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Chula: Amma can you get me Vivel soap?

Me: Eh-What?! What soap?

Chula: Vivel amma. Remember we saw it in an advertisement in S patti’s house?

Me: Why?

Chula: So that I can become fair.

Me: You are lovely as is. Why do you need to be fair? Fairness is no indication of a healthy mind or body. It is overrated.

Chula: It is easy for you to say amma. You are fair. I am not. You won’t understand.

The way she said it and walked away, truly killed me.

At this point I have to add that that we are an ‘almost zero TV’ home. In the past one year the children would have watched less than 10 hours of TV and that too they were ad free PBS programs that we carried back from the USA.

We had a follow up conversation about how ‘fair skin’ is relative. We are all different shades of brown. All advertisements lie, if Vivel truly works, then there will not be one single dark skin person in India. This got her thinking a bit. Atleast about Vivel may not be the solution, but she still thinks that dark skin is a problem.

I would say that this started as early as her preschool where she was the minority Indian kid and was surrounded by Caucasian children. At least the head teacher would address this problem and talk to the circle about how different they all are and that is what makes them unique. But this part is sorely lacking in India. There is a craze on fair skin and it gets reiterated explicitly and subtly.

Isn’t it an irony that fair skinned people are desperately getting tanned while we are frantically bleaching ourselves?! I am sure the Unilevers and P&Gs are having afield day. I think they are the true beneficiaries of this perception they are creating.

One hour of prime time TV carries, on the average 6 fairness cream ads and 4 anti-aging cream ads. Apart from this there are four ads/hour telling women that their hair sucks, four ads/hour for men in which perfect bodied women are sprinkled liberally. That is, every 3.5 min some one trying to make you better by selling you something. Welcome to the macro culture of Des.

PS:

Some one explain this ad. Does she really say ‘I did a skin analysis and was shocked. There was anti-aging.’ Well….. if anti-aging is what they are going ga-ga about, isn’t it good news that that damn thing, what ever it is, already there even before using the product?

To all the girls out there, aging is not that scary. You need to hit 30 to understand what ‘being in control’ means.

And what in the world is this? ‘GO SLEEVELESS ON HIM’? Is this the best tag line they can come with? I am thinking even if I have to-die-for underarms, how unnatural will it be to constantly show them off? Get a reality check people.

 

PPS: Edited to add Preeti’s comment

“Oh and btw… in that ad, she says ” I did a skin analysis and was shocked. There were signs of aging….”

Looks like my signs of aging-> not able to hear properly. On the bright side, may be they have a cream for that!

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