Pakistani society is obsessed with fair skin because fair is considered beautiful. This is the reason why fairness products have a big market. The leading brands in the country have been for the longest time promoting their fairness products on different forums with electronic media playing a major role in helping them put the message across. Many girls in Pakistan have grown up watching commercials in which girls who are fairer get more attention from the men and there have also been those ads that promise good rishtas to all the fair maidens. This love for fair skin was already prevalent in society, these ads further endorse the idea and use it to sell their products. While some of the leading companies are being more tactful now, there are others who still follow the same guideline.
Fair and Lovely is one of the most leading brands which endorses fair skin. The name itself suggests that only fair is lovely! Faiza beauty cream is another brand that celebrities do not endorse but many girls who wish to be fair turn to it. Faiza beauty cream has blatantly shown how women who are not fair are sad and how their life changes when their complexion turns lighter. All these fairness products naturally make the most of the insecurities of not just the girls but also the boys.
Celebrities Who Endorsed Fairness Creams
There is pressure on the men too to look better which is why these brands came up with special creams for men. Few of the Pakistani celebrities have time and again endorsed these fairness creams. Unlike before these celebrities faced a lot of public backlash. Recently Aiman Khan, Mawra Hocane, and Sajal Ali were the faces for one of the leading brands and the public was outraged.
The world over these fairness creams are being subjected to criticism not just because of the pressures they put on girls but also because of their ingredients. Even then many Pakistani celebrities are sure that there is nothing wrong with promoting them. Mawra Hocane defended her decision to endorse one such cream when she was criticized by people on social media. Sajal Aly stayed quiet but obviously she has no problem endorsing them. Hina Altaf too endorsed one of the fairness creams because of which she too was subjected to a great deal of criticism.
Sugarcoating The Message
These brands are now trying to be politically correct by promoting spotless skin instead of fair one but how can one ignore the fact that the word fair is part of their brand! Fair and Lovely has been holding events in which they help girls further their careers. Their ads too have changed and now career women are shown using these creams instead of these creams being used by girls who are desperately seeking to get married. Sugarcoating the message does not change what their creams actually endorse.
Cosmetic Procedures For Fairness
Apart from the fairness creams, the latest trend now is the fairness cosmetic treatments that make the skin lighter. Nowadays it is really common for celebrities to get these injections and treatments. One of the leading celebrities Fahad Mustafa admitted that he had to get fairness injections because there is no place for men in the Pakistani industry who are not good-looking. This means that for men too fair is the only way to look good. Benita David also admitted that she got whitening injections and feels more confident now.
On talk shows very often the hosts dedicate an entire show to telling tips and tricks including cosmetic procedures to get fairer skin. It won’t be wrong to say that celebrities and the media have played a major role in glorifying fair skin. Instead of clearing out the misconception and making people feel comfortable in their own skin, few of the celebrities have time and again said things and participated in shows which endorse the notion that fair indeed is the only criteria for beauty.
Celebrities Who Spoke Against The Notion
The silver lining is that there are few such celebrities too who have started speaking out against this obsession with fair complexion. Not only this they have also condemned the idea that a person should only consider themselves beautiful if they are fair. All these celebrities in their own way have put a really good message across because that is exactly what the younger generation needs to hear.
Here are those celebrities who spoke against the fair skin complex in society and also shunned fairness creams campaigns.
Mahira Khan is a superstar of the Pakistani entertainment industry therefore her voice matters a lot. Mahira Khan has naturally fair skin but she has never been seen endorsing these fairness creams. On the contrary, when Mahira Khan gave an interview to BBC Urdu, she talked against the idea that fair alone is beautiful. Mahira Khan said that celebrities play a key role in formulating public opinion therefore instead of promoting such outdated social concepts, the celebrities should be consciously working to change this mindset. She said that while it was everyone’s choice whether they wanted to work in fairness creams commercials or not but for her it was not an option. Mahira Khan clearly said that she had strictly decided not to do any fairness creams commercials.
Iqra Aziz has a beautiful complexion which she embraces with the utmost confidence. Iqra Aziz is also one of those few celebrities who do not whitewash their faces with lighter shades of foundation to look fairer. Iqra Aziz gained a lot of popularity after two of her dramas were extremely popular among the masses. Yasir Hussain in a post told his fans and followers that he was really proud of his fiancé Iqra who had refused to endorse a whitening cream brand. Even though this brand was more than willing to pay Iqra a hefty amount for the job but Iqra Aziz did not want to be part of any campaign which adds to the gora complex in society. Yasir Hussein said that this was a bold step in the right direction. Iqra Aziz was praised by people on social media for her decision.
Mansha Pasha was shocked to know that Faiza beauty cream used her face to promote their products. Her fans too were equally shocked and asked her for an explanation since Mansha Pasha is another actress who has never endorsed such creams. She clearly does not believe in doing so either.
After seeing this ad she turned to social media to share her anger and also put the point across that she did not believe that fair alone was beautiful. In her post, she wrote, “What is wrong with people? For the record I haven’t done any fairness cream campaigns, I don’t believe in it. This is not an endorsed campaign I haven’t done it. It’s a used picture. And why do people keep obsessing over color?? Yes, I used to be darker, I’m still tan but light, camera, angles make a huge difference! People grow people change. Stop obsessing guys! Dark, tan, fair it’s all beautiful in its own way! It’s your thinking that’s all!”
