Bunty and I have covered the subject of skin lightening creams before (e.g. here: Nice Tan Lines). A new campaign has launched in India with the slogan Dark is Beautiful. Whilst we find this rather patronising, the aim of the campaign is to drum home the message that fair skin is not the only description of beauty and that people should be happy and proud of the colour that they are… in addition, possibly, to educate other Indians to reset their prejudices.
The skin lightening industry in India is worth over a staggering $400 million and the lightening products on offer range from face creams to a fanny wash. Fairness = beauty = success = happiness = a guaranteed place in heaven?? The campaign has enlisted a Bollywood beauty who has complained about the urge the Indian media have to lighten her skin with photoshop before publishing her image.
Will the campaign make a difference? Who knows, sitting back and doing nothing is pathetic. That people should need educating that skin colour is irrelevant is even more pathetic but necessary. The first image above notes that 90% of Indians are dark skinned, is this the staggering percentage of people that potentially could feel inferior? At least this campaign is forcing a dialogue on the subject. As a feminist I will make a closing observation on the subject… the emphasis used to be on women to be lighter skinned, particularly at the time of marriage proposals etc, however, there is an increasing pressure on men and an growing array of products targeted at them (Fair & Handsome as advertised by Shah Rukh Khan for example) at least the insecurity is equal!