Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too


by Sunny
12th December, 2010 at 10:28 am    

This skin whitening cream ad is about the most absurd I’ve seen in quite a while (it’s Indian).

Rough translation: Woman refers to other woman’s face and gives her the cream. She has magical transformation. Comes back to the same situation at a future moment in time (logic isn’t necessary here), goes to the desk and the guy says: ‘the foreign passport desk is there‘. She says something like: ‘oh whatever do you mean?‘.

Yuck. via Sunny Ali


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  2. James

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  3. Jonathan Haynes

    Oh my God, this isn't a joke?! RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  4. Paul Gilbey

    RT @sunny_hundal http://bit.ly/gBBN1L <<< white women darken their skin, dark women whiten theirs. 'trading places' was ahead of it's time


  5. CathElliott

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  6. Hanna Thomas

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  7. Brintha Gowrishankar

    Cringe!! RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  8. Claudia Crawley

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  9. Armstrongtwit

    Pickled Politics » Apparently skin whitening creams make life … http://bit.ly/gOCOQs


  10. M Hughes

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  11. Fi Drums

    Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L – ad should be banned


  12. MissJ

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Apparently skin whitening creams make life easier for you too http://bit.ly/gBBN1L


  13. Naadir Jeewa

    I don't use the term "self-hating" lightly, but there's no other way to describe this Indian skin whitening advert: http://bit.ly/hBKLc4


  14. Yssel & Son's

    Pickled Politics » Apparently skin whitening creams make life … http://bit.ly/hB8kI7




  1. Ness — on 12th December, 2010 at 10:41 am  

    Holy Shit!
    She put it on her hair, too!

  2. Kisan — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:07 pm  

    Travelled on Indigo Air the other day. They have a job advert calling for girls with ‘clear complexion’ which I thought is probably code for light skin as basically all of their hostesses seem to be of the light skinned variety.

    ——————-

    The Google ad for skin whitening cream below this post is super classy too…..

  3. Ravi Naik — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:16 pm  

    Is the video a parody? What a disgrace. This is a racist video against Indians – not to mention false advertisement, which basically promises to change ones race. Why are these ads even allowed in India?

  4. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    Updated translation:

    Woman One: Alright darkie?

    Woman Two (looks in mirror): Bloody ‘eck!

    Man at Passport desk: Foreigners go over there.

    Woman Two: Can’t you tell I’m Indian? My hair is blowing despite the complete absence of wind.

  5. Dr Paul — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:48 pm  

    Can anyone explain the rationale behind skin lightening?

  6. Kisan — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:58 pm  

    #3, Ravi, obviously you know little of life in modern day India. Being fair is mass market. Fair and Lovely sells hundreds of crores of rupees. Marriage ads often mention skin shade. Racist comments are dime a dozen and political correctness isn’t on the agenda yet.

  7. Kisan — on 12th December, 2010 at 1:02 pm  

    See the disgusting racism of anti-imperialist Imran Khan and remember it next time you see the creep mouthing off in the media:

    http://khawerkhan.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/imran-khans-racism/

  8. KB Player — on 12th December, 2010 at 1:33 pm  

    I go to a shop which is run by Pakistanis and which sells Pakistani food (great boil in the bag dahl, for instance). It also sells skin lightening cream.

  9. Konnu — on 12th December, 2010 at 2:01 pm  

    Count the Asian marriage adverts that include the description ‘fair’. Then count how many say ‘dark’. Answer: lots vs 0. Drives me mad, how does this get stuck into people’s heads?

  10. Ravi Naik — on 12th December, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

    I consider lighting your skin the same as tanning. Fair skin doesn’t make you European, just like a tanned European doesn’t make him black or Indian. Race – as we know it – is more than skin colour.

    Except that this ad is racist, because the woman in question clearly changes her race- and it is explicit that looking European is far better than looking Indian. This is Third-World mentality.

  11. sainih — on 12th December, 2010 at 2:48 pm  

    India seriously needs a proactive regulator like ofcom. Think of the impact such ads can have on young impressionable minds.

  12. Don — on 12th December, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    In the ‘before’ part she was a fairly good-looking young Indian woman. In the ‘after’ she looked like a simpering blonde idiot.

    Apparently the companies don’t always get away with these adverts.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1556188/Indias-hue-and-cry-over-paler-skin.html

  13. damon — on 12th December, 2010 at 3:50 pm  

    I watched that wondering how they get away with it.
    In the UK, even though there is a market for these products, that ad being shown on TV would be met by derision and even public protest or ”direct action” against the company responsible for it.

    I wondered about the gulf in that kind of thinking between the west and a place like India (somewhat smugly), before remembering some of our own howlers from not that long ago.

    The Singapore Girl ads were appallingly sexist. I thought this one was a spoof when I saw it as it’s more like a trailer for the Emmanuell soft core porn films.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzQxnbj3Js

  14. Vikrant — on 12th December, 2010 at 4:14 pm  

    Okay a duh-ty little secret… Indians are probably the most racist people on earth. Yes we are racist towards, foreigners, those “darkies” from down south or “chinks” from the north east. Heck even our own family. My gran, would lament about how I (her grandson) am 10 shades darker than her. lol… For people who wonder how they get away with adverts like that on national television, India doesnt have a culture of political correctness. If you arent a part of the North Indian middle class you are fair game for mockery.

  15. Don — on 12th December, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

    Damon,

    The media and the cosmetic/ fashion industry still push prescriptive ideas of beauty with often negative results for those sucked in to the idea of the ideal. Eating disorders, that sort of thing. We just don’t recognise it as iniquitous as quickly because we, often, buy into it too. Feminists point it out, but they shouldn’t really need to.

