Mothering Daughters and the Fair and Lovely Path to Success
Abstract

Fair skin has always been a marker of success in India. This paper examines mother-daughter relations in television commercials for the fairness cream, "Fair and Lovely" through a recent television commercial of the brand. Earlier representations of mother-daughter relationships were marked by an absence broken only through depictions of the mother adorning the daughter or bidding farewell at the time of her marriage. A recent advertisement of Fair and Lovely, in contrast, depicts the daughter as a successful professional cyclist buying a new home for her mother. This paper analyzes the figure of the mother in this advertisement in the context of new-media representations of global womanhood. The argument of the paper is that the advertisement represents the mother as a passive observer of the daughter's entry into the global market. The apparently feminist theme of the advertisement hides a subtle message of the irrelevance of the older woman in a neoliberal economy.