Sickening advertising


by Sunny
23rd April, 2007 at 10:25 pm    

Thanks to Zahed for sending this to me. Annoyed readers could complain about these ads to the company and / or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Update: On a related note, the Observer had this on Sunday:

John Lewis is set to revolutionise the way high street stores use models to sell clothes by becoming the first retailer to use ‘normal-sized’ women in its advertising rather than thin models. The shop, widely respected for its ethical practices, is seeking to address the damaging controversy over ‘size zero’ models by employing a variety of women of different shapes and weights in its promotional activities, including shop window mannequins.

It recently caused a stir in the fashion industry by using a size 12 model to market its summer swimwear collection. After finding that none of its usual British model suppliers had women of that size on their books, the store turned to South African model Lauren Moller.


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  1. Clive Davis

    SHADES OF LONGING…

    While fashion-conscious Caucasians go out of their way to get a tan, fake or otherwise, some brown-skinned people spend their money trying to go in the other direction. Pickled Politics has the depressing evidence….


  2. Tim Worstall

    How Very Odd…

    Over at Pickled Politics there’s a certain amount of outrage over an advertisement for a skin lightening product for Asian women. It’s not until comment 36 that someone points out that this isn’t something about race (ie, trying to look…


  3. djnotfound

    @radhika_rayan copywriters are evolving, mehinks. http://bit.ly/Md0Oj ‘Scientifically developed for asian skin!’




  1. Rumbold — on 23rd April, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

    Is that really a British bus Sunny (not trying to be skeptical, I cannot actually tell)?

    Wherever it is, it is a disgrace. At least Zahed spotted it.

  2. Kulvinder — on 23rd April, 2007 at 10:56 pm  

    Is it demonstrably worse than adverts for fake tan?

  3. lithcol — on 23rd April, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

    Pathetic isn’t it. I’ve been out there in the sun to darken my complexion.

    Looks to be British operated to me, Swedish made though. Still remember all those bronzed nubile Swedes on my Greek, Spanish, etc holidays of my youth.

    Given global warming and natural selection we will all be brown one day.

  4. Rumbold — on 23rd April, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

    Fake tan is just seen as a bit of fun, or even frightfully common, whereas in some sub-continental households there seems to be immense pressure on lasses to appear lilywhite, or even ‘wheatish’ (a lovely term).

  5. ZinZin — on 23rd April, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    “Is it demonstrably worse than adverts for fake tan?”

    Context. Sun tans became fashionable when Mr Chanel returned with a tan after a sailing holiday. There have been incidents of black/brown kids scrubbing their skins until they bleed in an attempt to be white after facing racist taunts at school.

    One of lifes bitter ironys is that the fashion/cosmetic industry considers black/brown skin dirt that can be removed and developed such products. Sickening doesn’t quite cover it.

  6. Sunny — on 23rd April, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    Oh yeah, Zahed took the picture of a London bus.

  7. lithcol — on 23rd April, 2007 at 11:45 pm  

    The Japanese don’t care about skin colour, but they do seem to have a thing about eyes.

    Given the diversity of the human race there appears to be a marketing opportunity for all sorts of cosmetic transformations.

  8. pommygranate — on 23rd April, 2007 at 11:56 pm  

    Why is it sickening?

    If folk want to whiten (Lightenex)or darken (fake tan)their skin, or turn it bright green, isn’t that their own private business?

    Unless the product is chemically dangerous, what’s the issue?

  9. lithcol — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:00 am  

    Green is going too far. No way, green people should be locked up. Purple sounds good though.

  10. William — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:01 am  

    I wondered weather it was on a UK bus or not. Yes there are some perhaps more problematic aspects if some people are responding to a myth of white is better. A lot of it also seems to be that the other is better just because it is different or novel. It is difficult to know how much of either is really most prevalent.

    I admit I am guilty of a bit of this. In the early 80′s my girlfreind and myself wanted to get a deep tan so we went on sunbeds everyday and in the sun. I ended up quite dark but with prickly heat (felt like cockroaches crawling over me for a few days.) Serves me right!!

    For years I have refused to collude with any of it. All kinds of skin colours can be beautiful in their own way. White skin can be beautiful. Many black women and of course men are beautiful. Just tell me those African woman we see around are not beautiful?? It is also true of medium dark skin. Also many Chinese have skin that is lighter than European skin and that is also beautiful.

    Tosh!!!

  11. pommygranate — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:23 am  

    William

    You seem to be very keen to state how beautiful all skin colours are. Why?

    Just tell me those African woman we see around are not beautiful??

    What does that mean? Some folk are beautiful and some arent. We’re not all born looking like Brad or Beyonce.

    Frankly i couldnt give a monkeys about someones skin colour. It’s their character im more concerned with.

  12. William — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:27 am  

    pommygranite

    Sure peoples character is more important overall, as well this can be partly about negating ideas of something being better than something else.

  13. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:36 am  

    i don’t get how it’s sickening — there’s a big market among asians for this kind of product. what, should we pretend it doesn’t exist?

  14. Clairwil — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:36 am  

    I note that the ladies on this forum seem to be using it to hide scars and conceal the effects of acne etc, rather than lighten the skin, which doesn’t strike me a particularly worrying.

    http://www.asianamag.com/Forum/
    FashionAndBeauty/407/PHARMACLINIX.aspx

    Though from the marketing there obviously is a market for overall skin lightening. There are cosmetic products out there to cater for every conceivable insecurity. I just find it depressing that there is a market for it.

    I don’t think it’s comparable to fake tan, which is just a harmless moisturiser containing dye. This product makes skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun and ironically if it’s not used long term will most likely leave the user with darker skin than they started with. Not to mention increased risk of skin cancer from sun damage.

  15. Clairwil — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:37 am  
  16. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:41 am  

    i have psoriasis, now that is fucking ugly skin.

  17. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:44 am  

    I don’t think it’s comparable to fake tan, which is just a harmless moisturiser containing dye.

    Ah, but being glaswegian, C, you should be well aware of the dangers of tanning salons, and their adverse effects on legions of pasty skinned scots.

  18. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:48 am  

    Anas,

    Why do do many Glaswegians want to be orange? :-)

  19. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:50 am  

    yeah, and to think I used to get taunted at school in for having brown skin. it’s fucked up.

  20. Clairwil — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:52 am  

    Ah yes the tanning salon. Believe it or not I’d forgotten about them, despite being a mere stones throw from Duke St which has the highest number of tanning salons out of any street in Europe.

    Tanning salons would actually be a better comparison given the similar health risks.

  21. Clairwil — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:53 am  

    Ah yes Anas you had brown skin. What they were after was tango orange skin. All the better to match with your Irn Bru.

