Archive for July, 2010

Fair And Lovely

Fair and Lovely is the name of the leading brand of fairness cream in India! Even in the face of globalization and changing values within the society, the obsession for a whiter (lighter) skin persists. In fact, the new surge of fairness cream for men into the Indian market indicates that the epidemic is spreading to a wider demographic! Growing up in India, I was used to seeing my friends use fairness creams or fry their faces with bleach. Beauty was always associated with the color of ones skin and hence a lighter skin indicated better marriage prospects for women. However, I’m disappointed to see that Indian men are falling prey to that gimmick too. I wonder if this an indirect consequence of the global economy where our darker skinned brothers have to compete with their lighter skinned counterparts from elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, history shows that the reverse never happens 🙁

To quote Soam’s article Fair’s Unfair, on dishumdishum:

Now there’s no need to sneak into your sister’s Fair & Lovely cream stash. Or rub talcum powder on your face (it doesn’t work unless your goal is to look like Bozo the Clown). Simply walk to your nearest paanwaala’s shop and apply away. Then proceed to walk, no, zoom up the corporate and social ladders.

Unfortunately, the stalwarts of society and the media have done little to offset this trend. To further quote Soam:

Perhaps Bollywood can make a social issue out of all this – brown skin pride and all that? It would seem to be a tailor made subject, no? Sadly, what’s happened instead is quite the opposite: masala dance numbers now prominently feature white chicks grabbed fresh from the Mumbai Airport. Home grown lovelies are no longer bleached enough. Aspirational trophy wallpaper, here we come!

I wonder what happened to the “tall, dark and handsome” hero that Bollywwod once worshipped? The trend that was started with Amitabh Bachchan, the biggest star in the history of Bollywood?

Here’s the CNN story from last September talking about the skin whitener controversy in India:

To add insult to injury, Vaseline has recently introduced a skin-lightening application for Facebook in India, enabling users to make their faces whiter in their profile pictures. Thanks to our friend, Biraj, for sending the link!

Internet match-making

And, yes, Bollywood has jumped in front of the line to promote it.

The download is designed to promote Vaseline’s range of skin-lightening creams for men, a huge and fast-growing market driven by fashion and a cultural preference for fairer skin.

The widget promises to “Transform Your Face On Facebook With Vaseline Men” in a campaign fronted by Bollywood actor Shahid Kapur, who is depicted with his face divided into dark and fair halves.

Perhaps, throwing in some cool acronyms like “dude” and “gotcha” will help its cause further. Fair and Lovely can even change its name to Fair n Luv’ly to cater to the facebooking-twittering-smsing urbanized youth!


07 2010

Childhood Obesity

Being a mother to an extremely fussy eater, someone who was on the verge of being sent to a feeding clinic and required a nutritionist supervised high calorie diet to get to a “normal” weight, I probably don’t need to worry about childhood obesity! However, Virj’s rapid weight gain over a year from 5 to 90 percentile, does make me worry about the future. I also hate the fact that I’m turning into a nagging mom, just like my own mother who endured a similar problem with me, constantly coaxing my son to eat. It doesn’t help when his grandparents are always commenting on him being thin. Seeing Virj eat seems be the most rewarding thing for us now! However, I wonder when would be the right time to take a step back and whether I’ll be able to do that? Can I become oblivious to his weight gain in the future or am I just being over sensitive to this issue?

The Newsweek article Parents Oblivious to Overweight Kids makes a lot of sense. Especially the quote about parents not knowing where to draw a line:

This is especially true of parents who mistakenly believe their kids are leaner than they are.

Hopefully, Virj’s genes will override his eating habits in childhood and he won’t have to worry about obesity till he’s an adult! And, then we can always blame it on his lifestyle and lecture him about our excellent dietary habits during our own heyday! 🙂


07 2010