My friends at the Women of Worth (WOW) have this campaign on called "Dark is beautiful - beauty beyond colour" and asked me to do a sketch for it. India is odd in many ways - one of them is that despite being of one race, we're all of different shades. Instead of flaunting this variety filled shade card, society has (as usual) found a way to make something nasty out of it. Numerous people are differentiated and discriminated not by their personalities or skills but by something that is not in their hands.
Although, both men and women face this ordeal, I must admit that it is more strongly felt by women. I mean, women who are one shade darker than almost-caucasian are termed as "having less colour" (here, the less colour you have, the darker you are - yes, it doesn't make sense which is why this is still an issue). And yet, men who are darker than dark are hailed as superstars and heroes. It's okay for extremely dark-skinned men (also now termed as "wheatish") to demand for "fair" brides but rarely the other way round.
Anyway, the point is not to say one is beautiful and the other is not or that one is better than the other (more about the campaign here). But I must say that it is ridiculous to continue to believe that one can do things better or become more popular if only they became shades lighter. First of all, it's not really possible with fairness creams and second, if you're going to have attitude issues even if you're Snow White, you're going to lose your job and your popularity.
Personally, I'm extremely bothered by the distastefully ghastly fairness cream adverts out there that basically tell people that creative agencies must think they're so stupid to buy this crap. I know (thanks to ad agency experience) that these products don't work and that they simply play on people's insecurities. If you want to use them anyway for their advanced skin healing technology, go ahead but don't do it because you think that guy/girl will like you if you do.
ps - You can also check out the Facebook page for "Dark is Beautiful"
pps - Don't miss the "Fairly Lovely" product. I won't be surprised if a fairness cream company actually made an ad like this.