large number of educational and extra-curricular achievements? We can simply keep applying various creams and make sure we get selected for high posts.
Nandita Das said, “Women suffer from such low self-esteem due to these ads (about fairness products)… It’s not just about putting a nail polish, it’s not about beauty, it’s actually telling you, ‘You are not good enough, you can’t get a lover, a husband, a job, you are going to make your parents sad’. It’s like the dooms-day. The messaging is actually very dangerous.”
This might sound funny to some of us, but the bitter truth is such hard stereotypes still exists. Apart from body shaming, people are also colour shamed, it is a disgraceful act. Imagine the turmoil a person goes through when he or she is judged only on the basis of their tone or complexion despite their achievements. We are pulling ourselves a century backward by indulging in such acts.
The problem lies in people misunderstanding being fair as equivalent to taking care. If two people are made to stand together, it would be inexorably concluded that the one with a fairer complexion takes care of oneself more than the one who is not. Taking care of oneself has nothing to do with colour! If you want to take care of yourself stay hydrated, eat vegetables and fruits daily, sleep well and exercise daily. That’s not going to change your skin colour but you will be stronger both physically and mentally. Judging people on the basis of colour and tone shows the hypocritical face of humans. At one point we judge somebody on the basis of their activities and purity and on the other hand, we instantly make remarks about their colour.
Be proud of who you are. Let’s not limit these words in our captions but actually apply them in our lives. Carry your skin color with the same attitude that you carry your degrees and achievement; if someone gives suggestions on how to become fair ask what their fairness has helped them achieve.