Dear Fairness Cream Manufacturers – Blogathon Post 9

I have a daughter. She has gorgeous chocolate coloured skin. The skin that would remind you of that creamy chocolate with an extra dose of cocoa waiting to be gobbled up. Her skin is smooth, its really soft and makes me want to bite her with love!

But unfortunately at the tender age of 5, you seem to have ensured that she starts feeling the pressure of ‘not being fair and white’ in India. I wrote about this six months ago. and my husband explained to her about how she is chocolatey and stuff.

Unfortunately, its not working anymore. I hate chocolate, I want vanilla says my brat thanks to the totally stupid advertisements you guys keep bombarding the media with. My daughter, herself watches very minimlistic TV but her friends watch I think. And then they compare her skin with theirs. They tell her that she is black and being black is horrible. She needs to be fair. Yes, at the age of FIVE! Do you realise how MUCH you are affecting a generation which will keep thinking that becoming fair gives you everything in life! from winning a beauty competition, to getting the right guy to get married to getting a job to everything.

My brat told me the other ‘Amma its so unfair that I am not fair’ If it wasn’t such a serious topic, I would have smugly felt great about her play of words. Unfortunately its not. Its such a serious topic that becoming fair has become like a goal for her. What do you want for your birthday? I asked her the other day, when we were causally talking stuff. I want to become fair Amma, she said. I couldnt believe it. She asked me if she could wear powder for her school party. Why da, it will dry up your skin right? because I will look fairer ma!!!

Dont tell me that she should stop talking to the girl who keeps feeding her such stuff. Yes, may be she should. May be I should talk to the girl’s mother or the daycare teachers. But honestly thats NOT the solution. The solution is you STOP manufacturing such lies. Yes, I can understand that you need to sell your products. Cant you just market them as great cold creams, or skin protection stuff. WHY this FAIRNESS CREAM? And honestly, it doesnt work. My mother in law, has been using Fair n lovely for years and years and her skin is as deliciously chocolate coloured as it was when I saw her first 7.5 years ago!!! And she says thats been her skin colour for years together!

Honestly you dont work. You are just creating a marketing gimmick which is making life miserable for wheatish coloured people. You are creating a generation of children who will judge each other by their skin colour just like racists!

I request you, plead to you and just really tell you, stop this false advertising. My innocent 5 year old has started growing up with a complex that is not even worth a pinch of salt!

Just so disillusioned with the world right now



ETA: Ugich Konitari wrote a wonderful post on her blog in response to this one. Please do check. She does more justice to the topic than me 🙂 Thanks so much for doing this Ugich Konitari! 


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110 Responses to Dear Fairness Cream Manufacturers – Blogathon Post 9

  1. Santulan says:

    There are two agencies at fault here. The first is the manufacturers and how they market such things, and the second are the people who create a market for such things

  2. RajK says:

    Absolutely agree with everything you’ve said. I have a daughter too…I’m already bracing for the effect of such conditioning…I’ve also started talking to my son (who’s older) about why skin colour doesn’t matter. I think it’s important to talk to our kids (boys and girls, both) and try to reverse the negative effects that these products and their marketing has on them. It’s an uphill task but every little bit helps, I think.
    BTW, sharing this on my FB page.

    • R's Mom says:

      Yes, every bit definitely helps I agree. But sometimes I get so frustrated trying to tell her that your skin colour is your own, its unique and no one else can have it!

      Thanks 🙂

  3. Maya says:

    Hugs, RM. Big big hugs!

  4. This is really so sad. A decade or so back it was only Fair & Lovely. Now literally every brand, from Ponds to Nivea to Garnier, has jumped on to the fairness gravy-train. One is hard-pressed to find a cream that does not mention brightening or lightening anywhere on the packaging. 😦

    • R's Mom says:

      Exactly..the market is flooded with the whitening products and it just makes me so sad that we dont admire what we have and just want to be fair 😦

  5. Dear R’s mom. I feel for you. I’m sickened by the messages these advertisements convey. And I feel for your daughter. Why don’t you face the issue head on with your daughter – tell her the problem isn’t in her, it is in the people who feel the need to use such products? That they have self-esteem issues, but your daughter doesn’t, because she knows she is good and beautiful the way she is, right?

    Also follow the ‘Dark Is Beautiful’ campaign on FB. I’ve started following it, as well. And good luck with helping your daughter grow up with a healthy self-esteem. Give her an extra-long hug from me. She’ll need it.

