To Be Fair

by Phil

garnier
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These adverts are ubiquitous in India’s cities and on TV. Creams, lotions, wraps, anything to make the skin “fairer.” Fair skin is so desirable one will occasionally even see women here in fair skin makeup (see character “Mango Dolly” in the recent movie release “Quick Gun Murugun” for an example). This look seems goofy to me, as the dark brown Indian skin is so gorgeous I cannot imagine wanting to change it or cover it up if it were mine.

This ad, for a fair skin cream for men, made by Garnier Fructis, is everywhere too, and the face belonging to the man in the ad peers out from every corner. Or as in this case, he smiles down over the entire Hypermart parking lot. This billboard is three stories high; you can see the relative importance this fair skin advert is given compared to, say, the consumer electronics ads at right.

A small, confused, crowd gathered as I was shooting this photo. Our driver, Moustaq, too, was nonplussed. I explained to him as we made our getaway that this was ironic, funny to me: back home, white people pay good money for similar creams that make us all darker. So the grass is always greener: light people want to be dark; dark people want to be light; nobody is happy the way they are!

Moustaq thought this was the funniest thing; he laughed for a very long time, and made me repeat and clarify.

“Really?” he kept saying, wiping tears of laughter out of his eyes. “Really?”

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Tags: Bangalore, cream, dark, fair, Fructis, Garnier, Hypermart, India, light, skin

2 Responses to “To Be Fair”

  1. lauralee says:

    So true!! I love the gorgeous color of the Indian people. It neve occurred to me that anybody would covet my pasty whiteness.

  2. Steve Peters says:

    once again, the Shaggs got it right:
    http://tinyurl.com/ygkevkz