  22. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:56 am  

    This phenonmenon is cross cultural. In the American south they would have brown paper bag parties among blacks where if you were not lighter than that brown paper bag you couldnt enter. Sad. I just joined a group on face book entitled Black sisters Stop Bleaching. I had to comment that sistas do need to stop bleaching, which is apparently causing health problems, that the brothas and the society needs to stop loving them when they do bleach. When dark skin is as beautiful and or as acceptable as ligh skin then we will stop bleaching. How many of them men out there will be attracted to a dark skinned sister?

    But as a child I remember having two best friends. One was dark the other was light and I made fun of both of them being an accpetable brown skinned sista.

  23. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:58 am  

    Pommygrante,

    It is bleach! It is dangerous. Tanning is also dangerous. The only thing that is safe is just being happy the way Allah made you.

  24. pommygranate — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:02 am  

    Bikhair – Well, i would agree with that!

    But i would not wish to impose my beliefs on anyone else.

    Anas – my wife has psoriasis – nasty condition. We haven’t found anything that works yet. Have you?

  25. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:02 am  

    Why is it sickening? For two reasons, firstly because there are health risks associated with trying to bleach the skin to make it lighter.

    Secondly it perpetuates the idea (as does stuff like ‘fair and lovely’) that lighter skin is better and that there is a ‘treatment’ out there.

    Its the Asian obsession with light skin that I find sickening.

  26. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:06 am  

    anyone who wants pale skin should move up to inverness or aberdeen or somewhere like that.You’ll soon start to blend in with your grey drab overcast surroundings.

  27. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:13 am  

    pommygranate, i use doublebase to keep the affected areas from drying and my GP prescribed alphosyl which was good: seemed to get rid of a bit of it. The sunshine also has a positive effect(not much chance of that up here tho). But i’m an awful one for scratching the dry areas when i’m nervous or upset which is really bad. I’m trying to figure out a way of stopping myself from doing that.

  28. Ms_Xtreme — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:29 am  

    Err, go ahead and tell me to shut up, but isn’t this sort of brought on by asians themselves?

    Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to sit there and whinge about that advertising when in reality our mum’s are out their looking for the lightest, most beautiful daughter-in-law?

    It’s okay to do it behind closed doors, but when there’s a miracle cream to help you with it, we jump all over it pointing the discrimination finger.

    VVhatever.

  29. pommygranate — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:41 am  

    Sunny

    But don’t white women also have an obsession with looking darker? Pick up any celeb gossip mag and look at the artifically darkened skins of all the celebs. There won’t be a single natural skin colour present.

  30. shiva — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:41 am  

    Fairness is an obsession all over the Indian subcontinent. North Indians make fun of the dark and oily skinned “Madrasis” while Pakistanis love to talk about their “tall fair tight ****d” looks and miss no opportunity to put down the “kaala” hanoods. The cutthroats of the Kashmir vale claim that because they are TFTA, they have nothing to do with “Indians” (never mind the billions in budgetary support for residents)! And then what about Southern India? In Tamizh Naadu which made a big fuss over “Aryan imposition from the North”, Tamizh movies as a rule feature bleached homegrown heroes and pale skinned heroines from Bombay/Delhi. A very popular band of ‘fairness cream” (arguably the national market leader) is marketed by a Madras based company. Tamizh movies frequently feature comedic routines involving colour humour (Tamizh movie buffs will tell you all about Senthil and Goundamani). The “Dravidian” leaders and their followers all are in thrall of fair skin! India’s “intelligensia” swoons over foreign returned “intellectuals” whose Indian language knowledge doesn’t cross ABCD (ayah, bearer, cook, driver is as far as they can talk to in the local language) while the less photogenic and distinctively darker homegrown politician is dissmissed as some bhaiyya, bania, or behenji. Check out Juan Williams’s excellent biography of Justice Thurgood Marshall for some piquant observations on colour consciousness during the pre-MLK era NAACP.

    It’s funny isn’t it? In Toronto the blondes dye their hair black. Hindi movie heroines OTOH dye heir hair brown or blonde! Bizarre!

  31. pommygranate — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:42 am  

    anas – thanks. we’ll try it. bit more sun here in sydney than inverness, which helps.

  32. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:02 am  

    Pommygrate,

    You are missing the point hun. When white women TAN their skin they arent saying light skin is ugly, unaatractive etc. They are saying being tanned is better. She is still a white woman. When an Asian or black woman bleaches her skin she is saying lighter skin is more beautiful. So is everyone else by the way. Not only that but when black women in particular straighten their hair, wear contact lenses it is also perpetuating the idea that immitating whiteness is more attractive. It wasnt that long ago that calling a black person black was fighting words.

    To lighten things up: Yo momma so black when I look at her I think Im asleep. Heee hee..

  33. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:03 am  

    Pommy,

    My bad. I meant to say when white women tan it is attractive not better.

  34. Kulvinder — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:34 am  

    I agree with pommygranate; ‘pale’ people want to be ‘darker’ as its exotic, ‘dark’ people want to be ‘paler’ for the same reason. You can criticise the cosmetics industry/fashion houses/capitalism/magazines, but singling out one particular manifestation of that is a tad myopic.

  35. Anna — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:24 am  

    Jesus Christ people, bleaching and tanning aren’t analogous just because they’re both modifications to skin–this isn’t just someone saying, “boo, the cosmetics industry.” The latter has nothing to do with ethnicity (it is, in fact, probably ironic that so many people want darker skin when whiteness is so dominant), whereas the former perpetuates shame about one’s ethnicity and ethnic distinctions. That’s the point–it’s about thinking you need to look more like the dominant ethnicity.

    Women can do whatever they want with their bodies, yes–but the important thing is to examine the pressures they get put under, because there’s a huge difference between making free, informed, choices, and scary, pressured, choices.

  36. Don — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:54 am  

    Isn’t there something of a class issue here? For a long time (in Europe at least, elswhere for all I know) being pale or artificially whitened was a way of distinguishing the elite from the sun-baked peasantry. Then with foreign holidays a tan was seen as proof that you had leisure time and money; palor was for factory drudges.

    In the ritual of sexual selection, following the look of the elite is probably a powerful impulse.

  37. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 9:49 am  

    Anas & Pommygranate – I also have a skin condition that causes drying, although I am prescribed Double Base, I actually prefer Shea Butter, but as I don’t moisturise nearly as often as I’m supposed to, perhaps I’m not the best person to comment.

    Douglas @ 16 – As you go North from London, the desire of young ladies to turn themselves orange appears to increase exponentially. I thought it reached its apex at Liverpool (The late Chairman’s niece, Glenda the beauty therapist, lived with us for a while, and tanned herself daily), but now Clairwil tells us that Glasgow is the tanning centre of the universe.

