Obsessions with Fair Skin: Color Discourses in Indian Advertising
Abstract

Abstract:

In India, the idea of beauty is often associated with fairness. Fairness creams abound in the market, and advertisements glorify fair skin. An analysis of television advertisements of fairness products shows how they connect fairness with achieving other personal goals, such as marriage, success, empowerment, job opportunities, and confidence. Focus-group interviews with Indian women reveal that most agree that an obsession with fairness and its projected attributes continues to prevail despite an awareness that beauty is a more personal and complex concept. Many believe the connection between beauty and fair skin arises from age-old historical beliefs that are now perpetuated in advertisements for fairness creams. Though these women do not personally rate fairness as a predominant indicator of beauty, they are aware of the culturally determined advantages of being fair and have themselves made efforts to look fair.