We live in a world where a person is only considered beautiful if they are fair, tall, board shouldered, slim or have long flailing hair. The beauty standards are as cruel to men as they are to women. And especially in the subcontinent, you find this distinction more strongly embedded.
The climate we have constitutes of eight months of hot summer – which means that the laborers and middle income group individuals who embark to go out and work are bound to get tanned skins. This tanning automatically throws them out of the ‘fair-skin’ club and these people become vulnerable to criticism.
And it is this vulnerability upon which the corporate vultures feed.
Companies that make profit just by playing on people’s insecurities and making them buy fairness products showcase the worst kind of capitalism. For the longest time, actors have endorsed these products, both in India and Pakistan, and have urged their fans to buy these creams and lotions. However, thank God, times are changing now.
Quiet recently, Anushka Sharma joined the ranks of actors who declined endorsing a fairness product and decided to support natural beauty, in all its mighty colors. Alongside her, we have actors such as Kangana Ranaut, Randeep Hooda, Upen Patel, Ranbir Kapoor and Nandita Das who are changing the game and turning their backs on fairness products.
In fact, we also have campaigns like the “Dark is Beautiful” movement by Das, which spread through India like wildfire and received global recognition.
While Anushka has starred in whitening lotions commercials before, recently in an event she said that she will not endorse fairness products any more.
“I would not endorse products that propagate racist and sexist (beliefs)… and propagate social taboo. I don’t want to endorse products that propagate fair skin and all. I will not propagate anything that says this is right or wrong” she said.
I feel that this is a wonderful step. Why, you ask? Because as of right now, we are living in an era where people are crazily following their celebrities and making them their role models. And this kind of progressive and bold step by these actors would definitely send the right message – that beauty is not copyright of one skin tone.
Although there are such celebrities who are still endorsing fairness products and associating beauty with lighter skin color, their numbers are few and far in between.
All of us are against racism but we spend half of our lives trying ways to turn our skins fairer. We try all the gram flour and turmeric remedies our grandmothers suggest and obsess over having fair skin. But to what use? Why do we have this inherent need to change ourselves? We need to see the beauty we already have in the way we look and the way we carry ourselves.
Fairness products pressurize women to think that only fair skin color is the key to better life and they teach men that ‘fair-skinned’ women are more attractive. These views are unacceptable and all of us need to stop fuelling such thoughts collectively.
Today, I stand with Anushka Sharma. Do you?