She says - Is being fair lovely?

February 26 - March 03 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly She says - Is being fair lovely?

After travelling to India numerous times, I have been desensitised to ads about fairness creams that display men and women being somber over their ‘dark’ skin and then rejuvenated with the confidence of a peacock after miraculously turning a few shades lighter. That is of course with the help of the cream that they were promoting and not because of the natural pigments of their skin!

I’m a firm believer in doing whatever makes you feel confident. Heck, I went to school every day in the ninth grade with two pom poms on my head that I called ponytails, just because I personally felt confident.

It didn’t matter that both my brother and mother advised me against the ridiculous nature of it. I still persisted.

With a whole movement of being open minded and accepting everyone for who they are, the world has specifically turned to the Asian continent, where fairness creams are so widely available, to reproach the promotion of said products. However, in the quest of doing the ‘right’ thing, those parts of the movement are only displaying signs of hypocrisy.

Where are the same people who question the fairness creams in the east, when those in the west are running amok, similarly paying for skin colour alterations in the form of tanning beds, spray tans and tanning creams? If you are going to start asking questions, you should question the whole system, not just the ‘easier’ target.

I personally do think that advertise-ments have a strong influence on people. Advertising that making your skin fair somehow correlates with confidence and self-esteem is clever but also manipulative. In all honesty, I have no problem with people using fairness creams. If that makes you confident, go right ahead. 

However, just like everything good, societal culture manages to ruin it all. While I advocate for these creams in the sense that they build confidence, the same product is weaponised in the East with aspects like cinema and even marriage. Unlike the East, I doubt anyone in the West would be denied a marriage proposal because of being ‘too tan’.

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