    As the Telegraph article shows these ideas are challenged in India, but these challenges have as much difficulty in gaining traction as do challenges to the idea of a specific desirable shape.

    As to the Singapore Girl point, I see what you mean but back then airline advertising was largely about eroticising the female cabin crew.

    10cc were referencing an actual National Airlines advert here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xHPua90vo8

  16. KB Player — on 12th December, 2010 at 4:50 pm  

    In the ‘before’ part she was a fairly good-looking young Indian woman. In the ‘after’ she looked like a simpering blonde idiot.

    Yeah, it’s gruesome to think that the ideal of beauty is to look like Paris Hilton.

  17. halima — on 12th December, 2010 at 5:39 pm  

    Gruesome, too, that the idea of beauty is to look the same all the time.

    It’s quite funny hanging around white friends in China for instance, where the skin whitening thing is ever so popular. Let’s not forget that Clinique (and others like it) have their biggest market in Asia and a large share of the profit is drawn from skin whitening products.

    Here is a typical conversation at the market.

    Halima at Silk Market with white Scottish friend:

    Han Chinese sales rep says to my friend: “Your skin is so beautiful, so white, so beautiful, so white, my skin so ugly, so black”.

    I never saw so much pain on my friend’s face.

  18. KJB — on 12th December, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

    That is one of the most fucking disgusting things I have seen in a long time. Why didn’t he just go ahead and call her ‘Memsahib,’ for fuck’s sake? The tagline should be ‘Bleach your face-skin, lose your brain-cells,’ since she seemed to have turned into a simpering moron as a result of her nine-times-fairness.

    Fucking Indians. I am extremely light-skinned, and it is beyond pathetic that people might consider me beautiful or more marriage-worthy because of it. It is depressing that my FACE is a political statement. At least this shitty advert doesn’t try to pretend that female solidarity exists in India – note the friend’s jaw-dropped envy after her transformation.

    Rumbold – Hah, brilliant!

    Didn’t 9x used to be an Indian TV channel? How bloody weird.

  19. damon — on 12th December, 2010 at 7:20 pm  

    Vikrant @14, you know that was the now banned Reza’s kind of line?
    But if it’s true then it’s true.
    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has said this about her own family growing up in Uganda.

    Racism and the truth about the Ugandan Asians

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/racism-and-the-truth-about-the-ugandan-asians-638821.html

    Don, that’s a great 10CC song and I remember the original airline ads I think.
    And of course that ‘Beauty Myth’ thing has been exposed for decades … but how far are countries like India and China behind? Or is it almost impossible when you have societies where there is such inequality, and where the educated midle class see no point in trying to make common cause with the poor – because it seems so hopeless?
    Unlike middle class students protesting in London this week about fees, who could feel common cause with the working class kids who turned up concerned about their EMA grants.

    My guess is that it can’t exist in India yet, as people are still just mostly looking out for themselves. The inequality is too much, so if you are doing better, you just focus on your own welfare.

  20. fred — on 12th December, 2010 at 7:38 pm  

    damon

    Or is it almost impossible when you have societies where there is such inequality, and where the educated midle class see no point in trying to make common cause with the poor – because it seems so hopeless?

    It probably has something to do with the concepts of things like karma and the caste system which hold that if people are disadvantaged its their own fault for some sins committed in a “previous life” so they dont deserve charity or help

  21. Rumbold — on 12th December, 2010 at 8:28 pm  

    KJB:

    Thank you. I used to watch 9XL, which I presume is the same thing and is now defunct)- that is a shame, as there were a few good shows on there, most notably this:

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5680

  22. joe90 — on 12th December, 2010 at 9:13 pm  

    holy siht that commercial is ridiculous, but it only highlights that a form of discrimination which although wrong is accepted by masses of people on the indian subcontinent.

    so who do we blame the media, bollywood, governments or all 3.

  23. Joanne (africana) — on 12th December, 2010 at 10:10 pm  

    Vile,but unsurprising.

    I was informed, by a South Asian facebook user, that skin whitening tablets are now the latest thing and that some girls are getting into ridiculoius amounts of debt in pursuit of whiteness.

    Disgusting.

  24. Vikrant — on 12th December, 2010 at 10:27 pm  

    @damon:

    Or is it almost impossible when you have societies where there is such inequality, and where the educated midle class see no point in trying to make common cause with the poor – because it seems so hopeless?

    Well perhaps. Indians do tend to look out for themselves and day to day interactions are lot less polite in India. You have to be aggressive for simple things like getting on a bus. Tough luck if you happen to be an 80 yr old grannie.

    But then again, now I live in America, and yanks take the whole concept of Libertarianism and looking out for oneself to the next notch, you won’t find suburbian middle class students here finding a common cause with their working class peers.

    Vikrant @14, you know that was the now banned Reza’s kind of line?

    Well its based on my personal experiences. The things Indians generally say, about each other, muslims (if they tend to be middle class Hindu/Sikh) , whites yada yada. And by Indians, i mean pucca Indians from India, not your Hounslow rudeboys. Perhaps its a sweeping statement to say Indians are the most racist people out there, but I’d say it isn’t a big faux pas in India to say something horribly racist at dinner table with your family.

  25. anon — on 13th December, 2010 at 1:59 am  

    “3. Ravi Naik — on 12th December, 2010 at 12:16 pm
    This is a racist video against Indians – not to mention false advertisement, which basically promises to change ones race.”

    The product is a foundation cream or mouse. In the UK millions of women wear foundation of various hues and many more spend millions on a fake tan. only a complete and utter moron would claim that these British women are trying to change their race.

