Whitening Skin Creams and the “Lighter is Better” Ideology

In Pakistan and India, there is a new TV ad featuring a dark-skinned man talking to a light-skinned man. The dark-skinned man proclaims he is unlucky because of his face, and the light-skinned man says it’s not his face, it’s the color of his face. Then he gives the dark-skinned man a whitening cream called “Fair and Handsome” that will make his face lighter.


We have all heard (and probably seen firsthand) how lighter skin is preferred, not just in South Asia and America, but in many other parts of the world. Maybe I’m just naive, but it saddens me that this concept of “lighter is better” is being blatantly and unapologetically being marketed to the masses. It’s one thing to cast all light-skinned models for a campaign. It’s another thing to say right out, “Here’s a cream that will make your skin lighter because dark skin totally sucks.” Here’s another ad from the same company, Emami, promoting its “Fair and Handsome” skin lightening cream.

What are your thoughts on this? Has anyone else heard of this product, or similar ones?

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About Linda

Linda Chan lives in New York City. She is interested in all issues Asian, particularly Asians in media and entertainment. She watches what some would consider an unhealthy amount of TV and blogs her sometimes snarky thoughts here: http://lindastv.blogspot.com.
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