Monday, August 01, 2005

DARK 'N' LOVELY

Asin at the Fairever launch press conference
Saw this today while flipping channels: A supposedly plain-looking girl is shown with her boyfriend, in a romantic location. They have a picture taken together. It comes out really sweet, and shockingly, the guy tears the picture into pieces. Plain-looking girl realises that her "drawback" is her "brown complexion". She uses Fairever fairness cream and soon becomes "beautiful". Now the same guy approaches her, drooling, and the girl accepts his love. Aughh!! How many more ads like these?

Asin stars in this latest sense-numbing, woman-mocking advertisement. Asked why she's doing this campaign, she says, "My personal thought is black is beautiful, but several dark-skinned people think if they have fairer skin they can gain confidence. So, I support Fairever and it is the healthy way to get fairer skin."

Yea right!! What a load of bull! Why can't you just accept you're doing it for the money, girl? Stop giving such asin-gamana explanations.

Nandita Das with Aamir Khan in 1947 - EarthI was shocked to read that the fairness cream is estimated to be a Rs.800 crore market in India! Wonder why this is not such an obsession in African countries.

Though, primarily, it is not the colour but good features that appeal to me, I am a little biased towards dark skin. I find a dusky complexion more attractive than melanin-deficient skin. So for those of you who were as repulsed as I was, at the suggestion that dark girls don't win great guys, here's some orange juice to sip! One of my favourites - the exotic Nandita Das.

68 comments:

AF said...

Great article.. People always look down on the dark skinned people, especially in India, which to my surprise where all of us are brown skinned. What crap? That shows our small minded ness.

Grey Vampire said...

Hey dude couldnt resist returning...so back...Neways Why is that in india people are hypocratic and not in africa...Because there every one is black....here some are some are not...so people get complex......Feel they are not part of the soceity....and this generally happens with brown and brown vblack and not with black.....Neways thought provoking

Vinesh said...

@AF: Yea, isn't this irritating? But I guess it's always the case of the grass being greener on the other side.

@Grey Vampire: Welcome back buddy! :-)

With the Africa comment, I was thinking on the lines of Africans comparing themselves with white-skinned people abroad. But you DO have a valid point here; our society tends to treat brown skin differently within the same country...

KARY said...

Good Morning!Great one Vinesh! I am with you for this. Complexion doesnt matter et all romba mukiyamanadu nalla manasu thaan.

Vinesh said...

@Kary: Good Morning Kary! Not to be seen past few days?? :-)

Barath said...

Nandita Das...cant argue that!

Pallavi said...

Thanks for blogrolling me dude.. and yeah dusky complexion is more sexier.. love Nandita Das..

ioiio said...

asin paaarthaaa naaan commentless

Anoop Sundaram said...

ha ha Vinesh, innikku unakku Mr. Ramesh(CEO of CavinKare) kitterundhu call nitchayam!!

divyasurendiran said...

I too agree with you - dusky colour is attractive in its own way.
I haven't seen the ad you mentioned, but the worst part is that she actually accepts the guy
in the end!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, i think they deserve each other in that case!

Vinesh said...

@Barath: Hehe!

@Pallavi: You're welcome! :-)

@Ioiio: I like Asin too buddy, and she looked like a dream in this ad. Just the concept that was so irritating!!

Vinesh said...

@Anoop S: Yow, summa irungayya! Marubadiyum marubadiyum enakku SHilpa Kumar effect kudukkaadheenga :-)

Hehe!

@Divyasurendiran: LOL, you are right! They deserve each other :-)

Ravi said...

Vinesh, after reading your article, I felt "How true". But again, as you rightly said "How many more ads like these?". Time and again people seem to dwell on the same concept of "Fair is beautiful while dark is ugly". I remember during college days how my friend Durai used to remark when guys eye fair skinned girls "Dei, aen da ippadi vellai tholl-na vaaya polakureenga. Enakku ponnu porandha udanae adhu mela venneera eduthu oothiduven". Though we had a good laugh for his comments, sadly, that is the mind set of a majority of our people.

Ram.C said...

sometime back, 'Hamam' changed the lines of their ad, which was on a similar line. I don't think Fair&Lovely will change.

