Fairness Products Are Creating Racism In Indian Society…

“Does your daughter have a Fair complexion??

This is what every Indian girl’s parents are asked especially before her wedding.

If any girl has a very fair complexion people ask her, “What cream or beauty products do you apply to look fair?”

These are the questions with which every Indian girl is familiar with. For a few minutes we can’t understand how to react?  Because we are confused about Was that a compliment or not? Should we suppose to thank for it or argue on such a racist comment and that too in a public place?


Since my childhood I have been watching fairness cream advertisements. I remember I saw an advertisement which featured a college girl who had lost her confidence because of her dark complexion. She gained it back when her friend advised her to use the fairness cream of that brand.

Suddenly a question popped up in my mind. What are these brands trying to prove? How is one’s self-confidence related to one’s complexion? The main argument is that one might have all the talents to achieve what one desires, but lack of having the fair complexion, that person can’t achieve the goal. Does it make any sense??


Are these brands trying to prove that “fair” is better than “dark”??  But, what is “fair”? What is “dark”? These are just skin colours on which our calibre or talents is not depended.

In a country like India where the majority of the population is dark-skinned, there is a widely held belief that dark complexions are inferior to fair ones. This prejudice shows itself everywhere from hiring process where light-skinned people are favoured for ads especially matrimonial ads where fairness is considered as a non-negotiable characteristic of the future bride or groom. In the film or television media, light-skinned actors and models are preferred, while dark-skinned performers are rarely seen on screen. The message is clear: fair skin represents beauty and success and as a result Indians are keen consumers of products that promise to lighten skin colour.

Here to Read: Be Comfortable With Your Own Skin Colour

Racism is present deep in India’s history in caste system and colonialism. Skin colour is a sensitive subject because, historically, paler skin signified higher status in India’s intricate caste system.  In today’s India it can be found in consumer behaviour and corporate advertising. The fairness industry first evolved as a response to consumer demand. For centuries Indians used natural ingredients, such as lemon or turmeric, to lighten their skin.

In 1975, Unilever launched a commercial skin lightening cream called “Fair & Lovely,” and other companies quickly followed this trend. The creams were originally targeted at women, but over time products emerged for men as well. In 2005, Emami launched the “Fair and Handsome” cream with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador and it is now a market leader. In the ad, Shah Rukh Khan gave a tube of fairness cream to a young fan, telling him that fairness is the secret to success in life. Gorgeous girls can be impressed by having fair skin only.


Fairness products are sold at every price point, from inexpensive lotions to high-end luxury creams, making them accessible to people belonging to different classes. Supermarket shelves are stocked with creams for lightening, whitening, brightening, anti-aging, cleaning and so on.

Fairness creams were developed to fill a specific demand in the Indian market; the survival of the industry now depends on ensuring that consumers continue to want fair skin. This means perpetuating the belief that fair skin is desirable and that dark skin is a problem to be corrected, a message the advertising industry has effectively been able to broadcast. Cosmetic companies also amplify this sentiment by enlisting India’s most popular actors as brand ambassadors for their fairness products.

The ads targeting in a familiar pattern: A dark-skinned actor/actress is shown feeling rejected and hopeless. His/her friend/Bollywood actor shows the secret to a better life —a product (cream, powder) of skin lightener. He/she gets several shades lighter using the skin cream. Soon, he/she is transformed to an ultra-attractive, utterly eligible version of his/her former self.

The list of Bollywood stars endorsing such products for men is impressively long, ranging from superstar Shah Rukh Khan to John Abraham to Shahid Kapur. Bollywood actresses like Yami Gautam, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, etc. are endorsing fairness products for women.


Just imagine for a second when a dark skinned boy or girl sees these ads on Television set, magazine newspapers everyday and every time; what will be his/her state of mind? Doesn’t he/she feel insecure about his/ her looks? Doesn’t the confidence level of that person decreases?

Have the people of this country forgotten that a colour of a person is hereditary. We people talk about attacks on Indian students in foreign countries on the basis of colour and give huge lectures when asked about our opinion on Racism. Almost everyone in India is aware about the Mahatma Gandhi train incident where he was pushed out of the first class train compartment in South Africa by the English because he was BLACK. All these incidents are taught to us at childhood so that we don’t support Racism in any manner.

