Are we socially active? No, I don’t mean active on social networking sites, because that I’m confident we are, no matter what happens. My question here refers to the big guys of the media world who converse, inscribe and sometimes even debate on what’s right for the society and what’s not.
What enthused me to further delve into this question was an article that I read on one of the online forums, to add to it was a cacophonous debate that I caught glimpses of, as it was being aired on one of the biggest news channels of the country. The topic of debate was “Fairness cream advertising: Is it fair?”
Of course, it’s not fair – that’s the answer you would get from more than half the population of the country, then why debate! What I mean to say is – what is the outcome we are looking at when we debate on a subject that has been projected as a deep-rooted need of society. Fairness has been associated with beauty for donkey’s years and now you have the famous faces of Bollywood endorsing the fairness creams, which in turn leads to the viewers believe that success comes through being fair. I wonder what happened to the adage – “beauty is skin deep?”
Today you have all these advertisements relating success to being fair and beautiful – these ads also give you a time frame in which they assure you that you’d attain success – phew, it’s a ‘fair shortcut’ to success I must say.
Being a tropical country, Indians have a higher concentration of melanin in their skin which actually protects them from the harmful effects of UV rays including skin cancer etc, so now I wonder if the media actually pondered over the scientific reasons of variation in skin tones, because if they did, then the top notches of media wouldn’t be straining their vocal cords over a subject so meagre. Instead, they would be focusing on whether the creation of such ads is really necessary and the reason why I say this is because if there is a need that arises in the society, advertisements tap into that need and make the product more desirable.
Why do we lay such importance on being fair and fairness products? We in a way are challenging the creation of god or rather, we are trying to say that he made a mistake by creating some people the way they are, do opportunities and success really depend on how you look or does it depend on the quality of your work. Even the debate on television was all about putting the blame squarely on advertising on how they promote a certain product with biases.
We talk about being in the 21st century and all the technological advancements that India has achieved as a country, then why is it difficult for the highly educated lot of this country to think beyond the obvious.
If we are so concerned over the content of the ads that get featured on how to change to skin colour, then why don’t we stop creating such ads, why don’t we raise our voices, create a Facebook group, tweet on our friends’ profile, a blog on various website, and if need be, even run a morcha against the creation on such ads and then that would be, the beginning of the end to the obsession with being fair. Currently, Johnson and Johnson took note of possibly racist and colourist products. The company has announced that it will no longer sell skin-lightening products in Asia and the Middle-East.
Let’s unite to fight against the racism created by these ads amongst our own people and I’m confident we won’t need a ‘black lives matter’, caption and images to help us end this menace of fairness products.