These Skin-Whitening Ads Are Misleading

By Mandovi Menon

Homegrown editor's note: Inherent values aren't something we've learned to expect from most of Bollywood's insiders, yet Kangana Ranaut has never quite fit into that pack. In all fairness (no pun intended), she's impressed us with her ability to straight-shoot even when the industry's wind is blowing in another direction. The star just turned down a fairness-cream advertorial worth Rs 2 crores (in the Indian numbering system, the equivalent of 10 million rupees), so there's cause for a renewed celebration of her valor.
Kangana Ranaut doesn't understand the concept of "fairness." Of her recent actions, the actress explains, "As a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down. As a public figure, I have responsibilities."

Unfortunately, Ranaut represents a terrifyingly small minority of "role models" who subscribe and live up to such values. So, we couldn't resist revisiting an article in which we called out all the brands and actors who continuously propagate India's skin-whitening obsession.

Skin whitening isn’t an alien concept in a country that continues to be preoccupied with fair skin tones. Product ads glorify lighter skin, stoking deep-rooted insecurities and fears that permeate Indian society. Recently, we listed a few brands that have taken up the responsibility of challenging regressive norms, rather than feeding into them. But sadly, they aren't exactly in the majority.

Ahead, we list some of the worst ads, those that reflect some of the most deplorable and misleading ideas about beauty being only as deep as the color (or lack thereof) of our skin. The problem isn't just limited to brands, but rather, blame also lies with the supposed role models these ads depict, who heavily influence the young people who look up to them.