You *must* have eye-rolled at this fairness cream ad by now. It depicts a father-daughter duo jogging in a park when the father pitches a potential suitor who has EVERYTHING a young girl could desire ‘a good job, his own house, well-settled’. Since this is a fairness cream commercial, based in India but also shown in Pakistan, the young woman gains confidence to ward off the potential suitor with her OWN plan to get a ‘good job, her own car, etc’ in three years.
Surprisingly, my issue this time around with the fairness creme advertisement is not that the systematic bleaching of one’s skin makes a woman not only more beautiful, but also endows her with wit and savvy. (That is a long-standing objection with the prejudicial and superficial approach that such beauty cream adverts take when marketing to multi-complexion communities such as Pakistan. No complexion takes precedence over another.)
She is effectively bargaining with her parents/guardians for a paltry three years to put into play all that she has learned at university (even Life) before entering into an arranged marriage situation.
Can Fair & Lovely ad execs back up the claim that Snow White makes that she can accomplish all the markings of financial and vocational success fresh out of university in 3 years? a car, home, “good job” in THIS global economy? It is impossible to afford a home independently on just a Bachelor’s degree in Pakistan or India, especially within three years of graduation.
Going with the general dynamics when desi folks go ‘rishta’-ing, it is likely that that the potential groom is at least 5 to 7 years older than our formerly- dark and distressed damsel. Why does this invisible casanova of her father’s dreams get a minimum 5 year advantage on the whole ‘success’ aspect?
This ad reinforces that the double-standard that is glaringly relevant in Pakistani and Indian communities the world over; if a young woman is to experience her adulthood as singleton, she MUST be achieving the very pinnacle of vocational, educational and social success. That, too, on a considerably shorter deadline (leash?) than her male counterparts; to be exact, before her ‘looks’ or ‘charm’ fade into oblivion.
F&L, if you are listening, this may be the one time I will applaud you for illustrating just how drastically societal expectations for young men and women vary, especially when it comes to leading one’s life as an Adult.
What do you think? Drop me a tweet @catalystwoman.