    Perhaps somebody out there can explain to me why it is acceptable for people to endanger their health by tanning or bleaching, when being overweight is a no-no.

  38. Jag — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:02 am  

    Sorry, late into this discussion but I was taken by the picture. As mentioned by someone above that is definitely a London Bus, and there is definitely a thriving market for these products; a pharmacy on my High Street (NW9) has a big poster for exactly this range of products in its shop window. And I have seen these ads all over Wembley/Harrow area too. :-(

  39. Deedee — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:44 am  

    Does ‘Fair and Lovely’ (boo! destroy!) contain mercury, or is this an urban myth?

  40. soru — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:45 am  

    That woman on the bus looks uncannily like Martine McCutcheon.

    http://www.martinemccutcheon.org.uk/

  41. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:31 am  

    i don’t get how it’s sickening — there’s a big market among asians for this kind of product. what, should we pretend it doesn’t exist?

    That’s probably for best.

    Its the Asian obsession with light skin that I find sickening.

    Wow. I guess this collides with your progressive “we will all be brown one day” ideas.

    Personally I’m slightly dark as being part Italian, I like being tanned. In general I find Asian girls cutier on the eye than African girls. Asian girls with lighter milky skin are especially attractive to me.

    Does this make me a bad person? Would it make a girl that lightened her skin to attact me a bad person? Should I suppress my natural sexual preferences to be more right on?

    To lighten things up: Yo momma so black when I look at her I think Im asleep. Heee hee..

    Bikhair, that was funny! I’m going to try that joke out on some of my friends.

    TFI

  42. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:17 pm  

    Unpopular as this may be:

    While I totally agree with everyone that it’s sickening, unhealthy and that young Asian girls should be encouraged to love the skin they’re in, the fact of the matter is, there’s a huge market for it

    Advertisers don’t make the market. They’re just selling what people want

    And if they couldn’t get it here, they’d get it from abroad where you can only assume the products are more dangerous

    We come from a long line of ‘fair is good’ mentality. I don’t give a shit about being dark, you don’t, but there are enough insecure girls out there who do. Complaining to the Advertising Standard Authority isn’t going to solve anything

    There’s a need, so there’s a product

    Once the grip of the first generation and many of this brainwashed by the last fade away, things will get better, but for now, I’m afraid it’s fair enough…

  43. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 12:54 pm  

    Is this advert offensive because the model appears to be of a completely different racial group to who it is meant to be marketed to?

    TFI

  44. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

    Kismet,

    I thought the whole idea of advertising was to make a market? I’ve always thought the cosmetics industry, of which this is just a small part, played on female insecurity in a particularily sophisticated but nasty way. When was the last time your pal asked you if his bum looked big in this?

    If the product is actually dangerous, shouldn’t it be banned?

  45. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    Jesus Christ people, bleaching and tanning aren’t analogous just because they’re both modifications to skin–this isn’t just someone saying, “boo, the cosmetics industry.” The latter has nothing to do with ethnicity (it is, in fact, probably ironic that so many people want darker skin when whiteness is so dominant), whereas the former perpetuates shame about one’s ethnicity and ethnic distinctions. That’s the point–it’s about thinking you need to look more like the dominant ethnicity.

    No. It’s not about looking like the dominant ethnicity it’s about conforming to an ideal of beauty that has been predominant on the subcontinent (where the dominant ethnicity is certainly not white) for hundreds of years. I don’t think it’s about wanting to look European, but like a light-skinned asian, if that makes sense.

  46. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

    If the product is actually dangerous, shouldn’t it be banned?

    Numerous products have already been already been banned for this reason. The items left don’t work so well, but hopefully won’t give you skin cancer.

    An Asian friend of mine once told me that the reason Asian women went swimming was to use the chorline to beach their skins.

    I thought that this was just BS, now I wonder.

    TFI

  47. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    re:post 21
    Is it just me or has Irn Bru had a real decline in popularity recently, C?

  48. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

    Advertisers don’t make the market. They’re just selling what people want

    Kismet this is not untrue but rather naive on several levels.

    Markets are also created by advertisers when they give the impression that consumers need that product to look good. A good example is the obsession with extremely thin models when modelling clothes – that has an impact on ordinary women who think that being extremely thin is socially the only acceptable alternative.

    So advertising such as this only perpetuates the myth that ‘you can look better with lighter skin’! It might be for stupid people, but there’s no sense in perpetuating stupidity or even accepting it.

    but there are enough insecure girls out there who do. Complaining to the Advertising Standard Authority isn’t going to solve anything

    It will, if you can help stigmatise such attitudes. Its just that certain media orgs continue being irresponsible….

  49. Ravi Naik — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:48 pm  

    Its the Asian obsession with light skin that I find sickening.

    Perhaps we will move to a point where we feel confortable with our brown skin so as to “allow” other browns to be different. I think there is a double standard here. I honestly don’t see any difference in wanting to dye your hair (blondes being “more desirable”) or tanning (pale making you look “sick”), and lightening your skin (light skin being more “beautiful”). Which is not to say that there isn’t a problem to the need of making unhealthy changes to the way you look incluing plastic surgery and chemicals on your body.

    Though it seems we are all trying to achieve the same colour – the light brown tan…

    Having said that, I find the Fair&Lovely advertisements very offensive, not because of the colour thing but because they tell women that they can only succeed if they transform themselves to look in a particular way. It is the kind of sophistication that can only be rivalled by the Bollywood industry.

    However, I do not think we should project the racial prejudice that has existed in the West between “coloured” and whites with the light-skin standard of beauty that still exists in India.

  50. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    Sunny et al, your intentions are lovely and I used to buy the whole ‘it’s all the media’s fault’ malarkey as well, but experience has taught me that actually, no, it isn’t the media that makes size zero sexy and light skin lovelier.

    Fact of the matter is: when a mag like Marie Claire does an experiment like having two different fromt covers for the same issue a few years back (one with sophie dahl in her rubenesque form, and the other featuring a superslim pamela anderson… the one featuring pamela anderson outsold the former by miles!)

    It’s nonsense to think Victoria Beckham and Sienna Miller and Kate Moss or on the cover of mags because the media has an agenda. They put them on the cover because they sell.

    Once in a while, you’ll get an ad campaign by someone like Dove and everyone will say ‘hear hear’, but sooner or later – just like oprah winfrey and ricky lake banging on about fat and proud then shedding 10 stone and claiming they’re finally happy – it all goes back to being all about the perfect image.

    The beauty industry is a very shallow one. To intellectualise is missing the point

  51. Anas — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    It is the kind of sophistication that can only be rivalled by the Bollywood industry.