You can add 'Archana' to the Black beauty list...

monu said...

the thing is, those who speak so much against it, will make sure they use sun-screen when they go out, lest they become more darker than they are.......not just for UV protection....

people may not want to become fairer, but they most certainly dont want to become darker....

the thing is , if a girl is fair , that is all people care for..no matter the features, fair skin is an initial attracter...that cant be denied.....there is a ceratin craze for fair skin.....

divyasurendiran said...

People can have their individual preferences. But the point (according to me)is that the act of rejecting a girl friend because she is dark and then going after her when she becomes fair is so CHEAP!!!!

How strong is that relationship?

Vinesh said...

@Ravi: Your friend's remarks were strong, but the emotion is understandable! :-) These ads take great pains to din the message of black is ugly into people's heads...

@Ram C.: Archana is a good choice! :-) Got any pics of her?

Vinesh said...

@Monu: <<people may not want to become fairer, but they most certainly dont want to become darker....>> I guess you're saying this because you've seen people like that...hmmmm....

It's all a matter of the girl's confidence and how she carries herself which makes her attractive. But as actress Asin commented, maybe girls have been brought up with that complex by her own family.. I notice that fair skinned girls doll up more than dusky girls do..

Vinesh said...

@Divya: You should watch that ad Divya...i can imagine how you will fume, hehe

vasanthi said...

Andha photo le aamir khan kku badhila vinesh nnu nenachu paarkaradhunda

Vinesh said...

@Vasanthi: Kudumbathula kozhappatha undaakkaadheenga please ..LOL!!

Jeevan said...

Natural skin is permanent. your photos are nice

priya said...

ur not gonna believe this da.. i was jus thinking of writing sumthing on my blog abt tht ridiculous advertisement being one among the darker skin tone myself.. u reflected my thoughts word to word!! thnks da machi!! :)
..p..

Vinesh said...

@Jeevan: You are right. You can't change it..

@Priya: *Same pinch* So I saved you a day's blogging? :-)

Aarthi said...

I absolutely agree with you. Being of dark complexion myself, I am proud of my skin.. (uh, though not of my waist line. Though that's an altogether different topic.)
I remember when I was in school, during geography class (class 9), the prof. was teaching about the geography of Mongolia. (Don't ask!)
The topic suddenly changed to 'yellow' people. The geo prof. being a wise-crack, looked around the class in search for a particular specimen. He found me and he asked me to answer a question.
"What color are you?"
"Brown," I answered hesitantly.
Then, he went on to say that North-Indians are fair while South-Indians are dark.. blah-blah..
After his prolonged speech, he turned to me and said, "Don't mind, okay?"
I have nothing against the man but such notions are very biased. Come on, the only reason south-Indians are dark, is because of the tropical climate.
Why does one need to take Africans as examples? Our own neighbors are there, right?
I never see SriLankans fretting over their skin colors. We should learn a thing or two from them..

My friend actually met Nandita Das at a DharmaBhariti Seminar. She had their picture taken. And you know.. she is a real nice person..

By the way, thanks for visiting my blog, Vinesh. And I loved the ID COD song. Hilarious stuff..

priya said...

u sure did ;) btw.. ur blog's cool..wud be haunting it indefinetly :)
..p..

Vinesh said...

@Aarthi: Teachers are like this!!! Do you know what color my skin is? Orange! Got jaundice when I was 4 and never recovered :-p

I don't know about Sri Lankans, but I took the example of Africans only 'cos they have the darkest skin I can think of! :-)

Yup, I've heard lots of good things about Nandita too :-)

Glad you like the ID COD song!! Thanks for dropping by..:o)


@Priya: Thank you. Ur welcome :-)

Somu said...

Vinesh,
Something all of us need to mull over. Good looks to most is external and is also partly defined by color. I have personally seen fairer women get a second look (well I dont claim to be a saint myself), But the truth is there is more to beauty than just the color.

If all of us end up realizing this fundamental truth, all these cream companies would go bankrupt.

Your post reminds me of a popular adage.. "Smile, it increases your face value"... and if there is anything that makes a women beautiful it's her innocent smile !!!

Vinesh said...

@Somu: Join me in my prayers that all cream companies should go bankrupt! And yea, you're certainly right about a woman's smile (innocent or otherwise, hehe)

Vijay Ramamurthi said...

