The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

Is it just me that doesn't get this whole Asian (that's India, Sri Lanka & Pakistan as far as I know) obsession with fair skin? In the whole course of my existence, I have met just two people who didn't want fairer skin, or a girl/guy with fairer skin. That doesn't say much for our warped mentality.

Adding vitality to life, says Unilevers. They seem to be adding a whole lot more, what with the umpteen variants of fairness products that they put into the market. Apart from earning billions for the company, does this product do one jot of good to the consumer? It takes perfectly normal skin (yes, dark skin IS the norm for this region) and offers the completely unnecessary solution of making it fair. The saddest bit is that it isn't even permanent - the moment you stop using the cream, you're skin will go back to looking like that of a normal Asian's (nope, that's not personal experience).

Now they come up with a new & improved term - radiance cream. Who on earth do they think they are kidding? The product is still Fair & Lovely right, radiance or not? Grrrrrrrr...I don't even know where to begin. The premise is that to get anything at all in life - friends, a guy, a girl or a job, one needs to be beautiful (radiant, it seems these days). Beauty is defined as being fair. What happened to beauty being only skin deep? What happened to character, personality, values or intelligence? Apparently, you need none of those as long as you're well stocked with Fair & Lovely.

Now we have the almost absurd situation of Shahrukh Khan, dark as ever, advertising Men's Active, the male version of Fair & Lovely. You would think that with all that money, fame & riches, he'd have the good sense to refrain from indulging in an ad so putrid. But no, because good sense goes straight out the window when the cash register jingles. I think someone should call Madame Tussaud's. his waxen image will need to be lightened, in light of his latest commercial engagement. I guess I'm being naive to expect the local Joe to exhibit sense, when our educated superstars doesn't seem to be any the wiser.

These kind of utterly irresponsible products only worsen a region beset with a colonial hang-up - fair, white skin. Not one single person who wants to be fair can give you a solid reason as to why. To be 'pretty' or 'so that guys will like me' is pathetic to see the least. The obvious logic of not needing to be surrounded by people who appreciate you for something that superficial seems to totally escape them.

Apart from causing indescribable damage to a young girl's self esteem, and warping her values for good, we apparently decided to advertise as a region our collective lack of sense. Two cricket matches, two countries, and two separate incidents of racial abuse at African/Black players. Our love of white skin has taken us to new levels of shame. Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was racially abused by spectators while fielding in Thursday's one-day match against India in Baroda, and in a completely unrelated but equally shameful incident, four spectators in Lahore were arrested on Friday for making racist remarks towards a South African player and official during the final day of the second Test against Pakistan.

Is this what we've come to? Taunting and abusing people for being black? For heavens sake, we're Asians!!! Do they not have any mirrors at home? The need to be white is so ingrained in our psyche that now we look down on dark skin. What right do we have to complain of Murali being taunted Down Under, when we've effectively shown that we are no better? Before anyone says that Sri Lanka has not yet hosted such shameful displays of racism, I think we all know that the mentality is common enough here.

Shame on everyone who has ever endorsed fair skin, and anyone who has ever bought a tube of Fair & Lovely should be arrested for exibiting levels of stupidity that is surely illegal.


If fair lovely or whatever gives 1% of confidence, self esteem to a person i don't see why you should treat the product and company as pure evil. They don't force the product on anybody...people make the purchase on their own accord...
You think the users of this product doesn't know that it's results if any at all will only be temporary...
Most things in life are temporary and that doesn't make them any in itself is temporary...
If a person wants to use the product and feel good about themselves afterwards i believe that products has done some good. Of course they make money out of it but what's wrong with that. The brand promised the consumer to deliver something positive in exchange for the money they charge them... if the consumer is happy with the results or perceived results...that's all fair.
If anybody doesn't want to use the product they can simply stop buying..
And i don't buy your argument of values, principles etc of a person being destroyed by these products... If you look at it like that most of the products do that to users... A guys who drives a corolla should feel bad when he sees a guy who drives a jag...
the brand can give you a perceived boost to your image or an actual one but it's upto you to be who you are. People aren't that stupid these days to buy all the mumbo jumbo marketing companies are selling...
And if you have good values etc nothing external should be able to change that... If it does it means you were not good in the first place...

And about asian been A.holes and mistreating colored people etc... that's just absolutely sick and pathetic. No matter which color, race, species you are...mistreating somebody over their skin color is just plain dumb

just my 2 cents... feel free to disagree

anonymous, first of all, thank you for reading, and for commenting.

To clarify few points: the issue is not about confidence, but about the promoting of false, superficial, and at times dangerous/racial values.

As for the consumers knowledge on the effect of the product - it is moot. The problem is the values promoted, not the effectiveness of the product. And the mass market actually DOES believe the mumbo-jumbo promoted by marketing companies - I'm in marketing, and numerous consumer researchs have proved that the semi-rural & rural masses believe a lot of the crap we tell them.

Corrolla vis-avis a Jag : these products are based on something one can achieve through hard work, not plastic surgery. The values promoted therefore, are very different.

As for certain Asians being racist, the post delves into WHY they are that way - a direct result of the false values that certain companies promote.