    • R's Mom says:

      Thanks for writing in. The problem is she is just five. So sometimes talking logic to her just doesnt work 😦 But yes, I did get another email from a friend who told me to take on the Dark is Beautiful stance instead of saying you dont need to be fair. That seems a great idea to me. I am not on FB, so cant really follow the campaign but heard a lot about it!

      Hugs will be passed 🙂

  6. You know RM I have a wheatish complexion and believe when we grew up none of us made such a big deal out of this. Even though there were people who branded fair with beauty but these days I see the kids have become very conscious of skin color. I hope R gets over it soon and realizes the skin color doesn’t make us any less or more beautiful.

  7. Prachi says:

    very true RM…It is a big market and I don’t think it is going to ever change..thanks to typical Indian mindset of “Fair” is beautiful…
    Look at Kajol, Konkona Sen, aren’t they beautiful and I admire them more than many top notch heroines of recent times who are no more than a showpiece in their 99% movies.
    Can we do something about it..? I mean through IMC or some other platform…to make our kids proud of their work, and achievments rather than skin color..!!

    PS: Tell R that I too love any form, be it a cake, cookies, doughnut, milkshakes or a cute little girl (read R) …!! 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      I keep talking to her about this all the time! I hope she eventually realises. But this time I just got so really frustrated that I could do nothing to convince her 🙂

      I will let her know about your chocolate love 🙂

  8. My daughter who is growing with American and Chinese kids whose skin complexion is fair, she compare her skin and says why her isn’t fair like her friends. Here I hardly have seen any fairness cream add, rather I see tan cream adds. I told her what ever her color is she is precious and don’t try to change. She was upset her hair isn’t straight like her friends, I told wavy curl hair can be beautiful too like some princess she has in her room. I think kids are will be influenced with surrounding I don’t think we can do much about it other than making them comfident and proud about their color of skin, hair and style. It may not be easy for the age that they are in, but eventually they will learn. As mom I can totally get, we feel so helpless.

  9. Shweta says:

    We share a common thought here. People even expect unborn kids to be fair!! Can anything be lamer than this??! It boils my blood no end 😐

    Did you read my post on what I feel about this??!!! ( I want you to!

    And tell R, beauty does not mean being fair. She has smart brains and that’s what matters.

    Don’t be disillusioned RM. You and RD are great parents and I am sure you will find a way out to remove the rubbish from her mind. Hugs to you! 🙂

  10. Pepper says:

    Sigh. This is so sad. You know, when I did some research on this earlier, I read that this obsession to be fair started as a class thing in India. In an earlier era, kings, queens, princesses and all other upper class with more respected jobs would be sheltered in the cool palaces during the day. And the workers would be out, plowing, gardening and doing other jobs in the fields. As a result, the harsh sun would not only tan them, but the constant exposure made them extremely dark.. So it was easy to differentiate between people and know their class based on their skin colour at that time. Which is why people hated being dark, and longed to be fair.

    Anyway, I am positive the brat will get over this need to be fair as she grows. So don’t worry. It is scary it is happening, but it isn’t permanent damage.

    Lastly, I don’t see why you would target the manufacturing companies. I studied media and marketing for 3 years, and this is the basic rule – As long as there is a market for a product, companies will continue to cater to it. It is huge business with fairness creams. And unfair to ask them to get out of business because it doesn’t match with our values, I think.

    I know you think the ads are ‘creating’ a need to be fair. It is true to an extent, and they will continue doing that, as long as it continues to work. The moment people stop buying those creams, the products will be modified and the ads will disappear. So it our country at fault I say, not the media and the manufacturers.

    • R's Mom says:

      Oh thats an interesting background, I never knew that. I always thought it was the Dravidian Vs Aryans divide which resulted in the skin colour war!

      I hope the brat does understand soon!

      And you are right. Just as Santulan said, the manufacturers produce because there is a market, my initial thought process was, people buy because manufacturers produce no? Its like a chicken egg situation na! I honestly didnt think about it from the point of view that manufacturers are just catering to the demand!

  11. Archana says:

    That’s horrible!!!! I wrote a similar post on this here: :

    I am sure that with time, your logic will prevail over R – at least I hope so.