I dont think it is fair to blame the cream companies, they are just doing their job. It is another one of those classic Indian mentalities (screwed up ones). Its tough to change.

Kaps said...

one company has launched Fair and Handsome cream targetted at men

Vinesh said...

@Vijay: What do you think of these actresses who do it for the money, then say they want to build the confidence of dark girls?? :-p

@Kaps: Really! Now THAT's news :-)

Prabz said...

Opposites attract huh...;)

Neenga Asin-a ipdi kevala paduthuvenga therinju kodhichu poi iruken.. :(( .. edho konjam peruku inspiration-a iruka pora.. let her be.. :)

Vinesh said...

@Prabz: Asin is definitely very attractive, no doubt about that :-)

யாத்திரீகன் said...

asin-gamana explanations

:-)))) Kalakal comment ma...

hey.. Nandi (sorry anniyan remo partha effect ;-)

andha Nandita Das snap.. arumaiyo arumai...

Vinesh said...

@REMO Senthil: LOLZ!!!

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

Yeah thats a load of garbage!! There are LOTS of hot women who are not fair!! I hate these companies' marketting strategies

Narayanan Venkitu said...

People have to be updated on the contents of the tube...all the fillers they use, all the chemicals they use to make all these creams.! No wonder Cancer rates are going up in INdia.!!

G3 said...

how true! Its even worse in Singapore. They think dark complexion means dirty. *argh*

Nice blog you got here!

Vinesh said...

@Kr00pz: It's unfortunate that celebs are only fuelling this negative psyche of people...

@Narayanan Venkitu: You mean using this cream could lead to cancer? Wow, I didn't know that! Why is it that they kick up a fuss only about pesticides in Coke, or worms in Dairy Milk?

@Gayathri: I thought things would be better there! Oh! Thx for the compliment:-)

@Gayathri:

Kaushik Ramajayam said...

I was surprised to see how widespread such silly prejudices are. While looking at matrimony sites, looking for guys's profiles for my sister, I've seen hundreds of profiles who say "looking for girl... should be this height...this weight.... extremely fair... no glasses... very good-looking" and other stupid things. A surprising number of these are IIT, IIM and even Stanford graduates. Evidently, education isn't changing the way our society thinks.

Orange Fronkey said...

Vignesh! Not only you love the color orange, you also having the same thought process as me here.

I saw that ad today and I was pretty disgusted.. And you know what, I thought Asin looked very beautiful in that dark (even though its fake) skintone.

At first she looked like Aparna.. Now that girl is so beautiful! And Nandita Das is DEFINITELY GOREGOUS!!!

I'm so sick of these ads... Sheesh! If you gonna change the way you look for some stupid guy's attention I have no flipping respect for you, and since you are acting it out and conveying to the rest of the world that its okay to do what that person did in the ad, i also have no respect for you.. Die die die.

oops, :).

As you can see, I hate those ads.

Orange Fronkey said...

Had to add one more comment...

People over in USA spend so much money on tanning themselves... They want to get darker, and look at them over there. .. wanting to be lighter... yenangada ithu!!!

When I was in high school, I was the only lankan there... and after summer holidays, my classmates will come upto me to compare their tan with mine and get upset when their tan wasnt dark as mine. LOL!

யாத்திரீகன் said...

:-)))) gud one Marino.. (sorry yaar.. i dont know how u wud take it..but that was a gud one..)

Me too said...

Great post! Imagine if urban girls can be brain-washed this easy, the state of rural folks.

Vinesh said...

@Kaushik: You are right, buddy! Matrimonial columns are another big farce :-)

@Merino: Exactly. Asin looked good in the dark skin tone right? :-) Reg Americans tanning themselves, I guess it is the case of grass being greener on the other side? :-) And hey, I'm Vinesh (vignesh with the "g" silent, LOl)

Vinesh said...

@Me too: You hit the nail on the head buddy!

Ranjini said...

First things first..

I like your style of writing with a subtle sense of humor. I came across this blog only today and you have entered into my favorites list already.

