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A ban for fairness for all!

by Arun Shirishkar

Indian market says goodbye to fairness advertisements. The Government finally introduces a bill to crack down on misleading fairness cream ads and more

The obsession with fair skin and beauty whether to certain brands or sections of society is not new. India’s obsession with fairness has been a card that has been cashed upon by brands for decades now. The advertisements for fairness products are generally very conservative and to most, very offensive. These advertisements have always hinted at the success of men and women to be based on their skin colour. 

An amendment for fairness
An amendment was recently proposed by the Health and Family Welfare Ministry to the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954, to ban advertisements for magic remedies, fairness creams, cure for AIDS, enhance sexual performance, cure premature ageing and greying of hair, improvement in height of children or adults, increase in brain capacity and memory, improvement in strength of teeth and vision, change of foetal gender by drugs and more. The bill also punishes spiritual gurus and Ayurvedic “doctors” who claim to offer miraculous cures for many of the treatments listed, to gullible followers.

The bill suggested punishment as a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh. The ministry has released a list of total 78 diseases, disorders and conditions under the ban. 

The problem with fairness
The issue with misleading ads about fairness products is simple. They target insecurities imposed on us by society, and tell us that an unchangeable thing like our skin, can be made “more beautiful” if it is lightened using a treatment which in reality, doesn’t work. Top that, they equate fairness with beauty and good skin-health. Just search for “healthy white” and “white beauty” online to see. It takes advantage of our society’s obsession with fairness, and uses our willingness to change ourselves to fit in to that socially-sanctioned definition of “fair is lovely” to sell a product.

It’s refreshing to see the government take a step like this in a society that is constantly obsessing over ‘fair’ skin and discriminates against the rest.

Sourced from: iDiva

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