For long, advertisements that have told us that being fair-complexioned is everything; commercials have schooled us on how to gain/reduce weight and look younger; ads have also set gender norms. Certain ads have, for years now, reflected everything that is grossly wrong in our society. However, a silver lining has been sighted. It has been understood that ads claiming to make you fair, prevent ageing may soon be punishable.
In other words, companies advertising medicines and products purported to make you fairer, improve your height and memory, cure issues like hair loss or greying of hair and premature ageing, may soon attract more stringent fines and jail time. According to the new draft of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to two years’ imprisonment in cases of a first-time offence can be levied. In the case of a subsequent conviction, imprisonment may extend to five years and the fine, up to Rs 50 lakh.
The debate around fairness creams, for instance, has been an enduring one. Many products available in the Indian market, claim to give you a flawless, glowing skin. There are some that claim regular use can make your skin turn several shades lighter. The thing is, there is no such thing as flawless, a point that has been established.
Watching their favourite celeb endorse a product may lead one to believe in it.
In the past, however, many Bollywood stars have vociferously objected to endorsing certain brands, mostly fairness products. In a country that is obsessed with and fixated on fair skin, this is a step in the right direction. It gives out the message that not only is beauty subjective, but also that not every Bollywood celebrity wants you to chase the idea of it. And that is okay.
While actor Abhay Deol had previously urged other stars to use their fame to influence people positively, Nandita Das had championed the idea that dark is beautiful. Other A-listers like Ranbir Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut, too, had turned down fairness cream offers in the past. While Kapoor has said he believes that such products only deepen racist stereotypes, Ranaut claimed she never understood the concept of fairness.
Actor Swara Bhaskar has urged girls to love themselves and not change, because dusky, dark or wheatish, everybody is perfect. And, it is believed that actor Sushant Singh Rajput, too, has also turned down a lucrative endorsement deal of a fairness cream, because he believes it is every actor’s duty to not indulge in sending out incorrect messages.
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