Updated: Apr 15
Everyone comes across a disparate description of fairness advertisement while watching Television, online podium, etc. Our social media platforms are tormented by fair products. Everyone must have wielded some kind of fairness product at least once in their lifetime through stimulations made by the fairness advertisement. Some people continue to utilize it, still, they don’t resemble as which was projected in an advertisement. Does it amount to deceiving the consumers? Most of the end-users are unaware of the recent Bill regarding the fairness advertisement.
The fairness cream is the composition of natural products accompanied by chemicals like steroids, they are perilous to human skin and may cause many side effects including skin cancer. The craze for lighter skin in everyone’s mind conceals these facts and utilizes the product. Many of the fairness creams cause rashes and diseases. The country has a long-standing obsession with fair skin. The fairness cream entered the market only because of the high demand for it. In 1919 the first fairness cream emerged in India. It shows the presence of indirect racism even before the independence of the country. Though from 1919 fairness cream was present, the peak level of demand occurred only after the rise of "fair and lovely" in 1975. Fairness has become super most requirement of humans. For decades it was only influencing women but in 2005 it started haunting men too.
HAUNTING THROUGH FAIRNESS:
A misleading advertisement is an act that promotes unfair competition. It spawns a false impression on consumers and prejudices the honest competitors. The “India Fairness Cream and Bleach Market Overview, 2018 to 2023 “report estimated that the women fairness cream category is foreseen to yield INR. 5,000 Crore revenue by the end of 2023. They try to balance beauty with fairness and healthy skin. They try to depict that fairness will increase our standard of life. They make use of the social stigma available in our society and diminishes the transparency with the product. These advertisements create a strong loyalty upon the people’s mind that fairness ensures tenacity. These fairness advertisement has created an image that dark skins are a curse. Time has arrived to reveal the reality. Despite having a majority population of dark-skinned people, a toxic relationship exists with fairness cream in India. Unfortunately, many celebrities lend their faces for fairness ads. Fans get attracted because of it and become the end-users of the product. Fairness products have underestimated dark skin and tagged it as an undesirable trait. And it greatly creates an inferior complex among the dark-skinned.
THE RECENT BILL:
Earlier in 2014 certain guidelines were issued by the Advertising Standard Council of India which prohibited any kind of discrimination against dark skins relating to finding a spouse, job opportunities, and promotion. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced a ban on ads that failed to comply with the ASCI code in 2014. The result was nearly 50 fairness advertisements were taken off-air. In 2015 Delhi Consumer Court slapped a fine of 15 lakhs for misrepresenting the public through fairness advertisement.
Now the Government has made another stiffer move against fairness advertisement. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare finished the amendment bill of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954 recently. It aims at banning those advertisements which bolster fairness creams, increasing intellectual and physical growth of grownups or kids, anti-aging, anti-hair fall, etc. The purpose of the Bill is to discourage body dysmorphia that may hurt the ultimate consumers. The proposed bill will make the companies pursue truthful practices and sidestep from trickery. Once the Bill comes into effect everyone involving in such activity in any mode like banners, advertisement, invoices, websites, and audiovisual representation will be chastened. Under Section.7 of the Bill, the offender for the first time is penalized with imprisonment which may extend to two years or a fine of ten lakh or both. On subsequent conviction, imprisonment mat be increased to five years and a fine of fifty lakh. This Bill keeps pace with the dynamic nature of community and technology. The significance of this bill is the enhanced punishment, gave a broader definition for the term Advertisement, sought for public objections or comments upon the draft bill. The government has drafted in the right direction, it is a need of an hour for the change in the mindset of purchasers. The plight that gives preference for lighter skin must shift. The full-fledged implementation makes a key to a new change.
The obsession with vanity and lighter skin is not a new phenomenon. Cracking down such activity is essential. Fairness is never a yardstick to measure beauty. Time has arrived to regress for such ads. Such advertisements are toxic to the nation. Every consumer must stop buying the product and recognize the fact that no standard of beauty available on it. The effective implementation of the bill will make a drastic change in society. Nevertheless, the Bill aims at banning fairness and the product will run in the darknet of the market. Only the advertisement dies not the product. The creams may also disguise themselves under any other label. A revised law is required to eradicate it from the market. According to a recent survey India's fairness industry valuation to 450 million US dollars. The intention of the bill can turnout optimistic results only when it is implemented effectively. The fairness cream is not so fair anymore. India is a country known for its nature of "Unity in Diversity". We should celebrate our own identities. Beauty is beyond color be it dark or fair.
- LEGAL HUMMING
(CO-AUTHOR ANCY )