As I read your blog about Asin in Fairever ad I had this urge to discuss the topic with you and I looked for a way to send you an email. Since that was not to be found anywhere on your site I am resorting to posting this long message as a comment. Fellow readers pardon me for hogging so much of the comment space. For the impatient ones: feel free to go to disclaimer/ conclusion section as I have rambled on quite a bit of incoherent thoughts.

I haven’t seen that ad but from what you have described the first feeling I had was ‘How appalling?’. But when I thought about it more on my drive back home from work I found myself thinking about it on a much deeper level. Glorifying fair complexion is a prejudice that some people have. But don’t we all have some prejudice or the other? Over the years mankind has evolved and in the process has defined certain standards of beauty that many of us are ingrained with as the standard of reference. While this ad looks atrocious as it gives importance to the skin color, what about the ads that talk about long, thick hair as the epitome of femininity? How many of us other there has this prejudice? By worshipping it are we sending a message to the women who are not blessed with such lustrous hair that they are less womanly? If it were to lose its importance there won’t be Meera ads talking about Indian heritage and Shikakai, Poongangai or whatever. (I am sure Mr. Ramesh is on the lookout for both you and me ;-)).How many guys/ gals out there are okay with balding/ bald partners?

In essence we all have a set of prejudices. Some we can live with some we cannot. Wanting a fair complexion is one such. If we were to condemn this we cannot just stop there. It should continue onto other narrow-minded approaches too. How many Indian (yeah specifically Indian) guys out there are ready to marry a girl taller than he is? Does it rub his male ego the wrong way if the girl is taller? Or are the girls so particular about being shorter than their spouses?

Looks are an integral part of every man/ woman and there is definitely a certain amount importance attached to it. I am not sure if we are born with it or trained to do it but when you look at a person you look at their physical appearance. And you form first impressions/ opinions on that person based on the looks. Sure it may grow into something more beyond looks but everyone out there cares about how he/ she looks (there may be exceptions but I think it is a measly percentage).

In this ad for instance she is still Asin before she dabs on the Fairever cream to make her complexion better. I mean the it is the beautiful Asin wrapped in a brown package who sheds it to be covered by a white one. Why didn’t the ad show some not-so-attractive woman to market their product? If they had cast such a person would we really watch the ad? Some might even say “indha moonji ippo fairness cream pottukala nu yaar azhudha”. Which means for those people the complexion is not a criterion but beauty is. The same goes for heroines in movies. First they need to be beautiful. If they can act too that is a bonus. Do we all look only for histrionics in heroines? If we should only look at the “manasu” in a girl friend and not her looks/ complexion then why look for it in someone whose profession is just to act? Who is ready to shell out 100 Rs on a movie in which the heroine is not beautiful?

If we didn’t care about our looks cosmetics will not be a gazillion dollar industry. There will not be so many designer outlets sprouting everywhere – New York to Nagapattinam. The last time I came to India (Chennai) I was amazed at the number of expensive hair/ beauty salons well flourishing despite their high $ tags.

In an ideal world where there exists an absolute truth there may be someone who goes beyond the skin. But this is the world we live in and we all have our own definitions of beauty. I have mine. Don’t you have yours? If someone I meet doesn’t meet my expectations of beauty then I will not be thrilled about him. Does that make me shallow? Yes it certainly does. But we all do measure up everyone we meet with our own standards. Sure we might find others’ standards appalling nevertheless we don’t compromise ours.

No Hrithik Roshan is going to go after a not-so-attractive Nisha or Usha (should all the unattractive ones have names like karuppayi, muthayi and muniyamma too :-). Most of us cannot associate these names with beauty for some reason). Every donkey is going to go after a donkey/ monkey of their own standards. And the minute we have our standards/ expectations we all become shallow in one way or the other. Business studies show that colorful attractive packages with poor quality products sell faster than quality products in unappealing packages. Same seems to be true for humans. Mankind needs attention. It craves it actually. We do whatever is there in our powers to make us look good in the eyes of others. Presentable to one and all. Fairness cream is just another effort by some to make themselves attractive.