    Good point. Sunny if you were being consistent you’d be going after the whole Bollywood film industry.

  52. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

    Just to clarify, I took the picture last week near the corner of Westbourne Grove and Chepstow Road in Bayswater (though I had seen the ad about a dozen times in other parts of London).

    other than the points that have already been mentioned, what exactly does “scientifically developed for Asian skin” mean? I would love to see this “scientific” explanation that differentiates this from lightening yellow, black, brown or even “white” skin.

  53. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:14 pm  

    Kismet,

    When was Pamela Anderson, err… how can I put this, anything less than well endowed?

  54. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    Douglas, this is Marie Claire we’re talking about – a hardcore real women’s magazine. It wasn’t the breasts the readers were looking at, but the waist size

  55. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    It’s nonsense to think Victoria Beckham and Sienna Miller and Kate Moss or on the cover of mags because the media has an agenda. They put them on the cover because they sell.

    Kismet, I’ve been in lots of conversations about this issue so I’m not exactly new to the issue.

    Yes, it’s true that putting beautiful people on the front cover sells more. But again you’re being quite simplistic.

    There are ways to challenge what is seen as ‘beautiful’ that doesn’t necessarily apply to what goes on the front page of a beauty mag like Marie Claire or Asiana.

    Your response, in another context, is like saying that many people are racist and happy to be racist so we should not challenge those attitudes or stigmatise open racism.

  56. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:23 pm  

    (just for the record, it is a dangerous product and i wouldn’t recommend it to any human being, but I work with and for Asian women and a lot of them don’t give a toss if a beauty product is bad for you or unethical or whatever, as long as it does the trick. Guess you could say women, by and large, have the same attitude to beauty products as blokes have about drink and drugs. For men, it’s worth it as long as it’s fun, for girls it’s worth it as long as she looks good. Sweeping generalisation? Well, yeah, this is the media we’re talking about)

  57. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

    ‘There are ways to challenge what is seen as ‘beautiful’ that doesn’t necessarily apply to what goes on the front page of a beauty mag like Marie Claire or Asiana.’

    Of course there are. But blaming magazines or an advert is pointless because they’re both out to sell and they sell because people buy

    You’re talking about changing attitides and of course I agree it needs changing. What I’m pointing out is that you won’t get that change through a fickle outlet such a girlie mag because once a mag starts preaching, it loses readers

    Teaching our children that going into the sun isn’t bad because it’ll mean she won’t get a proper husband, now that’s change worth making

  58. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    Your response, in another context, is like saying that many people are racist and happy to be racist so we should not challenge those attitudes or stigmatise open racism.

    Sunny, you are comparing the desire to be beautiful with racism? One is a obsession with self, the other with others?

    Humanist values would build a valid objection to the former, but not to the later.

    The only argument you could possibly build against this is on grounds of health. But if a product that came out tomorrow that was 100% healthy, what argument would you make?

    This is an instance of personal freedom, would you seek to limit it? Or is only offensive to you if a brown girl would like to be whiter?

    TFI

  59. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

    Fact of the matter is: when a mag like Marie Claire does an experiment like having two different fromt covers for the same issue a few years back (one with sophie dahl in her rubenesque form, and the other featuring a superslim pamela anderson… the one featuring pamela anderson outsold the former by miles!)

    One could argue that Marie Claire was only highlighting the industry’s effective marketing. It doesn’t necessarily point to a cause.

    It’s nonsense to think Victoria Beckham and Sienna Miller and Kate Moss or on the cover of mags because the media has an agenda. They put them on the cover because they sell.

    But at one time, this beauty ideal was not the same. Forty years ago, Marilyn Monroe-voluptuousness was the beauty standard. If public perceptions of beauty changed independently of the media, how did this happen?

    I don’t think there is any conceivable alternate to media influence, no matter how often the very same media will “test” the phenomenon.

  60. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:54 pm  

    As a former advertising exec can I make a few points:-

    Women want this product because they want to lighten their skin.

    I doubt that it is to do with any social engineering, or shame in being dark, even though that was how these products originated, it is more about what is now perceived as beauty. Whoever said that they don’t want to look European, but a paler Asian is right.

    This is actually no different from women choosing a different hair colour, and all women of all races do that.

    And anyone who thinks that women dye their hair, lose weight, dress in a certain style, and now, attempt to alter their skin colour don’t do it to attract men or ‘get a proper husband’ (I loved that btw Kismet, with you I assume they’d get an improper one :-) ), they do it to be cool and impress their female friends.

    Didn’t anybody ever tell you?

  61. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

    Zahed, forty years ago size 12 was in just like in baroque times balloon ladies were in and the mags/paintings of the time reflected it just as the mags/ads of the time mirror today’s ideal of beauty, created by the women who live in it. Other than that, everything TFI and Chairy just said…

  62. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

    Zahed – ‘Beauty’ changes. Twenty years before Marilyn Monroe, the ‘boyish’ figure was considered the ideal, and ten years before that ‘well upholstered’ women were considered beautiful.

  63. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    Ok, but no one has still answered my question about being “scientifically formulated for Asian skin.” if it’s all about the right to be paler, why don’t they say “scientifically formulated for darker skin”? We know “Asian” skin is pretty much every shade of brown there is.

    It’s the racial aspect that bothers me. Keep race out of it, just like the tanning industry does (unless one considers “white” a race).

  64. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:07 pm  

    Zahed – Yeah, I agree with that.

    Anyway, from a professional point of view, it’s a crap ad. Cheap and nasty.

  65. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    Zahed, it’s an ad targeting a certain type of buyer and while journos love their cryptic puns, ads sell by telling it like it is.

    Oi, you! You want this.

    It’s a sad but true fact that it’s Asians they’re talking about because, by and large, black ladies are fiercely proud of the colour of their skin

  66. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    PS. “scientifically formulated for Asian skin.”

    Utter tosh. Ads lie. Hold the front page etc

  67. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:17 pm  

    If public perceptions of beauty changed independently of the media, how did this happen?

    I like a good conspiracy theory, and here is one for this.

    Today fashion designers are frequency gay men, and what do they preffer? boys! So they make clothes to fit girls with a boy-ish shape (think Cammaran Daiz), therefore all fashion magazines feature ultra skinny girls.

    Its not a good conspiracy theory in my opinon, as I firmly believe that for a good conspiracy theory you need throw in a few aliens.

    Fashions for body shape and skin tones do change over time, but being “good looking” doesn’t. People don’t say “square jaws are really in this year”, although if cosmetic surgery gets good enough we might.