"As for certain Asians being racist, the post delves into WHY they are that way - a direct result of the false values that certain companies promote"

so you're saying that "racists" are created out of modern day "consumerism" is it??
Personally i don't buy that queen :)
If you take SL, racists have been there for donkeys years and it wasn't marketing companies that created them...
Just because brands tell you something which is anyway not about bashing people because they are darker or whatever doesn't mean people have to do it...
Modern day consumerism and marketing is all about respecting consumers and their needs... not that it happens 100% especially in SL but people are empowered enough to chose what they want...
when it comes to fair and lovely, there are many players in the market... people can decide to kill a particular product if it doesn't deliver it's promises or creates unwanted issues like divisions based on skin color etc...
I believe that's a call individuals should make...and it's not for you and i or for the marketing companies to decide because i think people are as not as dumb as lots of people think...
I'm in advertising and i have been to the rural areas on research etc etc which i'm sure you're also familiar with...
Masses are no longer the dumbos they used to be... People read newspapers watch TV etc etc and they know what goes on in the world... I don't buy the argument that lots of marketeers including some of my clients keeps on making that masses are dumb and they will buy any crap because they don't... Why have certain brands succeeded and certain ones haven't if they buy any crap?
And in reality us sri lankans do prefer the fairer kind and that's a human truth. :) If a brand uses it to sell it's product bashing the brand for doing that is like shooting the messenger and not attending to the core issue...
I'm a firm believer that marginalizing people base on their race, skin tone etc etc is an utter stupid thing...and the individuals who do that should be ashamed of themselves...
I also don't think that BRANDS are responsible for shaping one thinking to such and extreme if you weren't already a racist or whatever :)

No, you've misunderstood. Racists aren't created from consumerism - but when that consumerism is promoting age-old racist notions, and spending millions doing so, it goes a long way in fanning the wrong fires. You don't have to say dark skin is bad - by saying fair skin is better - to get a guy, friends, a job or to be successful in any sense, what is it indirectly saying about dark skin? When the ads show people putting down dark skin, and the 'heroine', instead of fighting them, moulds herself into a fair girl, what does that perpetuate?

This is not about Unilevers and Fair & Lovely alone, but all fairness products. F & L is merely the largest. As I said before, this is not about the effectiveness of a product, but the values it promotes. If consumers were intelligent enough to decide that products create 'unwanted issues', there wouldn't be a market for cigarrettes or alcohol either.

Masses are not AS dumb. But that doesn't mean that they will pick up on subtelty - in this instance, reputed companies championing age-old values about fair skin, which happens to be racist and wrong.

"And in reality us sri lankans do prefer the fairer kind and that's a human truth." Why do you suppose that is? People prefer smoking as well - doesn't make it any better a habit. Asians preferring fair skin is deep-rooted in colonial hang-ups and racism. a brand that promotes such values is just as bad as the value itself.

Corporates & brands affects what people think - that's why they spend so much money in making sure they say the 'right' thing. Else advertising would be meaningless. The more you say something, and the louder you say it, the more it gets drilled into the public psyche.

anonymous :)

i think u're really straying from the point here....

FAL and Dove - both are manufactured and promoted by the same company...

check out the dove ads if u already havent (campaign for real beauty n all that)

u know Unilever doesn't run those ads in this part of the world?

'cos there's more money to be made through telling young girls (and now guys!) that their fortunes will improve if they get fairer...

aint that evil??

It's good that you brought up the Dove campaign :)
I'm quite familiar with the work and the brand strategy behind it :)

First of all...Unilever doesn't run those ads here not because of anything else but because Dove is not an established brand here. Even if it was it talks to a high income bracket group that doesn't really reflect in volumes of sales...which in return affects the profitability of the return on investment.
The day market conditions change to allow for a brand like Dove to exist and flourish...mark my words they will bring in those kinda advertising campaigns.
And further... what do you think those Dove ads are doing??? Public service eh?
It's a clever way of selling their product to a particular audience that gets "turned on" by that sorta stuff...
Market conditions and the product deliverables will determine the brand strategy... And it has nothing to do with morals blah blah unless that is the strategy itself :)

And if a brand makes false claims like F&L why do you think it sells the way it sells? If people can't notice a difference do you think they will continue to use it?
And aren't most of us sri lankans have a liking to the fairer kind? and if that's the case and if the brand in concern can give a solution to it at a price what's wrong with that?
Brands are there to answer to peoples's needs... Even if it's a perceived benefit as long as the brand delivers it i don't see why one should bash a brand.

And i believe that the Queens initial posts were on how brands contribute to shaping people's opinions about dark/Fair skinned people... I totally don't buy that :)
Apologize if i have strayed away from the main focus of things especially when it comes to brands etc since i've been an adman for over 6 years and those views tend to come in when at times it's unwarranted.
My view is that People should have the freedom to decide what right and what's wrong... just because a brand "exploits" and human behavior to it's gain doesn't make it evil nor is it responsible for the way people behave etc.
People have the choice to either embrace or reject a brand and it's behavior in the market place and society at large

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