    In the olden days wealthy English women covered themselves up when they went out in the sun to avoid getting a tan and looking like a peasant. This Ad also appears to be a class thing rather than an issue of race.

  26. anon — on 13th December, 2010 at 2:09 am  

    “12. Don — on 12th December, 2010 at 3:02 pm
    In the ‘before’ part she was a fairly good-looking young Indian woman. In the ‘after’ she looked like a simpering blonde idiot.”

    No racist stereotyping there then.

  27. justforfun — on 13th December, 2010 at 3:54 pm  

    Groundhog day- you go away for year or two and its good not to have missed a day of gossip and trivia. I recognize a few faces.

    Good to see you’re still with us Vik – and no big bad henna bearded Afghan has sent you on to the next world. Don – good to see you – hope all is well. Did you ever make it to Mithra’s temple on the wall. Its that time of year again to go and celebrate his birthday. Light a candle for me if you go.
    Halima – hope all is still well in the mountains.
    Ravi – keep cooking that pork really well – don’t forget what happens if that pork worm finally gets to the brain – hysteria is a known symptom! :-) .
    Rumbold – I hope you’re still the voice of reason around here – sort of – after Sonia of course. Is my fellow Chongololo Club member still around? Is Kismet still seeing the wood for the trees – one of the sharpest drug enhanced voices of reason around here and showing the world that Bengalis are the brains of the sub-continent.
    Is bananabrain still around – always appreciated your advice from the Bible ‘sages’, not to be confused with advice from Koranic ‘scholars’.
    Doug – If you’re still here – is the weather OK for a visit to my outlaws this Xmas – I don’t want to be trapped too long mindyou.

    Anyway good to have a good food fight. On a tangent – Vik – don’t Britons’ know that in India civilization is inversely proportional to whiteness! The further south and east you go on the subcontinent the more civilized it gets. If I was in an HR department I would advise my white bosses to only employ “darkies” from down South or ‘chinks’ from the North East – anyone with a shade lighter than a roasted aloo would not be hired – they are bound to be untouched by civilization and have a surfeit of cultural baggage.

    justforfun

  28. Don — on 13th December, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

    anon,

    Blonde is a race?

    Hi, jff. Good to see you back.

  29. damon — on 13th December, 2010 at 8:09 pm  

    Groundhog day- you go away for year or two and its good not to have missed a day of gossip and trivia.

    I’ve got the Groundhog day feeling too. I’m sure that skin whitening cream ad featured on PP before.
    Sunny talked about it after his backpacking trip around south east Asia.
    I’d rather hear about impressions of SE Asia or Istanbul. Is Istanbul a safe place for Kurds to find ‘asylum’ for example?
    As far as I understand, the big cities of Turkey do have big Turkish Kurdish minorities.

  30. Caliope — on 13th December, 2010 at 9:08 pm  

    This is a very sad and absurd spectacle, but the ‘light skin=better’ prejudice has been around for thousands of years even among the darker-skinned themselves – even among those darker skinned Arabs who prized white European slaves. It existed long before European colonisation of Asia or Africa. Prejudice according to degrees of blackness also exists among many black people.

    In this particular case, like the prizing of blonde hair over brunette even among white people, this is something Indians have inflicted on themselves. Stupid and sad.

    “@ If I was in an HR department I would advise my white bosses to only employ “darkies” from down South or ‘chinks’ from the North East – anyone with a shade lighter than a roasted aloo would not be hired”

    So you are an open racist. Congratulations.

  31. anon — on 14th December, 2010 at 2:06 am  

    Don, you said: Brown skin = ‘fairly good-looking young Indian woman’ White skin = ‘simpering blonde idiot’.

    As I said – No racist stereotyping there then.

  32. Jookymundo — on 14th December, 2010 at 2:44 am  

    Fair do’s to the Indians.

    If lighter people are treated better in India, then I think these products should be made more readily available.

    Blaming these beauty products isn’t going to help.

    India is just a bit fucked that way, lighter is better over there. It’s probably related to the caste system which put the darks at the bottom and the lights at the top.

  33. AbuF — on 14th December, 2010 at 6:40 am  

    Anon @ 25

    The product is a foundation cream or mouse.

    I smell a rat!

  34. Sarah AB — on 14th December, 2010 at 7:08 am  

    Don (28) – well, only whites can be natural blondes, so I’d say prejudice against blondes was potentially racist, although clearly dark haired white people also might express the same prejudice.

    anon – you have half a point about tanning creams but there does seem to be a clear racial element in the ad. (See Ravi’s point above.)

  35. AbuF — on 14th December, 2010 at 7:18 am  

    Whitening creams are also popular in those parts of sub-Saharan Africa where the population believe they are Arabs…

    News from Sudan: fattening tablets (fat girls = pretty girls) dispensed are discovered to be highly toxic products used in the treatment of wasting diseases.

    What price beauty? Even the price of being traditionally beautiful.

  36. anon — on 14th December, 2010 at 9:38 am  

    Sarah AB – Don was commenting on the womans skin colour not her hair.
    According to Don when the woman was brown she was a ‘fairly good-looking young Indian woman’. The same woman with white skin ‘looked like a simpering blonde idiot’.

    Not only a racist comment but a sexist one too – the old stereotype ‘blond woman equals simpering idiot’

  37. Rumbold — on 14th December, 2010 at 10:08 am  

    Don’t be silly Anon.