Talking about unfairness in non-fairness cream ads I have two that come to my mind right now. One ad is about some retirement plan. This guy who is a dad of a beautiful little girl looks sullen about his retirement after 20 or so years because he has fathered only a girl child. And Indian family values do not allow a daughter to look after her aged parents and the parents of the daughter are too proud to eat on the expense by their daughter (when they have no remorse in doing so on their son’s salary). So this retirement plan ad asks unfortunate dads of all girls out there to enroll in their retirement plan (to put their earnings down the drain to be ‘swaaha’d by this finance company – but that is a topic that warrants its own blogdomain). Another ad is again a gloomy dad brooding over the fact that he has a daughter (when he should be celebrating that he has a little angel). Reason: He has to spend millions to buy some god-sent “Maapilai” for his daughter in 20 years. What is the message we are sending across to all those 5 or 6 year old cute little angels out there? That they are a burden to their parents who would be indebted because of their gender. That their parents would be bankrupt in 20 years from now when they enter holy matrimony? Sadly it is the truth because our society hasn’t changed that much yet.

In this chauvinistic cosmos, attraction to fair complexion is a microscopic glitch. It takes a radical change in the mindset of all humans to overcome all prejudices. Until that point there will certainly be ridiculous ads like these and most women of darker complexion would strive to get fairer as this is what the world approves of.

Disclaimer: These are just the thoughts that flooded my mind as I pondered over Vinesh’s blog on fairness cream. I am not trying to get into the whole love is a manasu-oriented-thing-only argument. I support Vinesh of his intent but all I am trying to say is fairness is a tiny discrimination in this narrow-minded chaos called world.

Conclusion: Vinesh, I think you are cool, intelligent with a good narrative style and a humorous bone. I would have formed this impression about you even if I had not read your blogs and you know why? You look cute in your ‘takkunoondu’ picture and I am wired to think that cute guys are cool and intelligent with an unbeatable sense of humor :-). Damn this world passing the baton of preformed opinions generation after generation.

I wanted to leave my email but Other gives a choice for only a webpage

Orange Fronkey said...

Oh.. sorry Vinesh =P

Vinesh said...

@Ranjini: Your post has made me seriously rethink my attitude towards blogging. I was impressed that you wrote so much, even before I read what u wrote - Wow!

As you rightly observed, even my post was shallow because I was speaking about what colour looks good to me and not what defines beauty. Manasu is the binding factor but to most people, looks are the first attraction. Though it has always worked the other way round for me, I do have my own set of prejudices.

You hit my head on the nail :-)

<<Unfairness in fairness cream ads>> LOL! That was brilliant! :-)

I totally agree with you on the girl's father ad too. Right from the time she is born, the parents start saving up. All of it to be blown on one stupid marriage function. And seedhanam I think we are a little better in this aspect, though. Thanks to self-arranged marriage by youngsters!

I quote from one of the literary gems of Thamizh music...

(SONG: Chikku Bukku Chikku Bukku Railey)

"Unga appan thaeduvaan maappilla
Dowry adhigam kaekkuraan aanpilla
Adha vecha pinbu dhaan poomaala
Appdi or avadhi aen maa??

Ippove kedachidum love panna
....................manappenna
Appuram avasthaigal kidayaadhu
Appanin saemippu kidayaadhu.."
(tatak tatak tatak tatak...)

LOL!~

Your writing is brilliant! Why don't you have a blog of your own yet??

WA said...

Asin-gamana - LOL :))

Nandita Das does looks absolutely gorgeous.

tamilan said...

good one vinesh

kanna karumai niram kanna
unnai kannatha kann illiya....

http://www.musicindiaonline.com/p/x/1U3gY6nmi9NvwrOupt7D/

Arjuna_Speaks said...

asin and nandita - just one word - awesome - hmmmmmmmmmmm and yes dark is beautiful!!

Ranjini said...

Vinesh, thanks for reading my ramblings fully. And, thanks for your nice words too.

Good luck and keep writing and I would keep in touch through this comments section

lakshmi said...

great post!

Vinesh said...

@Wicked Angel: Doesn't she ? :-)

@Tamilan: I love that song buddy. Thanks for bringing it up here :-)

@Arjuna_Speaks: Me too likes both of 'em :-)

Vinesh said...

@Ranjini: Was my pleasure...look forward to seeing you around.. :-)

@Lakshmi: Thanks Lakshmi..

Viewer said...