    In my grandmothers time, tanned skin was bad because it looked like you worked in the fields all summer. Then foriegn holidays became the rage and a tan was a way to boast that you had been away on holiday. In Africa fat women are desirable to point people force feed their daughters to fatten them up, this because in a world of skinny people being fat is a symbol of wealth.

    Now being skinny in todays society shows that you can afford gym membership, can afford good food, hang out with other skinny people and look great in a LBD for those cocktail parties.

    TFI

  68. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    Sunny, you are comparing the desire to be beautiful with racism?

    That is because these ads are based on the racist perceptions that dark skin is inherently bad.

    What I’m pointing out is that you won’t get that change through a fickle outlet such a girlie mag because once a mag starts preaching, it loses readers

    This is rather rubbish too since most magazines, Asian and white, take ethical stances on issues and try and inform their readers with moral viewpoints. Are you going to say that condeming racism is preaching to your audience and you wouldn’t do it?

    The more salient point is that Asian magazines are simply too afraid to confront this issue because money comes from advertising such products.

  69. Soso — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

    I dunno. White people are just as unhappy as everyone else with the colour of their skin.

    I’m sure that skin-bleaching agents are harmful to health, but no more so than white people getting dark tans and then dying from melanoma.

    Sunny says: Secondly it perpetuates the idea (as does stuff like ‘fair and lovely’) that lighter skin is better and that there is a ‘treatment’ out there

    Yes, there’s the “fair and lovely” aspect of things, and then there’s the “tall, DARK and handsome” angle, as well.

    Thousands of caucasian males die of melanoma every year attempting to attain the “dark” in *tall, dark and handsome*.

    So would Sunny consider ads for suntanning lotion featuring bronzed caucasians racist?

    Hair is a similar probleme. Years ago I read that roughly half of all African American women visit hair-salons to have their coif straightened.

    Conversly, half the caucasian women visiting hair-salons do so in order to have their locks frizzed and curled.

    Sometimes you just can’t win.

    Much ado ’bout nuddin’

  70. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    Ms X-treme:

    “Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to sit there and whinge about that advertising when in reality our mum’s are out their looking for the lightest, most beautiful daughter-in-law”

    yep. so come on lads, go tell your mums you’re not marrying no ‘wheatish’ lasses..( whilst writing to the advertising standards as well) only ‘dusky’ will do ( heh he)

  71. Ravi Naik — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    I think the media industry has a lot to account for perpetuating one standard of beauty. Let’s take Bollywood for a moment, which more than an industry is actually a genre since they produce the same type of movie 100 times a year with a few notable exceptions.

    I believe that there is a lot of lazyness in the industry to try something different, so they play it safe. It requires less creativity, less work with scripts, just producing the same old tired thing. Or perhaps there is a perception that Indian audiences are not that sophisticated to have an intelligent story without the usual funfare. The use of light skinned actresses is just one sympthom of playing it safe.

    Of course Hollywood also perpetuated a standard of beauty, among other concepts such as the the perfect family and so on. And these were challenged succesfully by activists over the past decades.

  72. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

    No Sunny. Wrong. If you want to confuse advertisements with editorial line then you have no idea how fashion/beauty magazines work, Asian or not. This bizarre notion that magazines can change the world is the stuff of a first year uni politician’s fantasy. Magazines of this ilk are fluff and target people who are into fluff. Show me a magazine that strives to change perceptions via their advertorial content and I’ll show you a pretentious publisher out of a job

  73. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

    That is because these ads are based on the racist perceptions that dark skin is inherently bad.

    Do you instead feel that dark skin is inherently good and that white skin is inherently bad? Therefore fake tan advertisements aren’t racist, but skin whitening products are?

    TFI

  74. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    Ravi, re: bollywood/ hollywood. the media reports on what people like. People who buy mags like their men and women to be adonis/angels. It’s about aspiration. Maybe you get your inspiration from Toni Morrison and Patti Smith. That doesn’t make you a better spokesperson for women than the one that gets her inspiration from In Style

  75. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    So would Sunny consider ads for suntanning lotion featuring bronzed caucasians racist?

    It’s as Bikhair pointed out, becoming darker is borne out of fashion, not a feeling that being dark is being inherently inferior (an attitude that pervades Asian society unfortunately).

    Kismet: Show me a magazine that strives to change perceptions via their advertorial content and I’ll show you a pretentious publisher out of a job

    So are you telling me magagines, even fashion mags, never cover serious issues that inform, educate and challenge their readers?

  76. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    Kismet – My career was press, advertising and music business, and you are the voice of knowledge, good sense and reason on this thread.

  77. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    “So are you telling me magagines, even fashion mags, never cover serious issues that inform, educate and challenge their readers?”

    Editorial content.

    Not advertorial content.

    Just as a right-on women rule mag like Marie Claire will run a pretty degrading Opium ad, so will an Asian mag run a skin-lightening product

    The editorial content in both will say, respectively, ‘no to size zero’ and ‘be proud opf your dark skin’

    There isn’t a single successful magazine that says no to a fashion or beauty advert

    Sell out? Sure. Magazines are in the business of selling…

  78. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    Sunny – but only in the most superficial magazine selling way.

    Have you ever read Cosmo, Elle or Marie Clare?

  79. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    Kismet – They don’t get it.

    Sunny – If I were running a really big beauty campaign and spending a lot of money, let me assure you that I could have a certain influence on editorial content if I wanted to.

  80. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

    It’s as Bikhair pointed out, becoming darker is borne out of fashion, not a feeling that being dark is being inherently inferior (an attitude that pervades Asian society unfortunately).

    Does it? Are you sure you aren’t both talking about your own complex and issue?

    Quick roll call, does anyone else on this board feel that there black \ brown arse is inferior to my big fat white one?

    TFI

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    “does anyone else on this board feel that there black \ brown arse is inferior to my big fat white one?”

    Er, no

  82. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    well i would consider it similar to the fashion industry and zero size models.

  83. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    Do you instead feel that dark skin is inherently good and that white skin is inherently bad?

    No, but that’s not the point I’m making.

    Kismat: Editorial content.

    Not advertorial content.

    I was referring to editorially challenging these perceptions.

    The point is also Kismet, that if there was a sufficiently strong campaign against whitening up of models, or only using light ones, then even fashion magazines can be forced to change their policy.

    Although saying that, Dove did quite well out of the ‘real women’ campaign, and John Lewis is now also jumping on that bandwagon.

    The only problem here is that such ads are not seen as racist (as I would argue they are), because if they were, one could easily accuse Asian and mainstream fashion magazines of perpetuating soft racism.

