I have a great tolerance towards advertisements that run on television, often watching even the most mundane ads. With the exception of one category of advertisements, that seem to have included a lifetime of seconds in their media buy, on Indian television.
I cannot stand brands advertising fairness products, in any form. It’s always been a thing with me, even as a child I understood that the bullshit they package into bottles and expect Indians to purchase by the dozen and slather onto every square inch of their bodies, was to be discouraged. But that’s just me and a handful others.
Most of India is obsessed to the point of madness with trying to get fair. Turning down the facts of science, turning down every last bit of common sense, we chase white skin like an American would chase a bag of fries. Except the bag of fries has a result, to end their hunger whereas chasing fairness is pointless.
But I can’t really blame the consumer for making a ridiculous purchase and turning the fairness product industry into one worth $450 million. The consumer has grown up being told that fair is best and everything else just won’t do.
They have grown up with a sense of insecurity which is further fuelled by top celebrities who otherwise wouldn’t touch the product they are promoting with a bargepole, that being fair equals being successful.
That with a dusky or a dark skin tone, your best chance would be to sit around the house, making perfect rotis while waiting to get arranged married.
That getting fair is the only step required for a confident, ambitious and grandiose life.
That white is better than what you have.
Which is why, for this particular story, shot originally for Ajio.com as part of a feature where we showcase wonderful people, we chose to pick three handsome men who are dark but have successful careers, a great life, truckloads of confidence and women drooling over them. As though by some form of sorcery.
Below is the original story, written by Jacob Anand:
India is a country obsessed with fair skin. Period. And we’ve had to deal with its cultural implications for centuries. While prejudices towards dark-skinned women are in hushed whispers, prejudices towards dark-skinned men can be more direct and blatant. But the repercussions are still the same – from self-esteems taking a hit, to the men’s fairness cream industry raking in up to 500 crores annually.
It’s time we embraced the truth, though – and it’s on the dark side.
This month, we feature three dark skinned men who are comfortable in their own skin, despite what the media and the world tells them. And they do it in style in our bright colour trends for the season.
ANUJ RAMCHANDRAN – Director and Architect
“Like the paint on the wall doesn’t determine the wall’s strength and quality, skin colour doesn’t determine your character. I’ll stick to being tall, dark and handsome.”
SATISH PERUMAL – Stand Up comedian
“The colour of my skin is as important to me as my shoe size. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has different shoe sizes, everyone has different skin tones.”
PATRICK IGNATIOUS – Regional Manager, Media Sales
“There is nothing wrong with your skin colour. But a lot is wrong with the message and people who try and convince you otherwise.”
Photography by Raghavendra Sahai
Make Up by Saugat and Team
Styling by Namita Gautham
Editing by Varun Palanchery, Suhan Sanil and Jageer Singh
All clothes by Ajio.com
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