To be fair – and this word will used a lot in this blog, pun intended and unintended – I used to be mildly amused by the skin whiteners, aka fairness creams, that retail by the dozen. While the hackles of many have been raised by the product, generically identified as fair and lovely, though many other branded variants are in vogue, the fact that they were lapped up by women at large wanting to be a paler shade of themselves was reason enough for the market to develop. It wasn’t really fair, and one could argue about it on the grounds of ethics too, but it was tolerable – irritating and annoying no doubt for some people, but tolerable, and amusing to some extent.
Of course, things became even more amusing when the men were brought into the picture, quite literally, with fairness products for those carrying the XY chromosome – fair and handsome becoming the generic for its category. One can imagine Shahrukh Khan endorsing such a product – he after all is the poster boy for all the wimps in this country – but it was quite an irony to see a hulking six-footer of a man like John Abraham also get into the act. And of late, there’s Shahid Kapoor too. Guess if the price is right, these guys might even agree to endorse tampons or sanitary pads for men – if such a product were ever devised and needed by men (personally, if you ask me, I’d rather be dead before that day comes).
What however has raised temperatures – among the women quite naturally, and even among men – is the latest skin whitening product that targets a women’s private areas. Frankly, while the product and the thinking behind it can be classified as disgusting, on another plane, one wonders if such a product will even have a market and consequently, is it possible it will die a natural death – a still-born in advertising parlance?
Fairness creams for the skin usually target areas that are ‘naked’ in the public domain – face, hands, arms, legs and so it’s understandable that appearances for those areas would matter a lot. Not that one endorses such thinking, but like I said earlier, irritable, but tolerable.
One is however yet to come across a woman strutting her private stuff in the public domain – so just why would a woman even think about using such a product for a body part which will never be seen in the public? It seems like a classic case of a company launching a product without ascertaining the market requirements.
That the very idea of such a product offends women’s sensibilities is understandable – in which case, women should boycott the product, maybe even the company that manufactures it. And why just women, men should chip in too – who knows, today, these guys have launched a vaginal whitening cream, tomorrow, it could be a penis whitening product, no doubt endorsed by some Bollywood actors.
The larger point here of course is the obsession with fair skin tone – and here, it’s the users themselves who are to blame. If the very notion of using skin whitening products is offensive, shouldn’t women stop using them? And why just stop there – shouldn’t people who endorse such products be socially outcast? Not just the endorsers, even people who buy such products and use them should actually be looked down upon and maybe even boycotted from all social interaction.
As a man – and chauvinist is the accusation that’s been hurled at me time and again, maybe not without reason – just why would I trust a lady who goes to great lengths to hide what she truly looks like? For if a woman can go to that extreme to hide something as immaterial and as inconsequential as her skin colour, just imagine the lengths she could go to, to hide her true colours.