As a nation, we have an unfair obsession with fair skin. We live in a society, which encourages the media world telling us that fairer skin infuses confidence. It promotes that one needs to be fair to be eligible to be loved.
In our country, it is very common to find an advertisement portraying a discouraged, dark-skinned woman to be rejected by her colleagues and other men. And, then in another moment, everything changes for her as she gets her confidence and respect – just because of a bottle of the magical fairness cream. This cream would not only ‘brighten’ her skin but also help her obtain lucrative career offers in a split second.
What these beauty creams ads reflect is our problem with color. But, after years of obsessing over ‘fair’ skin it looks like finally, our country is ready to forego the stereotypes and take a step in a positive direction.
As per the recent report, in order to ban advertisements that promote such false claims, the government has proposed to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. This amendment leads to a ban on all ads promoting fairness and weight-loss.
According to MoneyControl, the draft bill prepared by the government states that it could slap a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment up to five years on brands that make such claims. This bill will be applicable to the advertisements promoting pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, deafness, improvement of height, hair loss or greying, obesity, and others. This particular draft has expanded from just visual advertisements.
“Any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or such other documents: Provided that label or wrapper is an advertisement only if it contains any information or claim other than provided in the rules.”
The draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 also proposes a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to 2 years’ imprisonment in the case of the first offense. And in the case of a subsequent conviction, imprisonment may extend to five years and the fine, up to Rs 50 lakh.
The Ministry stated that the bill will be forwarded within 45 days.
At IFORHER, we are thrilled to see this particular bill being implemented soon. It is a positive step for a society like ours, where the discrimination on the basis of skin color is so prevalent that women are tortured on their skin color every now and then!