  38. AbuF — on 14th December, 2010 at 12:55 pm  

    And people wonder why the Left was never right…

  39. Kismet Hardy — on 14th December, 2010 at 1:06 pm  

    I edit an asian woman’s mag. I don’t tell women what to do, just point to things the women who buy our mag might like: see this £3,500 Hermes Birkin bag? Must-haves, they are. It’s her choice to go rush out and buy it, or do what you consider the sensible thing: don’t spend three grand on a fucking bag.

    However, I don’t judge or belittle a woman for her choices. If she wants to buy an anti-ageing cream instead of donating its cost to a charity, well, that’s her choice. I call that respect.

    And here’s what I know:

    Some women feel better about themselves if they have plastic surgery to have bigger boobs, liposuction to have slimmer waists, apply a cream to have fairer skin. They all carry certain dangers (you can go blind through misuse of mascara), but if you don’t get why they do it anyway, you’ve missed the point of beauty.

    Point is, you can blame society, you can almost certainly blame men, but fact remains – these women resort to solutions that we may consider drastic/spastic, but, and this is where the pompous should really shut the fuck up, it makes them happy.

    So perhaps those on their high horse could do them a favour and go trot thattaway?

  40. earwicga — on 14th December, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    ‘it makes them happy.’

    Does it?

  41. Caliope — on 14th December, 2010 at 2:07 pm  

    “The same woman with white skin ‘looked like a simpering blonde idiot’.

    Not only a racist comment but a sexist one too”

    Spot on. Racism against whites is not merely acceptable, it’s indicative of a ‘progressive’ outlook for some on here.

  42. coruja — on 14th December, 2010 at 3:48 pm  

    Racism exists in every multi-ethnic society and you can be surprised by its existence in India ONLY if you consider India not to be a multi-cultural and multi-racial (i.e ethnic) society.

    The two best articles on this I’ve read in the last few years are:

    http://www.mikemarqusee.com/?p=260
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/sep/20/race.uk

  43. Ravi Naik — on 14th December, 2010 at 3:53 pm  

    Some women feel better about themselves if they have plastic surgery to have bigger boobs, liposuction to have slimmer waists, apply a cream to have fairer skin. They all carry certain dangers (you can go blind through misuse of mascara), but if you don’t get why they do it anyway, you’ve missed the point of beauty.

    Well, let’s analyse the “feel better about themselves after”, shall we?

    If women go through all these health hazards in the name of beauty, then it means they are not happy with how they look before. If they aspire impossible beauty standards like having a pale European complexion as this ridiculous ad suggests, then they are never going to be happy, specially after applying layers of cream and damaging their health. The same applies to plastic surgery.

  44. Kismet Hardy — on 14th December, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

    earwicga, yeah it does. Make-up makes a woman with bad skin happy, wonderbra makes a women with the droop happy, anti-ageing cream makes a woman with wrinkles happy, hair bleaching/ skin whitening creams makes a woman unhappy with her shade happy. It’s partly self-worth, partly the shit she’s had to deal with her in life, partly to please men, partly not to be judged by other women.

    Dunno about you, but I don’t get any joy out of telling another human being what makes him or her happy is wrong because well, I just don’t agree with it.

    Ravi, it’s not ‘impossible’, like me wanting a bigger cock is impossible. But if you can buy it in a tub or a tube and it works, well, it works.

    You can talk about damaging health until the cows come home, but we drink, smoke to be happier, doing something in the name of beauty with the same satisfaction quota and risk margin is no different

  45. damon — on 14th December, 2010 at 8:52 pm  

    I’m going to have to side with Kismet Hardy here.

    Naomi Wolf (author of The Beauty Myth) came out in praise of burkas for heaven’s sake.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-veil-lives-a-thriving-muslim-sexuality/2008/08/29/1219516734637.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

  46. douglas clark — on 14th December, 2010 at 11:04 pm  

    Kismet Hardy @ 44,

    Two points, perhaps stretching to three.

    First point. The ‘offensively’ dark chick didn’t just change the colour or her hair. She changed her whole damned idea of herself. Let’s give her the free flowing hair her ‘whitewash’ persona had. That make a difference?

    Lets give her the rather more glamorous clothes her new found confidence brought her? That make a difference too?

    ‘Course it does.

    The advert is deliberately misleading and exploitative.

    Anyway, I thought the transformed woman looked a bit ginger.

    All my kids are ginger. and would really like to be able to take a tan.

    You work it out.

  47. Kismet Hardy — on 15th December, 2010 at 12:41 am  

    not defending the ad, or even publishing scum such as I who perpetuates the myth instead of telling these silly little women they are wrong, beauty is from within, why don’t they read some nice dostoyevsky instead of 50 ways to shag a plumber, and yes wearing gilded brocade this season will make you an opulent goddess while the french manicure is social suicide do you hear me? Because like it or not, adverts and fashion covers and trend reports don’t change the world but makes a girl have something to aspire to in the hope her weekend might be a bit less shitty. At its loftiest, it mirrors society, at its most obvious, it gives women who like beautification what they want or they’ll piss off to someone who does

  48. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 1:32 am  

    Kismet Hardy,

    I am very fond of you. I think you see beyond your own trade, indeed deny it.

    But, and there is a need to express a but, I think?

    Because like it or not, adverts and fashion covers and trend reports don’t change the world but makes a girl have something to aspire to in the hope her weekend might be a bit less shitty. At its loftiest, it mirrors society, at its most obvious, it gives women who like beautification what they want or they’ll piss off to someone who does.

    Err…

    it gives women who like beautification what they want or they’ll piss off to someone who does.

    That is hardly an answer.

    I have made the point that the woman one, the Indian looking chick, is not given the opportunity to look ‘good looking’ and the second chick looks ginger.