    • R's Mom says:

      Oh hugs hugs..but honestly Archana, when I met your husband, I didnt think he was fairer than you :):) or may be it just didnt register because both of you have awesome smiles 🙂 so was more enamoured by that

  12. Deeps says:

    Oh RM, I can so feel the anger and disillusionment! This obsession of ours with fair skin is just so frustrating. And those fairness cream manufacturers and advertisers only make it worse.

    Please give R a tight hug from me and tell her she is smart and beautiful just the way she is 🙂

  13. Mini Nair says:

    Hi R,
    This is a bane. Advertising that fair skin makes a woman more desirable is sick. But on the otherside, because the product sells they advertise even more.As a parent I show the twins pics of people of all races so that they learn that beauty is not skin deep. Do not fret over this!!!! SHe will soon learn….

    • R's Mom says:

      I show the brat a lot of pictures, showed her how people are different, and we have been fortunate enough to have friends visit us round the world from Caucasians to Afro descendants who have varied skin hues, and whom she really likes! But unfortunately, in her case, her friends are big influencers 😦

  14. Sri says:

    Ohhh…if becoming fair is what R wants for her birthday, it is really serious…ya, there is no point scolding the kids involved..

    You could show some pics of successful “unfair” people like Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry..but I can understand how difficult it is to convince kids…

  15. ashreyamom says:

    agree with you.. we are poisoning the kids mind.. dont we?? in spite of having so many campaigns against fair and lovely, it does seem to read all the people..

  16. Tharani says:

    Hugs hugs hugsRM.

  17. 😦

    I remember this happening when I was a child, too. I don’t understand why everyone is so obsessed with fairness – what’s wrong with being dark, as long as you have good skin? And now, we need to keep our vaginas white too! Gah!

  18. chattywren says:

    In my house, I am vanilla, the kids are chocolate, and husband is dark chocolate, in their own words! They sometimes accuse me of being different than them! At school, they stand out because of their skin colour, hair and colour of eyes. It’s really difficult to understand this obsession with skin colour for such young kids, not that it makes sense for grown-ups at all. Should be a no-consideration really.

  19. Divya says:

    Hi RM…I grew up with feeling inferior all my life due less that fair skin tone. Well what i can say that has not been resonated here already. I have a daughter too and hope things change ..have you heard of – It’s an online petition platform. I’m unsure how effective it will be in India and but i have seen some great awareness being initiated here in the US using this tool.

  20. rainmusings says:

    This is really bad. Hope R gets out of this worry . She might never like herself if this complext builds up in her :(. Today only my SIL was saying her 3 year old is asking the same questions – why he is dark and others are fair 😦

  21. Nidaa says:

    Dear Fairness Cream Manufacturers,
    You have played a big part in making me feel inadequate, ugly and unwanted during my teen years.
    You made me feel like a nobody.
    At times you made me feel that I couldn’t get a decent job.
    At times you made me irrationally jealous of ‘fair’ people.
    At times you made me feel that no one will love me.
    At times you made me bitter and resentful for no reasons.

    I overcame all that and became wiser. My life and experiences proved all these notions wrong. I experienced success and love. I am a happy person now. I survived the beauty myths and survived spectacularly.
    But I just wish I could take back the young years you kinda ruined with this wisdom. And I definitely dont want any more generations going through this. Trust me, its hell. And its always there in the back of your mind even when you’re doing something enjoyable.

  22. mahabore says:

    You know what, I don’t know what I am overwhelmed by, the post itself where your little 5 yr old seems to have succumbed to peer pressure to be ‘fair’ at this young age itself, or the love that your readers have shown for you by way of the comments.

    One way or the other, you truly are lucky to have so many many people support your stand on this particular topic. As for your daughter, am sure this is just a phase, and as long as you kind of distract her and keep her away from Fair and Lovely ads, am sure she ll learn to be comfortable with whatever complexion she has…

    • R's Mom says:

      I am very very lucky that ways…the blog world has been such a wonderful support every time I have been bogged down by life..thats why I love blogging so much!

      I hope she learns to be comfortable too!

  23. Shweta says:

    Have You heard of this line/ phrase while listening to stories of Krishna – “Yashomati Maiyya se Bole Nand Lala, Radha Kyu Gori Main Kyu Kala”

    I think at some point of life we all go through this phase where we compare ourselves with others for some weird reason.. Only way to pass this phase is building our confidence and believing in ourselves… And it has to be a consistent effort.. whether its skin color.. height.. performance in studies.. or Acing an Exam.. even today when I am entering my 30s and working an independent there comes a time when I would compare myself with someone in my team about the way the work or manage a job.. though I know better and believe – To each his/her Own.