  84. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    Utter tosh. Ads lie. Hold the front page etc

    You can exaggerate, sure. Or proclaim a subjective point of view (“We’re the best!”). But this is fraud at the very least. How can a claim like this be made when “Asian” (as Brits know it) are not genetically singular and “Asian” (as the rest of the world knows it) can mean anyone from Russia to Japan?

    If I were unscrupulous, I could make some ££ from this. :-p

  85. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    “I was referring to editorially challenging these perceptions.”

    That’s a different thing and no argument there. I was (for once) sticking to the title of the thread and offering justifications for the advert

    It’s nice that you think Dove and John Lewis aren’t flashes in the pan, but seeing as they didn’t ban the size zero model at the London Fashion Week just the other day despite all the controversy means you probably shouldn’t hold your breath to see any visible shift in the way fashion and beauty is marketed…

  86. Kismet Hardy — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    “If I were unscrupulous, I could make some ££ from this”

    welcome to the world of advertising…

  87. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    and offering justifications for the advert

    I’d characterise that as excuses for an ad that is patently false. And that is a good enough reason to complain against it. Just because there is a chance that women may import products from abroad doesn’t mean companies here shouldn’t follow a standard.

    And you still haven’t offered reasoning as to why such advertising cannot be characterised as sickening, even if some people are foolish enough to buy into the idea.

  88. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    yep zahed, but same goes for a heck of a lot of ads out there – they are all fraud pretty much. i daresay the Advertising Standards authority should be flooded with complaints.

  89. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    note the writing in arabic..heh.. so the ad is aimed at asian skin and arab skin

  90. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    And you still haven’t offered reasoning as to why such advertising cannot be characterised as sickening, even if some people are foolish enough to buy into the idea.

    Let me back up Sunny by saying that if this discriminatory ideal is a part of “our” culture, then f£$k that aspect of our culture. I’ll do what I can to ensure it doesn’t pass on to the next generation.

  91. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    Er, no

    Good Kismit, glad to hear it.

    The point is also Kismet, that if there was a sufficiently strong campaign against whitening up of models, or only using light ones, then even fashion magazines can be forced to change their policy.

    Well done Sunny! I love your “progressive” attempts to help us look past religion (what people choose to think) and instead focus on dividing up society on grounds of ethicity (what people are born into).

    I think your suggested campaign will really help social coeshion, racial harmony and help bring people together – NOT.

    It’s as Bikhair pointed out, becoming darker is borne out of fashion, not a feeling that being dark is being inherently inferior (an attitude that pervades Asian society unfortunately).

    Validate this statement. I’m not Asian and I find it VERY difficult to take this on face value.

    TFI

  92. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:19 pm  

    and instead focus on dividing up society on grounds of ethicity (what people are born into).

    Who is dividing up people on the basis of ethnicity? I’m merely saying that we should protest against ads that make women insecure about the colour of their own skin.

    Your silly argument is like saying that if I ran a campaign against ads that perpetuated the idea that women can only look beautiful if they wear as less as possible or cover themselves up completely, then I’m trying to divide people up on the basis of beauty. It’s absurd. I merely want people to happy with their skin colour and challenge this myth that lighter skin makes you a more beautiful person. Similarly, being darker doesn’t make you any more beautiful either.

  93. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:47 pm  

    I merely want people to happy with their skin colour and challenge this myth that lighter skin makes you a more beautiful person.

    But Sunny, what if it isn’t a myth? I’ve a new girlfriend, she is blonde and her skin is several tones lighter than mine and I find it very attractive, does me seeing beauty in her fair skin make me racist?

    Surely you are making the assumption that an Asian girl whitens her skin to be more “white”, as in racial, as opposed to more “pale” yet Asian?

    I merely want people to happy with their skin colour and challenge this myth that lighter skin makes you a more beautiful person.

    Sure, and I’d like women to worry less about their figure, bags and shoes … I’m not suddenly going to be more attracted to fat women carrying an ASDA bag while wearing crappy trainers.

    Its not going to happen and people should be left alone to dress or paint themselves as they see fit.

    There is no racial angle to this, just sexual preference which you cannot legislate. For thousands of years before any of this PC nonsense came about, fairer skin has been considered to be attractive.

    It is nonsense to discuss this inconjuction with tanning products really, as the ideal is to be blonde WITH a tan.

    Just look how well blue eye’d blondes used to sell in Arabia on the slave markets.

    It could be that we humans are genetically programmed to prefer lighter shade of skin which is completely irrespective of race.

    TFI

  94. Soso — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    Sunny, SOME caucasians go to such great lengths and risks to obtain a darker complexion….24/7… that the term “fashion trend” just doesn’t cover it.
    For some whites, having a darker skin is an all-consuming OBSESSION.

    What is Britian’s tanning salon business worth each year? How many light-skinned Britians have been diagnosed with melanoma in just the past 12 months? How many will die?

    I’d wager far more than those South Asians who use skin-lightening agents from time to time.

    You seem to have trouble with the idea that whites, too, can have skin-colour issues much like anyone else.

    Caucasians feel just as much angst, and have just as many fits of self-loathing as any other *racial* group.

    So please, don’t put us up on a pedestal.

  95. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:56 pm  

    It could be that we humans are genetically programmed to prefer lighter shade of skin which is completely irrespective of race.

    You are begging a question which I already asked earlier… if race has nothing to do with it, why is there a “scientific formulation” for Asian skin? Why not just “darker” skin? There is absolutely a racial angle to this.

    The fact that no one would pull this stunt on black Africans or Carribeans is telling…

  96. William — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    Even if it could be proved that the demand for skin lightening products was initiated by the public, by responding the advertising industry become part of a composite cycle which fosters those desires. Some people are influenced by adverts. If they weren’t the cause at first they then become part of the cause by exploiting it.

    A couple of decades ago it was put about by the advertising industry that if black people were used in ads it would reduce sales. This in fact has turned out to be untrue. We can assume that at the time they believed they were just “conforming to the market”.

  97. ally — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    Has anyone else wondered if there is a human tendency to want to ‘revert to the mean’ (as they say in statistics.)

    Speaking as someone whose skin colour is capable of changing from Persil to Lobster and back again – with no options in between – I used to feel enormously self-conscious about my skin colour. Maybe even more so than about my ginger hair, big ears and buck teeth.

    Who could ever have imagined I would grow into the legendary sex god you see before you today, eh?

    In all seriousness, while I appreciate the issues around paler skin in South Asian culture, I think the comparison to cancer-causing tanning salons is closest. Object to it on health grounds, but don’t absolve the customers of their own responsibility not to buy into such crap.

  98. Sunny — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    It could be that we humans are genetically programmed to prefer lighter shade of skin which is completely irrespective of race.