    It is up to you Kismet Hardy to explain why that should be?

    Is it that you agree with the skin whitening shit, or not?

    I am very fond of you despite or indeed because of your skin colour. And your terrible fashion sense.

  49. Sarah AB — on 15th December, 2010 at 6:55 am  

    Kismet – I enjoy your comments and I don’t totally disagree with you but I’d put it differently. I think it’s fine to enjoy makeup and nice clothes and yes it can be fun planning what to wear for a party or whatever. But if your self esteem depends on such things and you think changing your hairstyle or getting some new unguent will transform your life and suddenly make you happy, that’s pretty worrying.

  50. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 7:43 am  

    Och!

    Sarah AB,

    You could be a quite likeable person on here apart from the Harry’s Place link.

    Get a grip.

    They are all desperate to find fault in the human race.

    Every last one of them.

    Discuss.

  51. Rumbold — on 15th December, 2010 at 8:22 am  

    Excellent summary SarahAB (#49).

  52. Sarah AB — on 15th December, 2010 at 9:52 am  

    Thanks Rumbold – Douglas, I’ve switched to my personal link to spare you cognitive dissonance!

    Right I’m off to get my highlights done (seriously) but I shall take Franzen along with me – and my unwritten Christmas cards – because although I have many frivolous tastes, I find women’s/beauty magazines completely uninteresting.

  53. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 11:07 am  

    Cheers Sarah AB @ 52!

    You are a bit of a brick.

    Err…

    Not sure that came across right.

    Who, or what is Franzen?

  54. Niaz — on 15th December, 2010 at 1:09 pm  

    Obssessional Damon @45 still manages to get in a pop against Muslims though it has zero relevance to the story. Honestly the level of obsession some people have is frightening. Medical help needed methinks.

  55. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 1:25 pm  

    Niaz @ 54,

    We, the folk of Auchtermuchty, demand to know. Are you in favour of the burka or not?

  56. damon — on 15th December, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    This is just for Niaz, as being the kind of person that he is, he might not know what I was talking about.

    The Beauty Myth, published in 1991, is a book by Naomi Wolf. It examines beauty as a demand and as a judgment upon women. Subtitled How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, Wolf examines how modern conceptions of women’s beauty impact the spheres of employment, culture, religion, sexuality, eating disorders, and cosmetic surgery.

    Wolf argues that women in Western culture are damaged by the pressure to conform to an idealized concept of female beauty—the Iron Maiden throughout modern society, from Victorian Times to today. She argues that the beauty myth is political, a way of maintaining the patriarchal system. It allows women to enter the labour force, but under controlled conditions. She also claims that this system keeps women under control by the weight of their own insecurities.

    So, I thought her defence of the burka, after saying all what she did in her book was quite bizarre.
    She says this in the article I linked to @45:

    Indeed, many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualising Western gaze. Many women said something like this: “When I wear Western clothes, men stare at me, objectify me, or I am always measuring myself against the standards of models in magazines, which are hard to live up to – and even harder as you get older, not to mention how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.” This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognisably Western feminist set of feelings.

    Have you got anything to say about any of this Niaz?
    Do you think that gora like me have a right to even talk about the lives of your womenfolk?

  57. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 2:42 pm  

    Yeah,

    I expect every woman to say:

    am always measuring myself against the standards of models in magazines, which are hard to live up to – and even harder as you get older, not to mention how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected.” This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognisably Western feminist set of feelings.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I just think most human beings don’t express themselves in a way that feminists would like them to.

    Naomi Wolf sees what she wants to see.

    Cue earwicga.

  58. joe90 — on 15th December, 2010 at 4:53 pm  

    post #56

    author naomi wolf has credibility on that particlar subject, as she has actually gone to muslim countries observed and spoken to the women who were hijab and the burkha.

    And that for me has more credibility than the usual armchair jockeys who comment on muslim women and the burkha issue based on their own prejudices and daily mail headlines.

  59. Joanne (africana) — on 15th December, 2010 at 5:31 pm  

    “Point is, you can blame society, you can almost certainly blame men, but fact remains – these women resort to solutions that we may consider drastic/spastic, but, and this is where the pompous should really shut the fuck up, it makes them happy.”

    ‘Course it doesn’t make them happy.Tweaking the image, beyond normal maintennance,leads to disatifaction with that which lies beneath the layer of slap.

    If women take as their beauty standard,the features of a racial group different to their own,such women are setting themselves up for constant “failure”.

    People of conscience shouldn’t push the myth that there is but one type of beauty. Self-acceptance is key.

  60. damon — on 15th December, 2010 at 8:32 pm  

    Joe90, please don’t equate hijabs and burkas.
    One is a headscarf and the other is a disappearing act.

    I saw this film the other week and I quite liked it.
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=real+women+have+curves+the+movie&aq=5

    About a young Hispanic woman in LA who dreams of going to university, but is forced to work in her family’s textile factory.
    The young woman (who I found out was the Ugly Betty actress) has this great line to her mother about her weight … because her mum fusses that she needs to loose weight or she’ll never find a husband.

    ”Mama, I do want to lose weight.
    And part of me doesn’t because
    my weight says to everybody, fuck you!
    How dare anybody tell me
    what I should look like…
    or what I should be…
    when there’s so much more to me
    than just my weight!”

  61. douglas clark — on 15th December, 2010 at 8:37 pm  

    joe90,

    Would you too be an armchair jockey?