    And the fact that my Family, Friends(true) and Loved ones still feel the same for me.. irrespective of how I look or perform.. They might feel Happy or sad with me, for me in different situations..

    Keep believing in R.. Sooner or Later she’ll also figure all this out.. Its part of growing up.. 😉 After all she is your-RD’s daughter.. 😀

    If you feel it may help.. show her this video —>

    • R's Mom says:

      Thanks for the comment and the link rey…I will check it out…and yes, we all compare ourselves, I only wish she didnt compare on skin colour..but you are right, she will figure it out definitely

  24. magic says:

    I love the way you write this post made me comment here.. I don’t know what with these fairness cream companies sigh and this fairness obsessed country of ours.

  25. Megha says:

    Hello RM,
    Some positive reinforcement strategies:
    1. Naomi Campbell – top fashion model, skin: golden brown. Perhaps some top-end fashion magazine that celebrates people of all colour on the ramp?
    2. A sunny beach, lined with white bodies – why? they want to become brown! Heck, they have an entire salon tanning industry around this – Imagine getting into a tank like object just to become more brown?
    3. Is there a aunty in her life she admires who is her colour? Role models would be useful to point out how this won’t make or break your life.
    Experiment to help demonstrate what is in fairness creams – bleach! ugh. Take pudhina. Split in two. Put one in water, one in 10% bleach ( 10ml of bleach, 90ml of water; dilute Ala or something). See plant over time. Is that what you want happening to your face?

    • R's Mom says:

      Thanks a lot Megha..I liked point 3 a lot. I am sure that will make a difference..

      LOL on that experiment I am definitely going to try that…muah to you

  26. Bingo says:

    RM, please don’t think too much about this issue. I have a mole on my face, as big as fenugreek seed. I hated this when I was young. I used to fight with my father that it is because of him I got this mole on my face (he had at least 15 moles all over his body). But, I had awesome friends in my school who used to tell that I am so lucky because I received ‘dhrishti pottu’ from god himself.
    If someone does not like you, it is not because of your colour or mole or height or weight. It is our nature and behavior which attracts people. R will be fine when she understands this. One more ‘this-too-shall-pass-phase’.
    On a lighter note, are these fairness creams only for face, I mean, if at all we become fairer on applying the cream on our face, we would look like panda bear no?

  27. MR says:

    oh boy you make me so glad i like here. away from that advt nonsense. YET… my daughter thinks fair is better ( she calls it light skin) and this she got when my mom visited and say sunTV nonstop and kept telling her not to go out in the sun or she will get tanned. Boy was i mad, it takes me 6 months to undo what my mom does in a week 🙂 and to top it we get nice warm days 6 -8 months in a yr, sure it’s sunny but rest of the time the sun is like a bulb giving light but no heat, and why would you not want to soak up the warm sun, aghh it’s hard so i completely sympathise with you, but don’t give up, keep reiterating to her and she will get it .
    I grew up in india with fair and lovely and my family harping about my married life to keep me company and yet i turned out fine , so she’ll be fine, it’ll pass. 🙂
    But it’s terrible what these ad’s do. whare is the social responsibility. i understand the money making but no social responsibility at all???? sad.

    • R's Mom says:

      Gee this sun TV is really crazy…some of the ads and the serials they show *shudder* in my case my in laws watch Asianet back to back..which is not a bad thing..just that some serials are pretty derogatory especially to women!

      Hugs to your little girl and am sure she will turn out to be as cool as you are 🙂

  28. Pingback: Day 9: In All Fairness | Scribblehappy

  29. thedotingmom says:

    My older one is also wheatish and the younger one fair.The former keeps asking me why she doesn’t have the same complexion as her.And all my stories don’t work either.

