We all must have felt a sort of disgust when an actress as fair as milk, endorses a fairness cream brand claiming to get you a ‘job’ and a ‘prince charming’ to marry. How really absurd. And they sell you this product by the name ‘fair and lovely’, why is only fair lovely? They believe getting educated and skilled can be achieved by using fair and lovely religiously. Girls, please use fair and lovely to land yourself a coveted job as a flight attendant. There is absolutely no other means to succeed.
In another bizarre fairness cream ad for whitening skin tone, a well known cosmetics brand shows how a beautiful, elegant black-complexioned girl is rejected by her lover in pursuit of a white complexioned girl. Later the ad’s heroine learns the importance of fairness and skin whitening to get a husband and starts using Ponds’ White Beauty. Finally, the lovers get reunited, thanks to pond's whitening,and the audience assumes they live happily ever after just like in Fairy tales.
While we leisurely sit and enjoy ‘racist’ skin cream ads, there are many women defying this ‘fair is lovely’ and ‘fair is beautiful’ stereotype. There are women who proudly embrace the skin they are in.
Beauty is what comes from the inside.
Only recently did Nandita Das, Indian film actress and Director, held a dusk and lovely campaign. Women with dark skin tone came forward to share their stories and how they embrace the color of their bodies. She is perhaps the only Indian actress who has refused to change her skin tone despite constant push from the entertainment industry.
In a world where people desire of creating babies dipped in milk and where 3 in 5 people have powder struck in the creases of their neck, there are some people who despise artificial means of attaining fairness and expensive makeup. Konkana Sen Sharma, is an Indian National Award winning actress and director. A liberal upbringing with unconventional parents, made her confident and the way she is. Her dark skin looks beautiful and she has embraced it confidently. And no, she didn’t use fair and lovely.
Serena Williams and Venus Williams are successful American tennis players and they have won several accolades including Olympics. These dark skinned successful tennis ace stars didn’t use fair and lovely or ponds white beauty to become successful.
Khoudia Diop, was constantly bullied for her dark skin and catcalled named likes ‘Midnight’ and ‘The mother of stars’ on account of her extremely dark skin tone. But eventually she learned to tune out of negativity and built herself a successful life of a fashion model. She calls herself “Melanin Queen”, and is extremely proud of her skin tone. She clearly justifies the fact that beauty has no skin tone.
Similarly Naomi Campbell, Halle berry, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, and many other women, are beautiful, dark toned and most importantly successful and they are examples of magnificence and confidence. They didn’t resort to fairness creams for success.
The society is more vicious about colorism. That’s because while growing up, we have been taught by our elders, peers, in movies, schools and colleges that beauty is associated with fairness.
It’s time we shift the perceptions of beauty. Fair skin is not a prerequisite for success and marriage. Black is normal and lovely and beauty, my friend, has no skin tone.