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Tall, Fair and Handsome

Tall, Fair and Handsome

January 10, 2013
Is TWH really the new TDH?


“…Fair complexion has always been associated with success and popularity. Men and women alike desire fairness, it is believed to be the key to a successful life.” Gaaah! It’s a joke, a pun, a tongue-in-cheek take of a that old adage of how being blonde and fair equated to being superior in some form?

No, it’s the advertising copy for Emami Fair and Handsome Fairness cream—for the male of the species. It’s tagline: Mard ho ke, ladkiyon wale fairness cream kyon?  If you are man enough then why should you use women’s fairness creams? I wasn’t sure what confused me more.

The fact that this was and advertisement for a fairness cream for men, or that tall, fair and handsome was the new TDH? Did this mean that the very foundations on which the traditional Mills and Boon stories—a staple of my teenage years were based had been shaken? TWH? (Try saying that aloud, does that sound weird or what?)

Perhaps I should be pleasantly surprised that, Indian men were—finally—actually paying more attention to their own grooming? I definitely am thankful that atleast in the big cities, there is an ever so slight marked decrease in the number of eighties style Big B flouncy hair-cuts, semi afros and larger over the lip moustaches, for sure; with many more salons advertising mani-pedi-highlights for the uber-cool-male. Maybe I should congratulate the new Indian metrosexual man on stepping out of the closet?

Out of curiosity I looked up the online matrimonial ads. Aha! Seasons had come and down, dictators had been felled, people had risen in revolution to claim their freedom on different levels, the internet now penetrated every pore of our life, but the marriage classifieds had stayed reassuringly unchanged …except that, indeed the clutches of the fairness trap now cast its ubiquitous net over all it surveyed. V.Bfull Nonmglk prof qlfd convtd tall gori for very fair H.some Rajput boy IIT-K B.Tech 28/5'9. To get the girl who was gori, the man had to be not just well qualified, and in a good job but he had to be fair too. So what was sauce for the goose was for the gander too now.

The stereotypes which had constrained the Indian women for centuries was now being extended to men. It didn’t feel like reason  to applaud though…It was more as if each increasing degree of economic prosperity demanded a parallel decrease in the shades of darkness of the skin. The mind boggled at this weird inversely proportional co-efficient.

Above all what gave this an official stamp of acceptance, was that the most popular star in Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan—he who made women around the world swoon and embodied the success of the modern Indian male in every way was endorsing this product. And it wasn’t just him, Jon Abraham that quintessential TDH has leant his face to Garnier Men PowerLight, another fairness cream for men.

Where do we go from here. Much as I am grateful to the lowered levels of BO in the sweaty climes of the metropolis that is Bombay yet I refuse to accept that TWH really is the new TDH. What do you think? Do you agree? Do write in and tell me.

18 Comments

  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    02.02.13 10:27 PM
    @Keri,

    “What is so interesting is that that is a sight you would never see here in the States”.

    I happened to read this news today with pictures of the Jim Crow Laws that had done far more damage to the black people of America than Vaseline would ever do to the dark people of India.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272369
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    23.01.13 10:42 AM
    @Keri,

    Every demand needs to be met with an adequate supply. An obsession is being met with irresistible offers. That’s the core strategy of any business. For advertising agencies it‘s business as usual (Multi media) thrive on obsessions, addictions of wannabes. I am in it for a long time. Manufacturing customers dictate the concepts and we give them the expected form that would effectively boost sales.

    Unlike in America there is a race in India to be whiter than white. This post is about wannabes’ dire needs and how they are met. For example in Germany and in UK I have been using Vaseline for donkey’s years not because I want to be white but to prevent itchy skin due to hard water. I have not become any different to what I have always been in all those years.

    Even though my complexion is a lighter brown I have met every now and then Germans who have made acceptable and unacceptable comments. What ever they were those comments never bothered me. I knew their intelligence is limited and could only talk of things that don’t really matter when it comes to being successful in life at least with my family or me.

    Getting upset over such comments cause an enormous stranglehold on our mental or psychological structure. Stress over runs the inner peace that we need to lead a happy life. There are social stigmas that you can never get rid of altogether but just learn to leave them as they are and learn to walk around them like you would spotting a pot hole on the road.

    They are small time thieves robbing our energy of everyday life that depress us and give us the feeling that they have a hold on us instead of we. We carry them with us unconsciously, because they are hidden in our daily routine.

    It’s about time to learn "The Art of letting Go".
  • Keri
    By
    Keri
    23.01.13 05:43 AM
    Just my two cents: as an African-American, I was really appalled to see all the skin whitening cream commercials on TV during my stay in India. Literally, every 4th commercial was for one of these products. And this was in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, where a fair amount of the people were even darker than I am. The one that was most interesting to me was actually for a company very popular in America, Vaseline (started here, now based in Europe). In the commercial, a girl was darting behind trees and buses so that she could avoid the sun's rays on her. However, after she discovered Vaseline Healthy White, she felt more confident to go out in the sun...well, at least walk briefly down the street without looking like a crazy person.

