It's just not fair!

Irresponsible endorsements

It's just not fair!

Imagine this — a brown-skinned girl is continuously rejected at corporate interviews. She is disheartened and her friend advises her to try a cream. She applies it and voila, bags a top job, after which she is seen confidently striding through a conference room.

     Fairness products have been spreading such images for a long time now. The recent statement of Bollywood actor Abhay Deol telling other actors to stop promoting such products has brought this issue back to the limelight.

When one’s favourite actor or sports star advocates a product, it is bound to leave an impression, says Sharmista B S, a homemaker and mother of five-year-old Arushi.

She adds that comments on dark skin often lowers a persons self-esteem. “My daughter had such an experience at school. She came back home very upset. Added to that, commercials which show a person becoming more confident as he or she turns fairer, can affect a young mind deeply,” she says.

Responsible advocacy of services or products, be it a fairness product or an edible item is a must, says Asmin Shamsuddin, a counsellor and mother of twins Asma and Aastha.

“When a popular actor says that a ‘miracle cream’ could make one’s day better or solve their life problems, it leaves a deep impact,” she says.

Being ambassadors for such products is a lifelong association and actors should think about it before committing to it, points out Asmin.

 “Be it a prospective bride or a young professional, it’s the duty of the parents to make their children understand that being a good human has nothing to do with the colour of the skin.”        

There are actors who feel that it will take a long time to get rid of colour-based discrimination from the Indian psyche.

Actor Suraj Gowda says that while using these products is one’s own choice, actors should stop endorsing such commercials or products.

 “It’s funny how we are still struggling to go lighter on our skintone while tanning products are a big hit in the West. Such advertisements often act as platforms for budding artistes to get noticed, but high-profiled actors really don’t need these,” he says.

About the decisions taken by actors like Kangana Ranaut who have opted away from such endorsements, he says, “These decisions will help in the long run.”

There have been roles for which actor Samyukta Hornad was required to look fairer.
“I strongly dislike the whole idea of colour being connected with a certain section of the society. I don’t understand how someone from the lower section of the society has to be shown in a darker tone and a sought-after girl in college has to be fairer. This prejudice has to end!” she says.

Having a lot of fan following comes with a set of responsibilities, she adds. “Everything one says or does is being watched. This notion of ‘fair is what one should aspire to be’ has to go.”

As for fairness cream endorsements, Samyukta vouches to never do one. “I don’t use these products and I try my best to look as natural as possible on screen too these days. In today’s time, there are many lifestyle brands which are seeking dark-skinned models and this is a step forward,” she says.

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