Then why are these advertisements not banned? What’s sad is that many people actually fall for this and become a part these campaigns that we want to defeat theoretically. These mindless advertisements have created an opinion in the majority of us that the white is superior to black.

Click Here to read: Indian Double Standards

For example on every matrimonial page one will notice either the groom or the bride’s side asking for a fair complexioned partner. The matrimonial pages of any newspaper are testimony to Indians’ fairness obsession. Darker-skinned brides and grooms are often described as having a “wheat-ish complexion”. They are considered as less favourable for their skin colour only. This is ridiculous. How can you choose a life partner on the basis of his complexion?


On this note I would like to ask a question. Why have people not raised their voices against these Racist advertisements?

We must not forget that a person’s calibre is not to be judged on the basis of his skin colour. In a country where two main Gods of the Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna; Ashoka the great king,  Mahatma Gandhi and last not the least the Superstar of all times Rajnikanth are dark skinned, it’s hard to believe people still favour the light skinned ones. Still, there are some Indians who resist the stereotype that fair is beautiful.


You don’t need to be fair to become successful in life. All you need to be a good human being and work hard to achieve success.


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83 thoughts on “Fairness Products Are Creating Racism In Indian Society…

  1. Hi. This is a very educational post, and also very true. Got me thinking. Most times racism is spoken about but we fail to notice that it is exhibited daily among us and that we sometimes even promote it, not knowing that we are going against our very own campaign against racism.
    Do they really ask for fair complexioned spouses in India?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Esther for reading this post and sharing your opinion.. 🙂 Yes, we often support and promote racism which we fail to notice… Most of the time people are not aware of that they are supporting or doing racism..
      Yes, fair complexion is one of the most important criteria for marriage in India.. People prefer fair and good looking brides and grooms more… Many dark skinned girls and boys face rejection only because of their skin colour which is the saddest part… 😦

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow. I love it. Detailed. Beautifully expressed. I feel the pain though I’m unfamiliar with it. In Nigeria, we are all black. Even though some still prefer to lighten their skins for whatever reason, its greatly believed today that even dark is even more beautiful.
    Our problem there though is tribalism, even now, we are crossing that bridge.
    I read about the caste system in India and I wept, all the time.
    I can imagine human kind being dominated under such a system. And its time Indian youths arise to combat such system and trends.
    I believe you are that person.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Desmond for reading this post.. You are lucky that you haven’t face it.. This is discrimination between fair and dark skin colour people.. This is the time people should understand black. white, brown- these are only colours.. People can’t be judged by akin colour.. Discrimination due to caste system has been decreased but at some places it is still there which should be stopped..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I believe. The fight is yours dear and I believe there are those who will stand with you to fight this to the end. I have always loved India and I know that you can make the difference.
        Here the horrors of neo-colonialism and tribal politics have left us devastated and undeveloped, but we too will sail out of it.
        I believe we (you, I, and many like us) are the voice of the next generation.
        Thanks Rashmi

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks for believing in me.. I wish in your country Nigeria tribal and colonial problems will be solved soon and your country will be a developed country.. Politics and religious issues are barrier for development in India also.. We, the youths have to raise our voices to stop this trends..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so true! Ever since I began to visit India, I was amazed at the adverts in magazines and on TV – why were they all fair skinned? And in films, the hero is fair skinned, whilst the baddies are nearly always dark skinned. What message does this send out?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for reading Mick… yes, people with pale or fair skin are preferred more compared to dark skinned people.. This should be changed… These TV programs, ads, movies and magazines are main cause of losing confidence of dark sinned people in India.. We have to accept that white and black are just skin colours; outer layer of our body.. Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, I really really wonder about the fair and lovely advertising bcoz yami gautam who is already fair and have a white coloured face but still shez shown much whiter by applying toning effects..So, I would like to advice girls not to use such a crap products..I would recommend u to use fair and lovely only if they can make bipasha basu white 😂😂😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Amogh.. Why is it necessary to make Bipasa Basu white?? Is she not beautiful in her skin colour? Yami Gautam is fair that is why that brand choose her as rand ambassador.. Contents of the Fair & Lovely ads are total crap.. According to them only a fair and beautiful girl is confident and talented.. Dark skinned girls are not confident enough to achieve success..
      However, the truth is our calibre is not dependent upon outer beauty..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As an African American, I know all about preference of skin color.