  62. Kismet Hardy — on 15th December, 2010 at 10:07 pm  

    doug, cheers for the fondness. In a nutshell: No, I think skin lightening is yet another splurt of satan’s spunk on society, but then I also think someone should take a shovel to the face of that tit from razorlight, without offering him any explanation, just to watch the look of confusion and terror in his eyes, so I don’t expect what I think to be gospel.

    I’m paid to be a representative of a certain type of woman (a sect that does not include the lovely sarahAB because, well, she doesn’t buy it) who like to feel good by doing stuff I may or may not agree with. They want this stuff, my job is to give ‘em this stuff. I don’t write about how great skin lightening is, in fact, we actively champion the ‘brown and proud’ flag in our articles. But we’re talking about an ad here, and I have no problem carrying it because a) people buy it. Um, if you really need a b) it’s. just. a. beauty. product.

    Sure, it’s worrying people need something like this to raise their self-worth, but does anyone really truly know anyone in the universe who doesn’t turn to something to lift their spirits, that no one else disagrees with?

    Different strokes, different shades, same old midget site x

  63. earwicga — on 15th December, 2010 at 11:26 pm  

    Kismet – I challenge you to bring to me somebody that disagrees with Eskimo Disco 7 -11 featuring Pingu.

  64. Joanne — on 16th December, 2010 at 4:52 am  

    Oh, my word!

    Have you seen the advert, for “UK skin lightening” that this article has generated?

  65. Sarah AB — on 16th December, 2010 at 7:31 am  

    [Douglas - I meant the novel Freedom by Jonathan Franzen]

    damon – I thought the quote from Wolf you extracted wasn’t too bad but the cumulative effect of the article was a bit much. It’s strange that the author of the Beauty Myth should pick out the fact that these households contained elegant fashion and beauty lotions as a cause for celebration! Parts of it read as though it was written by Lauren Booth.

  66. Joanne — on 16th December, 2010 at 5:12 pm  

    @SarahAB,

    Well said.

    I wish people would see (Muslims, included who’ve bought big time into the notion that certain consumer products equal self-esteem) that the pressure to conform to a certain beauty ideal, even if it’s only limited to the cofines of the home (as per some outwardly conservative Gulf countries)is wrong.

    The expectation that women should, regardless of her own feelings about cosmetics, go beyond the normal limits of maintennace does reflect a view of women primarily as fanciful, decorative items.

  67. douglas clark — on 16th December, 2010 at 8:09 pm  

    Sarah AB @ 65,

    About Franzen. I checked it out and next month – ’cause I’ve overspent at Amazon this month – trashy but enjoyable sci-fi and books Sunny isn’t interested in – I will get the book. I hope it is as good as you say it is!

    I often find books that I would never otherwise read more interesting than my own immediate taste. Down to recommendations, by the likes of Rumbold and Jai for instance. So you can join my educational circle too!

    I dunno how it happened exactly, but I have recently become interested in the reign of Elizabeth One. Weird times….

  68. Sarah AB — on 16th December, 2010 at 8:31 pm  

    Douglas – it *is* good – as you know I’m a sci-fi fan too and this was a present from my brother in law who tries to extend my tastes!

  69. douglas clark — on 16th December, 2010 at 9:39 pm  

    It would be quite amusing to have a sci-fi or even literary sub menu here. There are folk, KJB for instance, that would astonish you. Well she astonished me. In a nice way.

    I sometimes find the mutual aggression that counts for debate here a bit much. I’d really quite like to know whether damon, for instance, reads books rather than internet links. And what he makes of them. I’d like to know what our good host makes of Satre, or what Don thinks about Iain M Banks, or Hemingway.

    I suppose you should never judge anyone by their library or internet browsing, but you are, arguably, what you read.

    Without wishing to be soppy about it, I will say this. It seems to me that reading the views of the folk that have commented here over the years has been good for me. I am now angry about stuff I never even had a point of view about before. I am less angry about stuff I thought I did care about.

    It is interesting to have your ideas challenged and that is what is almost unique about this place. For, despite having made an arse of myself on more than a few occasions, you are still welcomed back and that is good. There is, usually, some sort of forgiveness….

  70. earwicga — on 16th December, 2010 at 9:43 pm  

    Because it is interesting douglas! I like Alison Weir’s work on the Tudors.

    ‘I sometimes find the mutual aggression that counts for debate here a bit much’

    You’ve made me laugh. You love it!

  71. Sarah AB — on 16th December, 2010 at 9:50 pm  

    I’ve also enjoyed the Alison Weir books. Yes, It would be nice if all the editors posted their top ten favourite books.

  72. douglas clark — on 16th December, 2010 at 10:04 pm  

    earwicga,

    You’ve made me laugh. You love it!

    Well, you saw right through me!

    Maybe.

    I liked it better when the debate wasn’t just a straightforward confrontation. Yeah, I can do that. I’m almost as good at it as you are. Strike that, I am nowhere near as good at that as you are.

    I always preferred trying to persuade people away from extremism. That was my bag. I quite enjoyed the fact that no-one else seemed to realise that lots of folk read this blog and don’t comment at all. But they are possibly influenced by what you or I have to say.

    I quite enjoyed the likes of Barnsey of the BNP coming on here and assuming that he was just addressing me, or Jai, and not an audience. I found / find that quite amusing.

    You are right I suppose. I still love a fight, especially when I deliberately choose the weaker side, just because.

    Just because their arguements are too glib, too rehearsed and, you’ll have noticed, none of mine are.

  73. earwicga — on 16th December, 2010 at 10:08 pm  

    I couldn’t possibly get that list down to ten Sarah AB. Possibly ten authors.

