June 11, 2005

O Gori Gori

Up to a couple of years ago, fairness cream adverts used to focus on one single topic: only fair girls get married, so if you are planning to marry in the next fifteen years you'd better embalm your black self in our cream and get a chance at fulfilling your sole mission in life.

Then, somewhere along the line, someone probably thought he or she was being very progressive and changed the message of the fairness cream ads. Now we had a girl whose dad could not afford his favorite cup of coffee on his pension, and his daughter was too dark to earn enough money to purchase coffee. To my math-challenged brain, the cost of her lifetime supply of Fair and Lovely would be about the same as Dad's coffee budget, but then fairness offers her a chance to become an air-hostess, because 3000 metres above sea level, you had better know how to fly, or be a mannequin, to get a job.

And then they got even more progressive! Mandira Noodlestrap Bedi inspired the fair and lovely cricket commentator advert, and don't we all know how important it is to look good to understand the nuances of cricket and to communicate clearly and entertainingly at 3000 words per minute??

Another commercial shows a woman who becomes successful as a lawyer by using fairness cream! His Honour is surely not an honourable man if all the law he practices is the law he gets from Keats: "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty/That is all ye know on earth..." Keats would have died even younger if he saw that commercial.

Shifting the context from marriage to work is about the single most regressive step fairness cream advertising could have taken. However ridiculous the fascination for fair skin, it is understandable in the eugenic context of the arranged marriage. It is in no way acceptable, but it can be tolerated as a sad fact of life in a shallow world. However, a person's appearance determining success at work is highly offensive. It reduces the female professional to Workday Barbie, and encourages women to spend more thought on their make-up than on their resumes.

Can we please get back to the "look fair and get married" insanity? I'm missing the transformed brides and gullible dudes who will soon seek divorce in court, and will fall in love with their fair and lovely lawyers in the process?

16 comments:

Saltwater Blues said...

well said ... and do those fairness creams really work?

Ink Spill said...

I'm damned if I know! :-)

Prashanth said...

"... a sad fact of life in a shallow world..."

Judging by several of your posts, you really believe that there are several sad facts of life in this so - shallow - that - you - can - see - the - rocky - bottom world.

Why this pessimism?

Handful Of Hell said...

Indeed the fairness cream advertisements of today are utter farce.

Tanning-cream advertisements are a craze in the west and their usp almost always is their ability to get the women a hot date. Unfortunately India is yet to warm up to the concept of attraction without allegiance and so that idea is also ruled out.

Anonymous said...

this is such an age old debate now. the best way to deal with these ads, like dealing with Mandira Baby..er... sorry Bedi, is to ignore them well and good

Parna

Anonymous said...

u know i always wanted to understand something....one tube of the cream can work only for the face....so what happens to the rest of the body??? Ur face is white and the body black??!!!!

bips

Ostrich said...

I've been wanting to do a rant on FAL ads for the longest time! :) Am so glad someone much more worthy did it! :) Way to go, Inky! :)

manuscrypts said...

so.. fairness ads are unfair!!!

cactusjump said...

weird fact - apparently the number of men using fairness creams equals the number of women using them. told to me by a friend working in an ad agency with fairness cream client.

Pleomorphous said...

Is your Bloglines subscription working?

Kahini said...

Wot Cactus said is true.

And kinly update, I refuse to take John Dis as an excuse any more.

Rashmi Bansal said...

I went to Goa for 3 days and the world and their uncle remarks:"kaale ho kar aa gaye ho"... You write well! If u'd like to contribute to JAM magazine drop me a line at youthcurry.blogspot.com

Khushee said...

Do people really buy those fairness creams? And do they really work? :D

Anonymous said...

ah-men! wot's the world coming to!
rash

Fun_Da_Mental said...

Gosh! I can't even remember the number and types of cream advertisments that I have been seeing on TV lately. Everything looks the some... some for fairness, some for looking young, some for getting rid of wrinkles, some for curing pimples... damn!

And yeah this gori = successful campaign really makes little sense... guess HLL (or was Unilever?) had faced some legal problems for promoting 'fair'ness and hence belittling black community... according to some news paper!!! But anyway... agreed that having a 'fair' face helps you get into some professions but it certainly doesn't guarantee success as preached/told/misled by the gori gori campaign!

Well well written! Pun and wit put to best use! Way to go Inky! :)

Joker said...

i agree with Cactus up there. half the guys back in hostel had a cosmetic array that made me wonder if they had girls living with them in their rooms. Believe it or not, many guys are more finicky about all these cosmetic thingys than females. Like i had this guy in marketing, whom i sent out on a long trip - a road show - he was cribbing - no time for gym, i have gone dark, i have lost weight etc. GAH!!!!