[Editor's Note--Inherent values aren't something we've learned to expect from most of Bollywood's insiders and cronies, yet Kangana Ranaut has never quite fit into that pack. In all fairness, no pun intended, she's impressed us with her ability to straight shoot even when the industry's wind is blowing in another direction before but considering she just turned down a fairness cream advertorial worth 2 crores, there's a need to celebrate her valour all over again.
In her own words "Ever since I was a kid, I have never understood the concept of fairness. Especially in such a case, as a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down. As a public figure, I have responsibilities." Unfortunately, and we hate to be the ones to let the reality of the situation into this bubble, Ranaut represents a terrifyingly tiny minority of 'role models' who subscribe and live up to such values. So we couldn't resist republishing an article in which we called out all the brands and actors who continuously propagate India's skin whitening obsession.]
Kangana Ranaut, Fairness Creams, India, SKin Whitening, Bleaching
Skin whitening isn’t an alien concept in a country that continues to be preoccupied with fairer skin tones. The preening advertisements glorify fair skin with superlative qualities, which only cause the deep-rooted insecurities and fears to snowball in our currently susceptible societal construct. We recently listed out a fair few brands that have taken on their role of responsibility while reflecting society with impunity, choosing to challenge regressive norms rather than feed into them. Unfortunately, we had to admit that they weren't exactly in the majority.
Today, we list down some of the worst advertisements that reflect some of the most deplorable and misleading ideas about beauty being only as deep as the colour (or lack thereof) of our skin. However, the problem cannot just be limited to the corporates and brands that choose to propagate the ridiculous mind set in society, it's just as vital to call out the major faces--supposed role models who wield unlimited influence over our star-obsessed youth no less--who agree to endorse these ideologies for money they could make a 100 other ways.
I. CLEAN AND DRY - Intimate Vagina Bleaching
II. FAIR AND HANDSOME featuring Shah Rukh Khan
III. GARNIER MEN POWER LIGHT featuring John Abraham
IV. PONDS WHITE BEAUTY FACIAL FOAM
“time to defeat the dark.”
V. PONDS WHITE BEAUTY EPISODES starring Priyanka Chopra, Saif Ali Khan and Neha Dhupia
This dramatic ad is stretched over four episodes, creating a story arch that revolves around a woman and her quest for validation - that is finally appeased after using the Ponds White Beauty cream. Priyanka Chopra is haunted by the fact that Saif Ali Khan leaves her for Neha Dhupia. Motivated to make him painfully aware of what he lost, she uses the cream that makes her visibly fairer, and is successful in getting his attention. Not only does the ad promote the fact that you need attention from a male to validate your worth, it promotes the fact that that same attention is rooted in fairness, all endorsed by the biggest names in our film industry no less.
VI. Vaseline Men feat. Shahid Kapoor
VII. Neutrogena Fine Fairness feat. Deepika Padukone
VIII. Garnier Skin Lightening Feat. Esha Deol
Conclusion: It's important to note that the forceful marketing of the pioneer brands in this 'skin whitening' space led to such a huge market domination that even brands that weren't inclined towards the same have variants of such products within their own lines now. Case in point, Garnier, Ponds & Neutrogena. At the rate we're going, if someone doesn't take a stand on the issue soon enough, we'll be left with a bleached nation that has lost its way.
Honourable Mentions: Many celebrities in the entertainment field such as Frieda Pinto, Monica Dogra & Kangana Ranaut have stood strong in their stance against endorsing such products (though likely to be costing them big bucks) and we couldn't respect these actors more for their commitment towards a progressive society for India. A society where beauty is not rooted in the colour of your skin.
[Disclaimer: The author is a brown-skinned bitch.]