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 🙁
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!
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!