For a country with a majority of brown-skinned people, the obsession with fairness creams is embarrassingly high with baits in jingles that promise “spotless and bright” skin in just “one week”. After Bollywood celebrities were called out for their hypocrisy in agitating against the lynching of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, USA while remaining mum on similar incidents back in India, another controversial question has been raised by actor Abhay Deol. Also Read - 'Look at This Beauty': Internet Left Amazed After Pictures of India's Only 'Golden Tiger' Goes Viral
Quite evocative in his stands against the minorities, Deol had earlier saved the grace for his colleagues by emphasising that migrant lives, minority lives and poor lives in India should matter too for the new “woke”. Riding on the back of the massive #BlackLivesMatter movement in America which saw a herculean support by Indian celebrities, Deol asked a pertinent question – “Do you think Indian celebrities will stop endorsing fairness creams now?” Also Read - Nationwide Lockdown on Cards? After States, is Centre Planning to Impose Total Shutdown? Read Complete Truth
The question is obviously to encourage a discourse in acceptance and tolerance of one another’s physical attributes, at a time when we are ready to unlearn the pressures of society for a more unbiased way of living. Earlier in April 2017, Deol had yet again taken to his social media handle – this time on Facebook, to slam Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Siddharth Malhotra, Vidya Balan, Ileana D’cruz and John Abraham who endorse fairness creams. Also Read - TikTok Returning in India After July 22?
It is no rocket science to decipher that these creams not only promote racism but also look down upon people with any other skin colour than ‘fair’. Hence, this is not the first time that the actor is being outspoken on social issues but certainly at a very apt time.
Drawing fans attention to the demeaning, false and racist propaganda of these fairness creams endorsed by our favourite actors, Abhay Deol elaborated in the caption, “Overall analysis Fairness creams in India have evolved over the years, from being fairness creams to now using euphemisms like “skin brightening/ whitening”, or “lightening creams”. Most brands no longer want to be associated directly with being termed as ‘fairness creams’. So now we have brands selling “HD glow”, “White beauty”, “white glow”, “fine fairness”, and so on. (sic)”
Highlighting how these companies have turned their attention towards the Indian Men in the recent few years and aim to encourage them to be “fair and handsome”, Deol listed out the brands and with dedicated power white ranges under “The hunt for fairness”. These included Neutrogena fine fairness, Ponds’ white beauty range with products like anti-spot fairness cream and Loreal’s white perfect day cream that “reduce skin darkening and boost anti-spot whitening for a brighter & younger look (sic).”
Deol even pointed out how recently, Procter & Gamble skincare brand Olay had denounced retouching skin in its advertising “by 2021 because it reflects an idea of beauty which is almost impossible to achieve. The statement was made during an event in New York. In March 2019, Olay also came up with a creative campaign #FaceAnything with @masabagupta @kubbrasait , @lilly, @bikewithgirl and @_payalsoni_ (sic).”
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Overall analysis Fairness creams in India have evolved over the years, from being fairness creams to now using euphemisms like “skin brightening/ whitening”, or “lightening creams”. Most brands no longer want to be associated directly with being termed as ‘fairness creams’. So now we have brands selling “HD glow”, “White beauty”, “white glow”, “fine fairness”, and so on. Over the years these companies have turned their attention towards the Indian Men, who are now trying to be “fair and handsome”, and have dedicated power white ranges for them too. The hunt for fairness: Neutrogena fine fairness: Could not locate it on their global websites but it is available on Amazon and other sellers:https://www.amazon.in/Neutrogena-Fine-Fairness-Cream-SPF20/dp/B00BSPOXMW/ Ponds have a white beauty range: The range includes products like anti-spot fairness cream which is available on affiliate websites like Amazon and Nykaa. On their own website could locate just the White beauty cream. https://www.ponds.com/ph/products/collection/white-beauty/day-cream-for-normal-skin.html* Loreal white perfect day cream: Apparently reduces the melanin level in the skin, gives a rosy appearance to your skin and is suitable for all Indian skin types. “reduce skin darkening and boost anti-spot whitening for a brighter & younger look”https://www.lorealparis.co.in/products/skin-care/day-cream/white-perfect-clinical-day-cream/ Recently, Procter & Gamble skincare brand Olay announced that it will no longer retouch skin in its advertising by 2021 because it reflects an idea of beauty which is almost impossible to achieve. The statement was made during an event in New York. In March 2019, Olay also came up with a creative campaign #FaceAnything with @masabagupta @kubbrasait , @lilly, @bikewithgirl and @_payalsoni_ #Fairandlovely #prejudice #racism #fairskinobsession #fairnesscreams #kalagora #flawlessskin #hdglow #whiteness #complexion #skintone #shades #pearlextracts #microcrystals #ayurveda
Even in 2017, when calling out celebrities for endorsing fairness creams was not “woke” enough, Deol had openly asserted in a Facebook post, “There’s a lot more of these campaigns that are blatantly, and sometimes subtly, selling you the idea that whiter skin is better than darker skin. No one at the top of their game in any field is going to tell you that it is demeaning, false, and racist. You have to see that for yourself. You have to stop buying into the idea that a particular shade is better than others. Unfortunately if you look at matrimonial ads you will see how entrenched in our psyche this belief is. We even use the word ‘dusk’ to describe the colour of someones skin! While an individual may not be able to change this attitude in his/her community, he/she can at least start with the family.”
He had also lashed out at actress Nandita Das for saying ‘black is beautiful’ and countered her saying that she doesn’t need to emphasise on it. Later in 2017 itself, Priyanka Chopra came clean about being insecure with her skin colour and confessed that she regrets endorsing a fairness cream in the early days of her career.
These questions targeting hypocrisy have long been lying on the surface, unanswered. With Abhay Deol directly hitting the bull’s eye, coming from the same industry, at the right time when anti-racism movement is at its peak, maybe irony will be saved from dying a thousand deaths.