    What is so interesting is that that is a sight you would never see here in the States, unless the person really is crazy. Or girls with scarves wrapped around their heads in 32 degree (C) weather. It's just a bizarre thought to us, and we have waaaayyyyy more light, bright, White people here than India does. What's also interesting is that you also can't find that product on the shelf of any popular drugstore here. I would think they would want to sell this to all the White people of America, considering in their description it says, "When it’s healthy and cared for, our skin has the natural ability to maintain a light tone and clear texture. Unfortunately, when it’s exposed to the sun, the skin’s natural lightening processes are interrupted. Pigment producing cells become increasingly active, tanning the skin, and leaving it several shades darker than it’s supposed to be." (Really??? That last sentence, really???) http://www.vaseline.in/Our_Products/Healthy_White_Body_Milk.asp So, according to Vaseline, skin is supposed to be light and bright, and yet these fool White people are running to the beach in the summertime (and the tanning booths any other time) to get several shades darker, to try to have the skin color of, gasp, Indian people LOL

    Maybe they don't sell it here because that expression, "Healthy White", makes no sense here. When a person gets tanned, we say that they have a "healthy glow" or that they look "healthy". If you're too White or too pale, people say that you look sickly, and who wants that? So to look like a beacon of health, you certainly don't want to look too White. You just can't be Healthy White. Ironic, isn't it?
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    18.01.13 02:56 PM
    @Rajpriya could not agree more with you. Talk about spending most your life getting over the conditioning inherited from your parents and there you have my life in a nutshell too :) glad to have met you through the-nri.com. Stay in touch
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.01.13 02:01 PM
    @Laxmi,

    Yes! As kids we do not realize our self-confidence was often shattered by the things our parents thought were with good intentions.

    As obedient children we were unable to break free for the sake of discipline.

    In some cases the nightmare that leaves many in a state of permanent uncertainty with a life long dependency on approval of almost any thing they wanted to do.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    18.01.13 12:31 PM
    @Rajpriya - its so interesting you say the one thing I began to realise a while ago. That I have choices now which I didn't at seventeen.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    18.01.13 12:25 PM
    We have been told many times in our childhood days we can not have things we love to have.

    Yet, as adults we have all the freedom to try things even if they don't really work.

    Many may not know or remember what a cute looking young boy Michael Jackson was (Jackson 5) before he changed to look more acceptable to the world.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    18.01.13 11:49 AM
    @SJC - it seems we always want what we dont have :)
  • SJC
    By
    SJC
    17.01.13 03:46 PM
    i dont think all asians subscribe to the fair is better idea, but i would like to see more dark and proud sentiments amongst asians, considering most indians ARE brown, not light. i know a lot of indians use white people tanning as a defence, but i dont think white people tan because they want to look indian or south american, they just dont want to look pale! there seems to be more going on underneath the surface with south asians wanting to get lighter than westerners wanting to get a tan.

    the other, more important thing is that at best, these creams do not work. at worst, they disfigure the user.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    13.01.13 11:41 AM
    @Laxmi,

    That's great. I knew my idea would trigger your imagination towards success.
    Let me know when you get started I know know quite a lot of guys who might use them.

    All the best.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    13.01.13 11:26 AM
    @Rajpriya hmm! especially enhancements of the EQ (emotional quotient) variety maybe an idea:)
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    13.01.13 11:15 AM
    @Laxmi,

    Here’s an idea. Open outlets for enhancement and anti ageing products of all sorts for men young and old in India. When you get very rich you might even forget I gave you the idea.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    13.01.13 11:09 AM
    @Bhadra - I second that. Give me warm honeyed skin over the pale, fair'd one any day.
  • Bhadra
    By
    Bhadra
    13.01.13 10:21 AM
    I watched one of those commercials and I saw a HOT indian man, with dusky and lovely skin, being turned into a white-wannabe. Yearch.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    13.01.13 09:31 AM
    @Harry -- agree! ultimately all these kinds of enhancements just make the person seem fake in more ways than one. To answer your last question--am still in India, travelling a bit and figuring out what I want to do next-- once I know it myself will tell the world (and parents) keep you posted.
  • HARRY
    By
    HARRY
    12.01.13 11:06 PM
    @ Laxmi

    When you are a men you only need few things. A deo, Aftershave, Razer, hair trimmer, shower gel, and anything more than this and your are gay. No disrespect to gays, you guys are allowed.

    I think along with dark and lovely range you should also include fake tan too and see what happens. The question is, have you seen the women following day after a night out when they have put on a fake tan. They look like something that cats have dragged in. :)
    See, when you live in UK you get to see lot more, do you not agree?

    HARRY

    PS How did your journey go and did you tell your mum and dad regarding your career change? just curious. :)
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    By
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    10.01.13 09:14 AM
    In the UK - there is now a dark and lovely range of products--why not introduce this in India -- have a field day at the controversy that creates!
  • tys
    By
    tys
    10.01.13 07:12 AM
    It's weird that you are writing this , because I spend day before yesterday irritating the shop girls asking for an after shave balm that just eases razor burn without making me more fair ( which will look plain strange with the rest of me), oil less, sweat less etc.

    When did this happen?

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