  74. douglas clark — on 16th December, 2010 at 10:35 pm  

    earwicga,

    Top ten authors then :-)

    Just for your amusement, so we can compare and contrast:

    Terry Pratchett

    William Boyd

    Kenan Malik

    Charlie Stross

    Ian M Banks

    Alan Moore

    J P Satre

    Herman Hesse

    and Shakespeare.

    Oops, that’s nine!

    Probably that guy Bukowski…

  75. earwicga — on 16th December, 2010 at 11:10 pm  

    Ok, off the top of my head,

    Anne Tyler

    Alice Hoffman

    Sue Townsend

    Eve Ensler

    Andrea Levy

    Isabel Allende

    Carol Shields

    Penelope Lively

    Marilyn French

    Esther Freud

    Anita Diamant

    Sorry, that’s 11 but I can’t delete anyone from that list. Better stop before I think of anymore :) There are loads of authors where I have loved one or two of their books, but the above are the authors where I know I will love their work before I pick it up, and have been reading them for many years.

  76. earwicga — on 16th December, 2010 at 11:35 pm  

    Apart from Eve Ensler who I discovered last year.

  77. KJB — on 17th December, 2010 at 1:02 am  

    Awwwww, thanks for the compliment, Douglas!

    I want to play this book game, but it would be bloody hard for me. I’ll list off the top of my head as well, and this is obviously going to be an ever-rotating list:

    Helen Fielding (I LOVE her, with a deranged intensity)

    Anita Loos (ditto)

    Alan Moore (he’s crazy, but innovative)

    Matt Wagner/Steven T. Seagle (cheating, I know, but they wrote Sandman Mystery Theatre together, which is understated brilliance, and has a fantastic female character in Dian Belmont).

    Geoffrey Willans (anyone who reads Private Eye really ought to know this man’s significance).

    Jean Rhys (I’ve only read Wide Sargasso Sea of her writings, but it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read).

    Christopher Brookmyre

    Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All is particularly recommended)

    Virginia Woolf (read her non-fiction)

    Mary Borden (an American war nurse during the First World War).

  78. Kismet Hardy — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:02 am  

    stephen king

    what?

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:06 am  

    oh okay then.

    Bukowski

    hunter s thompson

    burroughs

    kerouac stream of consciousness my dog ate my paper my arse fabulous roman candle notwithstanding

    saul bellow

    john steinbeck

    faulkner

    Hemingway

    toni morrison

    americans they know how to simplify god bless the americans

    margaret atwood yeah she’s from canada

    paul auster

    stephen fucking king

    Morrissey, not american. But you know, if it’s not love then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together

    Nature is a language. Can’t you read?

  80. Sarah AB — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:31 am  

    Hello – the cricket’s not going too well so here’s my top 10. I’ve skewed it towards things I’ve been reading with most enthusiasm over the last couple of years and only included novelists.

    Jane Austen

    Bret Easton Ellis

    Dan Simmons

    Sinclair Lewis

    U K Le Guin

    Georgette Heyer

    Dorothy Whipple

    Lois McMaster Bujold

    Shirley Jackson

    Dickens

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:34 am  

    Junkies are prone to blame many a thing for their downfall, abuse, lack of attention yadda yadda yadda, I place the blame squarely on Bret easton ellis and jay McInerney :-)

  82. earwicga — on 17th December, 2010 at 11:37 am  

    Interesting lists, thanks everyone :)

    Kismet – Atwood almost made it to my list as her earlier works are brilliant, but later work is unreadable imo. Do you like all her work? I’ve only read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (brilliant) of Thompson’s, what else do you recommend?

    KJB – I love Helen Fielding too.

    Douglas – where is a good place to start with Pratchett. I tried one once but didn’t get on with it. I feel that I would like his novels.

    Realised that Fay Weldon should also be on my top ten (twelve). Also A.S. Byatt’s short stories but her novels are unreadable.

  83. joe90 — on 17th December, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    post #60

    that’s your opinion and you entitled to it.

    my opinion woman has right to wear burkha or hijab you are not the fashion police and neither am i.

    If it kills you that a woman wears burkha that says more about you than the woman wearing it.

    To have a cheap shot at muslim women again is getting ridiculous let it go dude.

  84. damon — on 17th December, 2010 at 1:55 pm  

    To have a cheap shot at muslim women again is getting ridiculous let it go dude.

    It’s not a cheap shot at muslim women. I think that it is a backward form of purdah. Of course women are free to wear it, but it is often coerced. Certainly in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan and the Gulf.

    That’s my position along with many feminists too. But I see the way you and a couple of others on PP work. You keep up the deffence of islamist-like positions over time, and then you can say that people who oppose you have an islamophobic axe to grind and are ”obsessed”.
    Niqabs and burkas demean men and women. It’s just my view that’s all. Hijabs are fine.

    Can you imagine this world if every single woman wore a niqab or burka?

  85. douglas clark — on 17th December, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    earwicga,

    With Pratchett, I always suggest to folk that they start at the beginning – ‘The Colour of Magic’.

  86. ziad — on 17th December, 2010 at 3:55 pm  

    damon

    Niqabs and burkas demean men and women. It’s just my view that’s all. Hijabs are fine.

    And you’re entitled to it, however wrong it may be. But do they demean women more than say mass female infanticide of millions of girls in India and China or the Christian belief that God came down to earth as a man?
    Your continual focusing on Muslims, Niqabs and Burkhas etc (even on threads like this which have nothing to do with it) while completly ignoring far greater crimes against women is inevitably going to lead to such accusations.