    • R's Mom says:

      Same in my case…my brother is extremely fair and I am wheatish..when I was a kid I always used to ask Amma why bro was fairer than me! Hugs to your little ones..and yes sometimes stories just dont work

  30. D's Mom says:

    A few years ago I watched a kids talk show kind of programme hosted by Anupam Kher. There was this one kid who said that he/she (don’t remember the gender clearly) is scared of dark skinned people. Anupam Kher was zapped and asked the kid why? The child replied because they are not good people, only fair-skinned people are good. Stunned Mr. Kher asked the child who told him/her that? The child replied, “My Mother”!!!
    This is the sad state of affairs. Thankfully, R has a wonderful and sensible set of parents and am sure she will outgrow this phase. As parents we want to protect our kids, but believe me RM this is only the beginning. In time she will learn to fight her own battles.
    BTW, please tell her that Lord Krishna was her colour and she is his chosen one 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      Oh my God! I cant believe that mother told her that 😦 Its so so depressing 😦

      Thanks rey…yes the Krishna reference is on in the R household 🙂

  31. I wish all the so called bollywood role models take a stand against it. Its annoying to see duskies like Priyanka and Deepika pose for Garnier and Ponds n all with such lightened skins. What in the world is pinkish fairness? Siggghhh….

  32. I read both posts, yours and that of Scribblehappy.
    I also checked out Ugich Konitari’s post which R’s Mom has referred to.

    Yes, I agree. Fair skin is at a premium in India. We are “racist” in this regard.
    I secetly suspect the sudden spurt in Indians winning the Miss World/Miss Universe crowns in the nineties may have had something to do with a secret International market plot to dump cosmetics on us. A thousand million people over two thirds of them not “fair” and wishing desperately they were, is not a small market.

    Strangely no one in Africa wishes he/she was fair. They are darker than we are and don’t even notice it. They may envy the White man his power and prosperity, but I wonder if, among themselves, they ever felt inadequate as regards their complexion. Like Africa, The Far east and South America are not concerned with complexion at all. Venezuelans and Mexicans too sport various shades but I doubt if they are obsessed with a fair “European” complexion like us Indians. What is it about us Indians?

    Nowhere is our colour prejudice more evident than in the “marriage market”. Just read the matrimonial columns. We are masters in inventing euphemisms. The term “Wheat complexioned” was possibly coined by Indians specifically for the marriage market. I have no idea just what exactly wheat complexioned means. I conclude it means a complexion the possessor is not really satisfied with but is still hoping to be admitted into the “fair” club as a member.

    I find this term as amusing as the old Middle Class term “High second class” for those who did not pass their exams with a minimum of 60 percent that would qualify them for a First class.
    No one is sure just what High Second Class actually means. Is it between 55 and 60 percent?
    Or anything above 50 percent? No official marks card or certificate ever mentions “High” second class

    Likewise, just how fair (or dark) is wheat complexioned? No one seems to know.

    Coming to children who are affected by this complexion obsession, I admit it is a difficult and challenging task to convince them that a dark skin is not a shortcoming. Kids can be cruel, in their innocence. Fair kids cannot be counseled to avoid noticing and mentioning of dark complexions. By the time the kids grow up, the damage is done and the scars stay on for a lifetime. Some dark persons I know, became more aggressive and concentrated harder on other accomplishments to make up for their dark complexion. This is unfortunate indeed. While becoming better is welcome, accepting darkness as a shortcoming in one’s personality, something to be made up for, is a sad thing.

    Incidentally, I thought this complexion obsession did not affect males as much as it affected females. I am now wiser. There is no shortage of males who wish they had been fairer.
    I had dark friends who frankly told me that if they get a fair girl to marry them they would be happy to relax other considerations, simply because they wanted at least their children to be fairer than they were.

    Height is another area, along with complexion, where no man ever is satisfied.
    However tall he is, he longs for those extra couple of inches.
    This inadequacy was strangely felt by a friend of mine who was 5′ 11″ tall!
    He deeply regretted missing that great benchmark figure for height viz 6′
    Why should 6′ be a benchmark? Isn’t it just a number? Try convincing him! He would wear shoes that gave him what nature denied.

    Another friend once told me :”complexion and height are two qualifications that secretly matter but are never listed officially in ads for jobs, for political and social correctness”. He told me with great conviction, that “other things being equal, the taller man gets the job. When the height is the same, the fairer man gets the job.”

    I wonder if he is right.


    (I am posting this comment at both your blog and that of R’s Mom)

    • R's Mom says:

      Thanks for your comment!

      I agree, we are racists that ways 😦

      and yes, I have read similar reactions to Indians winning beauty contests in the 90s. Had to do with comestic companies wanting to sell their products in India.

      I am not sure about Africa? Are they comfortable in their skin? thats wonderful then!

