Whitening or bleaching, take your pick
What message do we take away from the tale of these two campaigns? That despite everything, despite all the negative press, the desire to become fairer is overarching. The Dark is Beautiful campaign urges us to embrace beauty without bias, to be “colour blind” as it were. But the problem is we continue to want and use products to whiten our face, bodies, armpits and yes, our vaginas. In fact, in the months following the launch of the Midas Care product, other intimate washes have also been launched in India. The advertisements are classier of course, but the intent is the same, whiter skin, down there. Moreover, it seems there are other geographical users for these products now. In September 2012, Lactacyd White Intimate, an intimate wash was launched in Thailand. It claims to make the skin in the genital region “bright and translucent”, according to a report in The Guardian.
That is not all. Women who feel the washes don't work, have another option—vaginal bleaching. In January, while reporting on beauty trends writer Natalie K Bell, Editor at www.futurederm.com said anal bleaching “is also a hot, new procedure”. Here too, Indians lead the way, she noted. “The vaginal bleaching trend began in India and parts of Eastern Asia, where there has historically been a desire for fairer skin. But now, as women look for the perfect shade, they’re turning to products that will bleach them. The ingredients they’re using likely contain kojic acid or hydroquinone, which are generally the same ingredients used in lightening creams anywhere else on the body. Both work by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for melanin production,” said Bell.
An unfair, unlovely world
“Your Complaint regarding White tone face powder with the tracking code 613f319eea27 has been processed with Final Complaint Number C.5057. You can check the status of your complaint on track complaint page.
Thank you for having referred this complaint to us. The complaint was considered by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) at their meeting. As per their decision, the complaint HAS NOT BEEN UPHELD. The CCC viewed the TVC and concluded that the messages conveyed in the TVC were not objectionable. Also, the CCC did not consider that the ad should be restricted to Adult channels only. The complaint was NOT UPHELD.
Assuring you of our services in the pursuit of Self-Regulation in Advertising.”
So, according to ASCI, it is perfectly legal and ethical to show fairness cream advertisements on childrens' channels. Never mind the potentially harmful consequences of repeatedly exposing young minds to advertisements that show what lengths adults go through to achieve fairer skin. Never mind what a little girl or boy will think when she/he sees her mother (or father) applying a fairness cream, day after day, twice a day, for best results.
But who cares, really? Does SRK care that the brand he endorses comes from a long tradition of products that feed off our insecurities? These products are cleverly marketed to make us believe that by using a fairness cream, we are “empowering” ourselves. Who are we kidding? 'Dark is Beautiful' is a truly powerful campaign and it deserves to be in the limelight.
But will it make us embrace our true colours? Or for that matter, make each of us throw away that tube—of fairness cream?