    Soso, this is deeper than your simplistic analysis. Anyone growing up in an Asian family, or living in India, can easily testify to the idea that this is a very racialised construct. Darker skin people are seen to be inferior, less attractive, and lower caste. It isn’t merely about individual preference.

    I haven’t justified the tanning business in any way.

  99. ally — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:27 pm  

    zahed: “The fact that no one would pull this stunt on black Africans or Carribeans is telling…”

    Actually skin lightening products have been heavily marketed to African-Caribbean women all over the world for decades. This very debate has been held a million times by black women too. (Not that it doesn’t warrant another airing)

  100. sonia — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

    it’s been marketed to asian women in the ‘asian world’ the world over for many decades..

  101. douglas clark — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

    If you go to:

    http://www.pharmaclinix.com/lightenex-cream.php

    and you go to the bottom of that page, there is an advert for:

    http://www.professionalindians.com

    where you can ‘meet the elite’, allegedly. So tying status into skin colour seems to be an advertising ‘given’?

  102. Soso — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

    It could be that we humans are genetically programmed to prefer lighter shade of skin which is completely irrespective of race.

    Soso, this is deeper than your simplistic analysis

    I never offered an analysis, just some observations about white people having as many hang-ups about their skin tone as anyone else.

    Observations you reject out of hand.

  103. Ravi Naik — on 24th April, 2007 at 6:55 pm  

    “Ravi, re: bollywood/ hollywood. the media reports on what people like.”

    There should be a balance between running a business and the responsability to the well-being of society. Case in point successful businesses such as: misogynist rap music, size 0 models, junk food. Businesses cannot operate like whores.

    “Anyone growing up in an Asian family, or living in India, can easily testify to the idea that this is a very racialised construct. Darker skin people are seen to be inferior, less attractive, and lower caste. It isn’t merely about individual preference.”

    I disagree. First of all the South of India is technically more developed than the North. Second, Indians are highly mixed. Hence, it is very common for siblings to come out with different shades of brown. I am dark and look Indian, whereas my sister is very light-skinned and looks southern European. Surely we can’t be from different races.

    And third, you can’t figure out caste by looking at skin colour. There are high-caste southern Indians who are darker than low-caste northern Indians. I take it that the difference of skin colour comes precisely because low-caste Indians work long hours under the sun.

    I don’t think it is right to bring ‘race’ into this matter. Not to be politically correct, but am I the only one who finds beautiful and ugly women regardless of races and skin colour? Skin colour cannot be the only factor of attraction and beauty.

  104. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

    Just a thought, is it only Asian women who are judged by the lightness of their skin?

  105. sabinaahmed — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:08 pm  

    Chairwoman Hi

    Yes it is a big issue in Asian society,women are considered attractive and desireable if they are fair. Am not sure if this started when the ruling classes were white or if the Indian psyche likes lighter skin. But there is a health issue,these creams have mercury in them to break down the skin pigment.Hence they were banned in Europe,last year the BBC`s Asian network did a report on their side effects,as the Asian community is the biggest consumer of them.I have also written and said in radio phone-ins about their side effects.If these are now openly advertised/sold they must have removed/reduced the harmfull ingredients.
    But women have always suffered for their looks sadly,in the Victorian times women used powders to look whiter ,which contained arsenic and led,and the bone corsets which restricted blood flow,and made them faint, and that was in Europe.
    You look at any advertisments from Asian families for a bride,they always begin with;”fair,tall and slim”!
    Recently one of my relatives,who has not seen me for a long time, took one look at me and shook her head in dismay!She said what a pity that i have lived in the Uk most of my life, and i was as dark as i have always been!”What a shame” she said that i could`nt find anything to make myself look fairer. I rest my case.

  106. Chairwoman — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:11 pm  

    But what about the guys, Sabina, are they allowed to be dark, or are pale men considered classier?

  107. sabinaahmed — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    Ah the guys, their selection is dependent on how much they earn. A man`s looks are not considered very important by the parents before they marry their daughters to them.But they WILL pick a fair bride for their sons!

  108. El Cid — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:30 pm  

    Hey Sunny #99, so it’s all a hangup from the aryan invasion 3-5,000 years ago?
    Hmmm. I dunno, I guess you don’t want people to feel ashamed about the way they look but there has to come a point when you have to say, for effing’s sake, pull yourself together, who cares?
    Give me a darker skinned indian babe over a talcum powdered one any day. On the other hand, maybe not. Depends on my mood (and marital status)
    I don’t think even Ramiie has hungups about Beyonce preferring European hair.
    Why don’t we just put it down to dumb fashion.

  109. zahed — on 24th April, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

    Actually skin lightening products have been heavily marketed to African-Caribbean women all over the world for decades. This very debate has been held a million times by black women too.

    But in the case of Afro-Carribeans and African Americans, this debate has gone full circle. In the ’50′s and ’60′s, lye-straighted hair (for both men and women) was the norm. Twenty years ago, Spike Lee satirised the issue in “School Daze” (could you imagine a Bollywood equivalent poking fun at desi Wannabees and Jigaboos?).

    As African consciousness was raised, attitudes towards skin colour changed as well (though not completely). Sure, you can still buy skin lightening products discreetly in Afro-Carribean stores. But I think it has become more socially unacceptable to refer to a (light) skin-colour beauty standard for that community, at least to the extent that a large scale campaign would feature prominently on London city buses.

    Again, I think there would be a huge uproar for a similarly marketed product aimed at Afro-Carribeans, or a lye straightener “scientifically formuated for African hair.” That community has come a long way in this regard and we (Asians) should follow.

  110. Ms_Xtreme — on 24th April, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

    Why though Zahed? Again the problem isn’t with the marketing of these products. The problem is with the mentality of our people. Do you know how busy my beautician mate is threading asian’s faces to rid the dark hair? Some of her customers even break out in rashes for a few days, but at least they’re lighter.

    The change you talk of will take generations to overcome.

  111. Ms_Xtreme — on 24th April, 2007 at 9:15 pm  

    *generations to come by

  112. Rumbold — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

    The reason that a lighter skin tone was preferred (in Europe at least), was nothing to do with race, but rather class. If you were tanned it demonstrated that you had to work outside and therefore were a member of the lower orders.

    Perhaps in India, it is partly to do with the Persian influence introduced by the early Mughals (Babur to Jahangir), and their ideal of beauty.

  113. Kismet Hardy — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:55 am  

    Apropos to not a lot, I’ll tell you what advert makes me sick enough to make my dark skin crawl and run away. Those ‘to be continued’ MOD adverts where they show poor British troops getting in danger by child terrorists fooling them into danger with a football.