      Yes, matrimonial columns always want ‘fair’ girls *rolls eyes*

      Higher second class :):)

      Yes, children can be cruel even in their innocence…

      Well, I am not sure about the complexion colour affecting males. I have loads of guy friends and never have come across one who was upset with his skin colour. Among boys I think there are a couple of commentors who wrote about the boy child being teased, but in men, I have never come across a complex!

    • I agree that kids can be very cruel. I have had glasses since my 1st std. The kids in class made me cry everyday. Also, i changed a lot of cities so new schools. I poured out about my getting bullied in my blog too hoping that it helps me out.

  33. anisnest says:

    hugs RM and hugs to the lil sweetheart too.. Just yday I had this argument with Amma.. she was casually mentioning how Adi and LHB has become a tad fairer after coming to US and I argued to her that color is the last thing I will worry about. All I need for them is a healthy skin. Period!
    I myself have been through this all my life RM with Amma being fair and I was on the very darker side while growing up. Ppl never think twice to ask you know? They ask “really? really? is she your daughter?” with that can’t believe look at me…

    • R's Mom says:

      Ah well, my Paati does that every time she sees me…you have become fairer..really??? Its funny when she says that..

      I know the feeling of fair mom and dark kid…I am one of them myself!

  34. Smitha says:

    Seriously! Such a sad state of affairs. But it’s not just the advertisers, they just pander to the market, we as a society have to take some part of the blame too. But I do wish we had some sort of a neutral agency which could monitorbauch ads and take potentially offensive/regressive ads off the air.

    Hugs to gorgeous R. How I wish I had a magic wand to make her forget the silly stuff that her friends tell her, and get her to believe that she is beautiful as she is. Hugs to both of you.

  35. Veens says:

    It is just not girls these days. My Nephew who is a bit dark was always sad that his Mumbaikar friends called him Kalu (at 11) instead of his name when screaming at each other during play. His father wanted to confront those kids and there parents, but when I heard that I asked him not to. Instead, I told him to talk to the son. At 11 I think he will not get it, and I remember going through this phase as well. I spent 15 years of my life in UP in between friends who all were 200% more fair than me- and at some point the other kids treat you that way too, always the odd one out, always the “the South Indian”;
    I went through this phase as well… only constant talk can help the kids… only that nothing else.

  36. It makes me so mad and at the same time so disappointed reading your post RM. Yes the manufacturers are to blame but as a few people have already mentioned, if there wasn’t a market for it, they wouldn’t succeed. Unfortunately, there is a market for it and people buy the product. I know fair skin is idealised because it is linked with a higher status and in that regard, it’s not surprising it sells in India where the caste and class system are such an integral part of society. There is still the mentality that if you have lighter skin, you are of an upper caste and well-off.

    I loathed the Fair and lovely ads and the rest which implied that I would never get a job or a partner because of the colour of my skin. Having said that, my paternal grandparents were big on light skin as my dad’s side is relatively fairer skinned than mum’s. I think that’s why my grandma never really liked me because I was darker skinned and looked like mum. I can still remember though, both sets of grandmothers telling me to not play in the sun so much because I would get dark and even now, when I go back, some people comment on how dark I have become. I even wrote a poem in 2011 on this whole saga (

    Hopefully with parents like yourself and RD, R will grow in confidence and will be proud of her skin colour. Because at the end of the day, the chocolatey colour is amazing! And it doesn’t stop you from getting jobs or partners no matter what the damn ads try to sell!

    • R's Mom says:

      Yes, after reading the comments, I do agree that there is the other aspect of there being a market which is making the manufacturers make these products…

      I remember reading that post..and I remember reading that you were not very close to your paternal grandma 🙂

      I saw your pics, I think your skin colour is yummy chocolatey 🙂

  37. simple girl says:

    Omg.. it is shocking but I am sure R will come out of it with you enforcing the positives every time.. 🙂 hugs..

  38. Ramya says:

    This “need-to-look-fairer” has been there even in our generation and perhaps in our parents too,I guess, but they were all subtle then, its geting more pronounced day by day ,Thanks to the manufacturers,campaigners and people who endorse them..RM, I’ve been at the end of a little different kinda comments on the same subject like ” Your mom and dad are dark, but you are fair”, I’m getting varied answers in my head to respond to them , if I were asked now..But when such questions are asked when one is young, what kind of thoughts and imaginationa nd questions are we seeding in young minds..We are one big obsessed society with color, height, looks..Only when we think the caste based discrimination is fading slowly, discrimination based on these physical attributes is growing at an alarming rate..I’m sure this is a phase and R will come out of it and will grow to be proud of herself ,whatever her skin color is.

