DC | K. Sreedevi | 31st Jul 2013
Chennai: Beauty is more than skin deep, at least for this Chennai women’s network. This is precisely the message that they hope to highlight to none other than Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan.
Women of Worth (WoW), a city based independent group working on social change, has written an open letter to both SRK and cosmetics major Emami, calling them to suspend the latest Fair and Handsome fairness cream ad campaign immediately.
In the ad, SRK tosses a tube of fairness cream to a young fan who becomes fairer in the next scene, and walks, brimming with confidence. Calling the ad a discriminatory one, Kavitha Emmanuel, WoW director, who is spearheading the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign, said, “The message that is conveyed in the ad is that fair skin is a pre-requisite for success. Such irresponsible advertising propagates discrimination against dark-skinned men and women.”
Calling it a purely racist advertisment, Kotravai, founder of Mases, another women’s rights organisation, said, “Skin colour is something natural. How can people determine a quality of nature as inferior or superior?”
Recalling an instance of a school teenager who was not selected for a school photo shoot, who rushes home to apply loads of fairness cream, Kavitha lamented, “We have allowed ourselves to be deceived by the notion that ‘fair’ is more beautiful than ‘dark’ when, in fact, more than 50 percent of the country’s population is dark-skinned.”
To draw the attention of top celebrities and FMCG brands to ads that promote skin colour bias, WoW launched an online petition campaign about three weeks ago, seeking to stop the ad.
The petition has about 4,000 signatories till date. “This is not an attack on brands or brand ambassadors,” clarified Kavitha, “but on the toxic belief that only fair skin is beautiful.” A similar request will be sent to all other brands soon, she added.
Men’s fairness market in India is pegged at around `329 crore.