Vitamin Stree calls out India's obsession with fairness with campaign
Over 90% of women in India cite fairness as a high need area. This is a country where everyone from your grandmother to influencers and celebrities, somehow equate beauty and success with that gorapan. In this episode of Scratching the Surface, Vitamin Stree takes a closer look at India and its obsession with white skin.
Colourism is the bias against dark skin tones that views white skin as the ultimate benchmark. Ancient writings and scriptures suggest that earlier, dark skin was considered more beautiful until the Aryans came along. Enter the British and colourism took on a whole new angle of discrimination. Centuries of conditioning made us believe that only fair skin was truly beautiful, and today from home remedies to fairness creams and from Spa’s to beauty clinics, an average Indian is spending anywhere from 20Rs. to 2,00,000Rs., just to achieve that nikhri tvacha. It’s not just about the money, fairness creams contain toxic chemicals like mercury which could lead to mercury poisoning and clinical treatments can even make your skin peel away (Stevens Johnsons Syndrome).
The physical and psychological effects of colourism are real and can have lasting, even traumatic, impacts.
So, the question we need to ask ourselves is what is beauty? Is it a checklist of requirements one needs to tick-off to qualify as beautiful? Or does beauty, well, lie in the eyes of the beholder? In this case yourself.
Anisha Sharma, Creative Director: “Colourism is such an ingrained bias, that most women don't even realise how it is perpetuated in everyday life. Through this video, we wanted to show how, whether you're at home or in a doctor's clinic, there's a constant stream fairness treatment being offered to you. Skin lightening, de-tanning or whitening treatments - call it by any other name, but it doesn't take away the very real psychological effects this can have. Women are made to feel like something is wrong with their natural skin colour when, in fact, these different shades should be celebrated. Slow change is happening, but we hope that Vitamin Stree's latest video will help spark a conversation around this very important topic.”
Executive Producer: Padmini Vaidyanathan
Creative Director: Anisha Sharma
Scriptwriter: Aashna Sharma
Director: Srishti Jayin
DOP: Nishi Dugar
Lead Producer: Pankhuri Ranjan
Associate Producer: Akshat Gupta
Art Assistants: Jieya Rawal
Edit & Grade: Ronit Soin
Sound Mix: Akrti
Graphic Design: Shivani Danave
Voice-over: Anisha Sharma
Title & End Slate Graphics: Alafiya Hasan
Title Animation: Shikha Sharma
Camera Attendants: Tanmay Mahato, Nitesh Jadhav
Spot Boy: Ilyas Shaikha