  39. Whether or not we like to admit it, prejudices do exist in our society in a very big way on account of complexion, gender, religion, caste, economic status, educational background, profession, etc..

    The fairness cream manufacturers have not created the preference for fair skin, they are only catering to a market that already exists.

    My heart goes out to R and others with dark complexions. At the same time, I think we all are hypocritical in this matter. Do the upper caste people among us genuinely feel bad about the discrimination faced by the lower caste people? We resent the superiority shown by people wealthier than us, but do we make a genuine effort not to act superior to people who are economically weaker than us? Don’t we look down on people whose knowledge of English is not as good as ours, and admire people whose knowledge of English is better than ours? The list can go on and on. We all must introspect and try to improve our own attitudes and then try to improve others’ attitudes.

  40. techie2mom says:

    You are right as always RM…These advertisements give wrong notion to young children. These and many other advertisements on the TV tells young children what is cool and acceptable and sadly lot of parents encourage these notions. I sometimes feel helpless in face of such atrocious claims made by advertisers.

  41. DI says:

    You know what RM, I had this discussion with my mom this time. I was relatively dark, and more so because I was in UP where most kids were way too fair. PLUS, the people were the kind who would comment about complexion and misfortunes of being dark skinned.
    I dont know what she did, but somehow, I never was impacted. I know I might face a situation like this some time in future with Zo, not necessarily for the color bit, but some thing to do with looks and comments and general stereotypical definitions of what is nice and what is not. And I want to be able to handle it well then. I dont think I still have an answer.
    But it is quite sad. All I can say is you will need wait till R grows up and has an opinion of your own. Till then, I can’t see how you as a mom can fix it. But I sincerely hope we grow over and above these ridiculous comparisons and comments.

  42. Sue says:

    You know what helps? Having her hear you talk about beauty. I don’t mean inner beauty, but the physical kind, what you and your husband find beautiful, whether it’s friends, family or celebrities. I don’t mean you have to plan it, but Rahul has heard me discuss almost everything under the sun and he knows I’m a woman of strong opinions I am prepared to defend. So every time he has voiced something as ridiculous as fair only can be beautiful, he has been made to defend it. For instance, I shamelessly take advantage of my little boy’s deep belief that I’m beautiful, as is my mother (much fairer than me) and my aunt (rather darker than me). Since he can’t choose any shade as prettiest he was left to conclude we’re all beautiful. Also, what makes us beautiful to him need not be the same to the rest of the world, as long as he is comfortable with it.

    This one’s a long comment but it’s something I feel very strongly about. Rahul is both fair and attractive but I long ago decided I was not going to allow strangers to use his beauty to put me down. Now he’s an ally in this. 🙂

    • Sue says:

      Also, if I had a little chocolate-skinned daughter I would probably tell her every single day of her life how beautiful she is. If I can tell her how intelligent she is and how capable and the rest of it, I can also tell her how beautiful she is. (Though knowing me I’d probably drive her crazy trying to ‘eat’ the chocolate.)

      • R's Mom says:

        Okay, so thats something we have started talking about people generally being good looking irrespective of their skin colour…thats a great idea…

        LOL on making Rahul defend his choices..but thats great 🙂 And yes, when a kid is fair and beautiful a lot of people tend to pamper the kid..I have seen that happen with my brother..he is way fairer than I am, and Amma kept the sanity in him…otherwise..firstly fair, and secondly a boy, he was sure shot a pampered fella :):)

        LOL on the chocolate comment 🙂

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  44. hitchy says:

    Hugs RM!

    I am sure as R grows she will grow out of this complex! I had one about my colour too and now I feel it was so naive of me… and I realised it around my teens thankfully! 🙂 So I guess she will also come out of it. Its worrying to know that kids as young as 5 are starting to worry about such things, I thought all this happened during puberty or something!

    Perhaps its just a passing phase for a 5 year old where someone has just grabbed her attention… Hopefully it will pass out soon!

  45. deepa says:

    Hi R MOM ….y no posts 2 days ? …and today i came across this link in TOI,….reminded of ur blog…..atleast there shud be some means to sue dese actresses who put so much impact on ur kids ;(((…..

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  48. Fem says:

    Why not show her some foreign ads that depict tanning for women to make them gorgeous? That’s silly too, but it might balance it out. You can look out for these ads on Youtube,

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