Fair and Lovely lotion – Individual blog


Capitalizing on the cultural norms in South Asia and North America

If you have been to south Asian countries one of the commercials on TV as well as billboards you will see often is of Fair and Lovely, a whitening lotion. Some of the biggest Bollywood stars endorse this product. The cultural norm of skin colour that is most valued is obviously light skin and the preference of light skin represents class structure. I believe it stems from the structure where the working class spends more time working in the sun causing them to have a darker skin. For example, working in field. However, those of wealthier class would be lighter as they do not spend as much of their time outdoor working in the field. Thus, skin colour essentially has become a signifier of socioeconomic class especially in a more traditional society within South Asia. However, it does not mean that such notions are not present in urban areas. In fact, it is more prevalent and reinforced in urban areas. In many ways, a lighter skin signifies one belonging in a higher social class in South Asia. As such, various companies have capitalized on these social norms and created products such as Fair and Lovely. You can see similar patterns in North America as well but the opposite direction. Many products such as spray tan and tanning salons are marketed in North America in the same way. A tan skin represents a social hierarchy  where one has leisure time to be able to  indulge in  tropical vacations. It is interesting to see these binary oppositions but in different ways in South Asia and North America. The basis is the same that it is about representation of social class but the way it is represented differs between North America and South Asia. I realize it is a bit of generalization of both places but I wanted to analyze these two products that are related to the idea of binary opposition. I could be completely wrong but let me know what you folks think. 🙂

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