    If you think about it….( in America anyway)…these same types of companies also try to make “fair’ skinned people feel they need to “TAN” their skin by advertising tanning lotions & tanning salons. Otherwise…..people wouldn’t feel the need to sit in the sun at the beach every summer trying to purposely TAN, per they feel they’re “too white”.

    So, we really live in a backwards society. The world as a whole needs to accept all the variations & beautiful shades of color that mankind was born with. We’re all beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion J L… People should accept that all skin colours are beautiful and different.. Skin is the outer layer only, knowledge, beauty and talent are not depended upon it..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I LOVE THIS POST ❤❤❤❤❤ I had to face racism even now sometimes. And it’s disgusting how people discriminate a person by their color. And I absolutely hate all the advertisement which promotes such kind of ideas. Saying I am proud to be an Indian but somethings need to change to feel really proud. But your post is more than perfect 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deboleena for reading and sharing your opinion on this topic.. I’m glad that you liked it… I hope people who are discriminating people by their skin colour will understand it very soon.. Keep reading.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice article, yeah we have the same phenomenon here in China as well. It’s sad to see how it has turned out, fair / white complexion being looked upon as more desirable….. Kind of like how media is hyping people to stay thin and skinny…. This is a battle that will be on going for all eternity until people become wiser and start realizing their own value and beauty.

    It’s a sick world we are living in

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Calle for reading and sharing your opinion on this topic… Yes, preference for white/ fair skin colour is present almost all over the world.. Fairness product companies are just taking the advantage.. As a result confidence level of young generation who don’t have fair complexion are facing inferiority complex and losing their confidence level.. This should be changed..


    1. Thanks for reading Jasper.. It is not only their fault.. We, the consumers want fairer skin… Companies and consumers both have to understand that they are creating racism in the society..


    1. Thanks for reading Ishan.. Just watch fair & lovely ad and you can decide whether they are creating racism or not.. They are not doing it directly but they are spreading it indirectly.. Thanks again for sharing your opinion.. keep reading.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t know about this… This is so wrong… People should get opportunity based on their talents and not for the outer look… Thanks for sharing this information.. I hope these things will be changed soon..

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing your post. I had no idea this is happening, another form of racism. I am beginning to understand there are many layers of racism . I am fair skin and the products and ads are pushing for a tan look. I hope you can change the minds of Industry that sells fair & lovely ad that all colors are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my blog post dorothyewilson… Yes, all skin colours are beautiful.. People should be happy with what they have naturally instead of trying to get an artificial skin colour..


  9. absolutely hit the nail on it’s head with this!! Great eye-opener! Keep them coming…

    Btw I am a (wannabe) movie critic and I basically post reviews for all films I watch.I am a beginner at this so please drop by my blog if you could spare some time.All feedback is appreciated.Thanks!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, I have never heard of this kind of racism happening in your community. I have not seen the ad, but I have seen my share of beauty shaming ads. That is terrible, the media sends out some serious mixed messages about image in many terrible ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion Genevieve… Yes, this kind of racism exists in our country.. Not only media responsible for this, fairness product making companies are creating desire in people’s mind for fair skin by using these products…


  11. Now a days there is a “beauty standard” placed upon society in which fair skin is included, when there should be none. Couldn’t agree with you more! Loved it.
    I am new to this whole “blog world,” mind checking out some of my posts and telling me your opinions? Best of luck ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am working on a similar kind of article.It is so good to see that lot of us think the same and that’s how we can change something in our society.. Good work !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think it should be a personal choice to use a fairness cream or sunlight for a natural tan complexion. I have seen if women chose to use fairness or anti wrinkle or anything they prefer to apply on their face, they are being shamed upon. But fair complexion or dark complexion should not define who you are! girls, go ahead and make your individual choice and use cosmetics to uplift you and not judge others!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Too many people embrace fair skin, as some kind of virtue. I say it’s nonsense. People should just be happy with the skin they’re in. I’m someone who could use a little a little melanin! I’m pale and I burn way too easily! — YUR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the visit… I didn’t know that even fair skinned people are also unhappy with their skin colour.. I agree with you, people should be happy with their own skin colour.


  15. Any plan to shift your website to a custom domain? You write good blogs, you should consider doing moving to a custom platform. I can help you, incase you need any help.

    Liked by 1 person

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