Revamping beauty standards: Can the word “Gorapan” be associated with beauty?

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Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by the government comes as a relief

A close look at the advertisement and one can tell how fairness is equated with beauty by some Indian brands. For a country which is known for its religious and ethnic diversity, an ad showing a woman’s dull complexion as the source of her misery in life is highly immoral and unethical. Thankfully, while it was okay to show such ads a decade ago, they now meet with a disapproving headshake— a testament to the country’s progress towards inclusivity and diversity.

Beauty comes in multiple forms and the probability of two people looking alike is always low. Thus, promoting a very discriminatory idea of beauty by claiming that their products can make people look fairer, younger or taller, is often a ground for many insecurities.

This called for some regulations and the proposed draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by the government comes as a major positive move. The amendment proposed to fine or award stringent punishment in form of Rs 10 lakh in fine and up to two years of imprisonment for first-time offence, to all the companies that claim to make a person look younger, fairer or taller.

What about the mind-set?

Though this is largely perceived as a positive step and the companies would certainly have to inculcate such measures to avert a penalty or punishment, however what about the mind-set of common people. There have been multiple reports on how Indian school textbooks define beautiful as someone who is fair.

While advertisements don’t clearly set beauty standards, they do help promote them if shown recklessly. Brands bank of the society’s insecurities and launch their respective products in the market, without any responsibility.

While Indian society moves towards a more all-inclusive approach, having this ban was mandatory and can shape the way people perceive beauty.

Last modified: November 2, 2020

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