Although the saying is famous " blakc is beauty" I would still say that still many people in our country consider fair skin beautiful.
Perosnally my looks have comefrom my father's side whose family is known for dusky skin colour. Until recently I never had any issues abt my dusky color, the only problem, the only time I ever regreted was when a couple of pictures taken recently with my sis (keeping in mind that she has got the color from my mothers side Mom's from Anglo family so u can imagine). I looked much terrribly darker than my actual skin color. So I guess fair skin somehwere has a upper hand in our country. Porbably I will turn this comment to a post in my blog :)

singman said...

Hey man, you got a great blog...came here through kaps / c.ram's blog.

As the saying goes...the grass is always greener on the other side...whites are always looking to tan themselves..They think brown is hot ( you will find a solarium in every second street in European cities ) and Asians have this incline to fair skin. I think only the Africans are neutral (vidhi...unless he is a michael jackson). My thought process is that you shouldn't be bothered about your colour because you are born with it - The best you could do is to maintain the health of your skin and a well toned skin projects a good image (no matter what colour).

I would share gayathri's concern - In singapore, the chinese think that being dark means you are dirty. That is uniquely singaporean (Other far-east countries - you dont have this concept). It is probably due to the fact that lot of Indians work in the construction sites / civic maintenance sites.

Coming to Ranjini's comment - being the impatient type - I went straight to the disclaimer / conclusion part of her comment - The only thing that I could decipher was she's gotta crush on handsome boy vinesh.

Commenting on your other posts (in the line of Lion dates top ten movies) :
1)rhyme psychology - my condolences
2)Nagumomu - susheela arputham
3)Kola panranga - my mail address: kardhanari@hotmail.com....you know what i want.

Again, your blog is different and you have one more patron in me.

P.S. - Kindly avoid looking at my blog as there is nothing in it.

Ranjini said...

Singman, I can understand why you jumped to the conclusion. it is because you hadnt read my ramblings. The point I was trying to make is people form impressions based on looks and that I am wired that way too.

Vinesh said...

@Viewer: You are right, viewer, an entire nation's psyche has been damaged (beyond repair?)

@Singman: Wow, I never imagined there would be this dark-is-dirty stigma in Singapore. I still can't! But it is there :-(

Have sent you the pic u asked for..
Thanks for your compliments on my blog. Hope to see you around regularly in here :-)

@Ranjini: Singman must have just been pulling you leg Ranjini :-p

Ranjini said...

Vinesh, the first comment I wrote to Singman was this:

'singman, vera velaye illaya ungalukku. for all you know i could be a technically-savvy 60 year old paati'.

But then for some really good reasons I changed it to the plain comment as above :-)

singman said...

Vinesh - Thanks for the mail, dude.

Ranjini paati - I just followed your instructions - avalavu thaan. As mentioned by Vinesh - was kaal eethufying. Peace.

Matter Mahadevan said...

Dude - one thing by saying Nandita as exotic - you have made her foreign man - she is an Indian dude - and most of the Indians are black and they are beautiful.

Vinesh said...

@Matter Mahadevan:
When I wrote "exotic", I was thinking of very striking and unusually beautiful..not so much about foreign

But you are right buddy! "Native" would have been a better word! :-)
And yep, Indian girls are black, and beautiful :-)

ElizaG said...

Hi,
I found your post really amusing- i cant believe they actually have advertisments like this in India. Thats so crazy! I'm actually doing my year 12 major work on this issue of fair skin in India, and trying to find out why its considered to be this ideal of beauty. I need a lot of personal opinion, so it would be really great if you (or any other of your commenters) would be able to take some time to comment on my site- http://elizapip.blogspot.com/
and then I would be able to use your opinions as primary research. If you could talk about the same advertisment you just did, any others, or any personal experiences of yours, it would be greatly appreciated, as I would really like to get more people from India to give me thier personal opinions. Thanks a lot!

Arunkumar said...

You could not have been more perfect with your thoughts Vinesh. Yes, Namma thalaivar Rajini kooda thaan karuppu, aana he has people dancing to his tunes till date. And Nandita Das example is very very perfect. I cannot just take Asin's words. But the point that she has made is also true Vinesh. Many dark-skinned people DO think that they are not pretty and stupid stuff like that. Inferiority complex due to society???No wonder it is the age of cosmetic stuff.

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