India’s appetite for skin whitening creams is huge and growing. According to an article by Shantanu Guha Ray, sales are outstripping both Coca Cola and tea. Products with names like ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘White Perfect’ are selling by the million, and men are increasingly getting involved.
And it’s not just India – similar products are popular in many parts of Africa too. It seems ironic given that many fair-skinned Americans and Europeans use tanning salons and ‘fake tan’ cream to darken their skin.
So why are people so concerned about their skin colour? This blogger says that having darker skin in India is considered ugly, and that people aspire to marry someone fairer than themselves. This blogger says tanned skin with white skin, is associated with having the money to go on holiday, and darker skin with labouring outdoors.
Is the media and advertising to blame? Ads like the one above sell the idea that having lighter skin makes you successful at work and attractive to men, as this blogger points out . Is television dominated by fair-skinned people? Would you ever change your skin colour and why?