  87. earwicga — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:10 pm  

    Ziad, you are conflating. Pointless. It is demeaning and discriminatory to tell women and girls what to wear. Whether you say you must wear a niqab/burka, or you say you must not wear a niqab/burka. Both are wrong. Your accusation against damon isn’t inevitable as it doesn’t make sense.

  88. Don — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:13 pm  

    earwicga,

    Or ‘Guards, Guards’ or ‘Wyrd Sister’. Depends which ‘strand’ of Discworld appeals most. Or ‘Mort’. Or ‘Pyramids’.

  89. earwicga — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

    Thanks Don – that really (doesn’t) help :) I’ll start at the beginning as douglas suggests.

  90. Don — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:29 pm  

    As to author lists, in no particular order, (except for #1)

    1. PG Wodehouse
    2. Terry Pratchett
    3. George Macdonald Fraser
    4. Raymond Chandler
    5. Hilary Mantell
    7. Jane Austen
    8. William Dalrymple
    9. Bruce Chatwin
    10. Thomas Hardy

  91. Shamit — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

    “Christian belief that God came down to earth as a man”

    Ziad,

    Christians don’t believe that – they believe the Son of God came down to earth – and after 40 days and 40 nights he saw the vision – not that far from the concept of Al-Isra.

    Earwicga is correct – stop conflating issues.

  92. Don — on 17th December, 2010 at 4:58 pm  

    Shamit,

    Christians (mainstream) believe fully human, fully god.

    This explains it pretty clearly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII6-IyaT3o

  93. Sarah AB — on 17th December, 2010 at 5:18 pm  

    I couldn’t get on with Colour of Magic – don’t care for Rincewind- but love Pratchett otherwise and think that Equal Rites might appeal to earwicga!

  94. earwicga — on 17th December, 2010 at 5:56 pm  

    Ha ha Don to the video! That Rolf Harris gets everywhere… I love Chatwin’s On the Black Hill.

    I’ll add that to my library list Sarah.

  95. douglas clark — on 17th December, 2010 at 6:15 pm  

    Sarah AB,

    You could be on the button with Equal Rites for earwicga! But I do think you miss out on how some of the characters – and locations – develop if you start anywhere but the beginning. Come to think of it, are there any other major characters, apart from Rincewind, that Terry Pratchett has dropped completely?

  96. Sarah AB — on 17th December, 2010 at 7:10 pm  

    I’m not sure – I’m a Vimes fan, and my favourite novel is Night Watch, though I also very much like Monstrous Regiment – both just a little less light than the earlier Discworld novels.

  97. douglas clark — on 17th December, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    Sarah AB,

    Oh this is fun!

    I am a huge fan of the Watch too. And Mrs Vimes is my favourite upper class animal (dragon for anyone else reading) rescue person of all time. But Vimes has to get there, has he not? He has to be all these other people that he surprises himself as being before Vetenari sees him as someone to invite to dinner? Social climbing with your eyes shut, perhaps?

    Then, of course, there are all the other characters in the Watch. Carrot and Anagua and all the friendly scorn that Pratchett throws about in an almost sweet way about police brutality. I don’t think you can do that outside fantasy.

    I think he missed a beat or two over his last couple of novels. I thought (the non Disc World novel) Nation was completely brilliant *, and that Unseen Academicals was not. I feared that he was no longer the author I thought he was and he came up with ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’ which as good as he’s ever written.

    He is an acquired taste. I think he is a genius, because he lays out the whole human and godly position out there. And he takes the piss out of us mortals and them gods. It is a work of art.

    In my opinion.

    Your humble servant.

    *If that’s a kids book, I want to be a kid again. Without offence earwicga – I read it and enjoyed it – that might be the easiest and simplest way into at least seeing what the man is about….

  98. damon — on 17th December, 2010 at 9:20 pm  

    Trying to ignore Ziad’s BS … Douglas ..one book I loved was ”Vagabonding in the USA” by Ed Buryn.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h5FCaXZvjU

    I was in the USA when I saw it in a book shop and bought it – in the mid 80′s – and I thought that this was the way to go. It really made me sit up and pay attention and answered some questions.
    It’s kind of a free spirit hippy philosophy for life.
    Always trying to remind you that you are here and now in the moment, and not to let these precious moments pass you by unnoticed.

  99. douglas clark — on 18th December, 2010 at 9:09 am  

    damon @ 98,

    Watched the youtube.

    It’s an interesting philosophy and without being too crass, I think it is your pholosophy too. If so, it clarifies a lot about you and your comments here and elsewhere.

    It is the openess of position – that the default is that everybody is worthwhile, presumeably until proven otherwise – that I take from it as much as anything.

    I’ll add it to my January Amazon hit :-)

  100. Mumbaikar — on 22nd December, 2010 at 5:57 pm  

    I havent gone through all the 100 odd comments here, so not sure if somebody has already pointed this out, but 9X is an Indian entertainment movie channel and this ad is a spoof of the general ridiculous ‘fair and lovely’ ads, that is why it is soo over the top (note change of hair colour).
    Its like people getting their panties in a bunch after reading an article from The Onion.
    9x is not a cosmetics brand. So you guys picked the wrong clip to pick on us Indians’ obsession with fair skin and feel good about yourselves.

  101. Don — on 22nd December, 2010 at 6:09 pm  

    Really? A spoof? Well, that was me taken in.

  102. Ramiie — on 24th December, 2010 at 5:12 pm  

    Would India ever evolve a “Black is Beautiful” social/political campaign? A kind of Eastern Enlightenment (pun intendend). Direcly and indirectly, the African has gifted Europe the purity on a non-racial persepective – and by and large Europe is still reaching towards the ideal. When would Asia make a start (at home), I wonder….

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