    No beauty there

  114. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:27 am  

    Again, I think there would be a huge uproar for a similarly marketed product aimed at Afro-Carribeans, or a lye straightener “scientifically formuated for African hair.” That community has come a long way in this regard and we (Asians) should follow.

    Except the advert didn’t say “scientifically formuated for Asian hair.” did it?

    Your equivalant would be “scientifically formuated for African skin.” which you wouldn’t see, instead you would see “scientifically formuated for dark skin.” maybe even “for the darkest skin”.

    Its just a storm in a polictically correct tea cup.

    TFI

  115. Ravi Naik — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    “Ah the guys, their selection is dependent on how much they earn. A man`s looks are not considered very important by the parents before they marry their daughters to them.But they WILL pick a fair bride for their sons!”

    This is proof that it is not “racial”, but rather a feminine concept of beauty – because it does not extend to men. As was said before, the standard of beauty changes over time. So I don’t think it is really a case of being genetically programmed to find one property more attractive than other.

    The Chinese not long ago thought that women’s beauty was on her small feet. Light skin in Japan is considered a feminine trait hence the geisha makeup, but the new female generation is breaking that standard by tanning, which has been popularised by styles such as Kogal and Ganguro.

  116. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:25 pm  

    This is proof that it is not “racial”, but rather a feminine concept of beauty – because it does not extend to men.

    It says nothing of the sort. The attraction of a male is more tied to his ability to support a family, where a womans role is providing good DNA for the children. Just look at any wealthy male and at his model wife – would Mick Jaggers children be good looking without his wifes DNA?

    Equally there are instances were a wealthy woman will take a good looking younger man, in these instances the stereotype for him is bronzed, blue eye’d and muscular.

    The Chinese not long ago thought that women’s beauty was on her small feet. Light skin in Japan is considered a feminine trait hence the geisha makeup, but the new female generation is breaking that standard by tanning, which has been popularised by styles such as Kogal and Ganguro.

    Actually no, it was about breaking the feet and how it made them walk afterwards, it caused them walked straight upright and appeared more fraglie and thus feminine. Also because the undersole feet had never been walked on the skin was very soft, when both feet where brought together they would make a ‘second vagina’ for a man pleasure.

    So not exactly the same as looking at a girl feet in a flip flops and saying, “gosh your feet are tiny! lets make babies”.

    That said, it is well known that the most flattering thing a girl can have for a man is small hands so maybe there is a connection there.

    TFI

  117. Ravi Naik — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:56 pm  

    “It says nothing of the sort. The attraction of a male is more tied to his ability to support a family, where a womans role is providing good DNA for the children. “

    My point is that if it was ‘racial’, then people would choose partners with the same physical characteristics, such as skin colour. Which is not the case in Indian society. I am also not sure what good DNA means in the context of skin colour.

    “Actually no, it was about breaking the feet and how it made them walk afterwards, it caused them walked straight upright and appeared more fraglie and thus feminine.”

    If that was the only case, then surely women could walk “feminine” without having their feet deformed. The covered small feet was seen a good aesthetic by the chinese not long ago. I lived in China recentely, and I remember the case of an european artist who was comissioned to make a statue of a chinese woman, and guess where he went wrong accoding to the local population? :)

  118. Buria q — on 28th April, 2007 at 9:54 am  

    There’s ample evidence that there are wage differentials between people of paler and deeper skintones. There are material consequences for existing as a person of color in a white supremacist society. So all this talk of artificially tanning and skin bleaching being “OMG! exactly teh same!!!11″ is such bullshit. No, it’s not the damn same.

    Some people really love to divorce themselves from their social contexts.

  119. Buria q — on 28th April, 2007 at 9:56 am  

    The motivations between the two cosmetics are so not the same.

  120. Buria q — on 28th April, 2007 at 9:57 am  

    Ugh, i meant to say “behind using the two cosmetics”.

  121. B — on 3rd May, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    Right people! You need to go and read ‘The Beauty Myth’ by Naomi Wolf.

    Whilst it only addresses the beauty debate from a middle-class white American’s woman’s perspective, it still manages to make some very valid points.

    I did my dissertation on beauty- basically what we regard as beauty today has been shaped by politics (it is gendered and heavily influenced by whiteness). Anyway, I can’t explain it all here- go read the book it’s hugely enlightening.

  122. ManishP — on 8th May, 2007 at 11:32 am  

    Did you know that nearly 40% of the Indian Cosmetic Industry Products in India, are used by well, Men! Though popular brands like ‘Fair and Lovely’ wont mention it, they know for a fact that the user base in Men is at least equal if not larger, than women.

    Ironically, they have a new product now called: Fair and Handsome :-) you guessed it right: For Men!

  123. Jeevan — on 19th May, 2007 at 1:59 am  

    I read the Beauty Myth, although it was insightful on the inner workings of the beauty industry wow was it depressing. It made me feel guilty to even look in the mirror and care about my appearance, at all. – Trust me it would be harmful to others if i didn’t look in the mirror before I left the house.

    Asians have been obsessed with light skins for centuries and will continue to buy these ridiculous products. The beauty industry may as well have been designed for South Asians, seriously superficial.

    For example, when someone tries to matchmake, “oh yes, he very tall, fair, white white skin, light eyes…” blah, blah, blah. “Think of how fair your children will be..” blaaaaah.

  124. Brown n Beautiful — on 19th May, 2007 at 10:19 pm  

    Is this advert offesnive on many levels especially as the model appears to be of a completely different racial group.

    The model used is the daughter of the woman who “makes” the products. I met them at the Zee carnival and she is much darker than in the advert – a bit of airbrushing probably. The woman herself has pretty bad skin, not good advert for her stuff.

    I have contacted the pharmacy to find out more. A lady called Ana told me that they are buying the products and selling it as their own. They could answer anything more about being for scientifically made for asians.

    This makes sense as the woman selling this lightenex is only a pharmacist. She must be doing a Kate Moss or Kylie and sticking her name on the bottles!!

    It is wrong to make dark skin light – WHY? And they say there products have a bleach in them. This is so wrong today. We should be proud of our colour whatever it is.

    Do not go near these unless you are sure your skin will be safe. I have seen other things that bleach the skin are illegal.

  125. Beautiful n Brown — on 20th May, 2007 at 8:12 pm  

    correction to my post no.126 about Pharmaclinix Offensive advertising.

    People at Pharmaclinix could NOT answer my questions on being made for asians.

    The girl there said they are buying them in and sticking their name on maybe that is the reason.

    Would be good to hear if you know more.

  126. B — on 20th May, 2007 at 9:11 pm  

    Jeevan, cool, you’ve read it. Lol about it making you feel guilty! I had to write my dissertation on it and had to read even more depressing (but interesting!) books like Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’..

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