Nadia Jamil is a woman of substance who believes in speaking her mind. She lives her life in a meaningful way by changing the lives of those people who are less fortunate. Nadia Jamil was invited as a guest on Samina Peerzada’s talk show in which she talked passionately about everything. When the show went on air it was sponsored by Fair & Lovely. Nadia Jamil found this quite disturbing since she had no idea that this fairness brand was sponsoring the show. She took to Facebook to share how she felt about it. Nadia Jamil wrote, “I cannot and do not endorse the need for ANY woman to lighten her skin to look more attractive. A woman’s dark skin is her beauty. She should wear it with extreme pride and love! Yes, we women come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and personas. Deal with it world. Respect them all, please. Stop telling us and making money off brainwashing the planet as to what our standard for beauty needs to be. We are all beautiful. Racism should not be endorsed. Body shaming should not be endorsed.” She also said that although she had great respect for Samina Peerzada she wanted to distance herself from, ” he heinously racist and demoralizing brand Fair and Lovely. I had no idea they sponsor the interview I have recorded. Till right now.”
Mussarat Misbah is a beautician and a philanthropist. She has worked hard to set up her own businesses and is now seen helping other women build their lives. In a special press conference, Mussarat Misbah talked about the negative impacts of fairness creams. When the international study regarding these creams was made public Mussarat Misbah reached out to the public to educate them about the side effects of these creams. She also requested women to accept themselves the way they were because being fair was not the criteria for beauty. Mussarat Misbah has her own cosmetic brand as well and she ensures that she caters to women with all skin tones. Mussarat Misbah is dead against fairness creams and she believes that every woman is beautiful.
Ali Gul Pir
Rapper and comedian Ali Gul Pir is an outspoken celebrity who uses his fame to point out the flaws in the social fabric. In an interview, while talking about a song he was working on, he discussed how this song was inspired by the nicknames people give those individuals who are not fair and the way society endorses the obsession with fair complexion. Ali Gul Pir also shared that some people in the industry had also given him contact numbers of professionals who would help him be fair and beautiful! Ali Gul Pir also stated that there were so many celebrities who were getting whitening injections to get better roles. He, however, stated that while men can be accepted more readily even with a complexion that isn’t too fair, for women in our society it is a must to have a fair complexion. Ali strongly believes that being dark is okay and even more importantly every person should embrace their own natural complexion.
Mushk Kaleem is new in the modeling world but she has already made a big name for herself and is seen as a force to reckon with. Mushk Kaleem took a stand and spoke up against those clients who want her to look ‘white’ for shoots. She clearly said, “No, I’m not a pearlescent white-skinned girl, I’m dusky and bronze. To all the clients who book me for shoots and then expect me to douse myself in lighter makeup to make me look ‘acceptable for lawn’, I’d rather say you not book me at all.” She went on to say, “My skin color defines me, it’s who I am, so if you feel like you need to whiten me up so that I match therequirements of the brief, or the shoot’ or because ‘Lahoris have issues with dark models for summer lawn’ or whatever, please don’t consider me for your shoots.” This was a really bold step by a model who has just started her career but it was definitely a step in the right direction.
Juggun Kazim has naturally fair skin but she is never seen promoting fairness chemical products and she also does not glorify fair skin like it is an added attribute that helps people feel and do better in life. Juggun Kazim often helps women look their best through her YouTube videos. In these videos, she is often seen telling women not to use fairness creams. She clearly has said many times that having clean bright skin is more important than having fair skin. Juggun Kazim like other celebrities in this list is of the opinion that everyone is born with a specific complexion which they should accept because all complexions are beautiful. At the same time, Juggun helps people get cleaner skin which in her opinion is more important and something which naturally enhances the complexion. She is all for using natural ways to enhance the complexion but is dead against fairness creams.
Eman Suleman is a woman on a mission, she is constantly seen speaking about issues boldly which most people in the industry are afraid to talk about. Eman refused to go to the Lux Style Awards this year to support the #MeToo movement even though she was nominated in the ‘Best Emerging Talent in Fashion’ category. Eman also talks about the pressures on women to look beautiful very often. Although she is a model she is much more than just another pretty face. When Sajal Aly revealed that she was going to be endorsing Fair and Lovely, in her insta story Eman Suleman asked a genuine question which showed her take on the obsession with fairness in Pakistani society.
Amna Illyas is a dusky model who very often talks about how her complexion made her journey difficult yet she made it this far. Amna Illyas has often said that all those girls out there who think that only fair women can make it far should draw inspiration from her. Even when she was awarded the Lux Style Award for best female model, she talked about her complexion and how she had proved a point that needed to be heard. In another interview, she in a straightforward manner shared, “I’ve gone through phases in my life where I have been constantly depressed. For example, I started out at the same time as Ayyan, who everyone knows is not only drop-dead gorgeous but also fair. We were contemporaries, yet for a period of time Ayyan was getting all the work and I was getting nothing. That was really tough. Luckily I had good friends to support and encourage me. Television and ad campaigns preferred the gora faces so I turned my attention towards editorial work and found my strength.” Amna Illyas is definitely a stunning beauty who has proved that Fair alone is not lovely!
Yasir Hussain is known for speaking his mind even though quite often he gets into trouble for sharing his opinions. When Zara Noor Abbas was under severe criticism for endorsing a fairness cream brand, Yasir Hussain did not comment about it directly but in his Instagram story, he suggested that Pakistan should be the first country to ban fairness creams. He also applauded his wife Iqra Aziz for refusing to do a fairness cream commercial. He is definitely one of those celebrities who believe in owning their complexion and are not afraid of speaking the truth.
Saboor Aly is one of the most popular Pakistani actresses who doesn’t often talk about such issues but lately, she did talk about it. In a recent interview, Saboor Aly talked candidly about the Pakistani drama industry’s obsession with fairness in general. In this interview, she stated that the actresses who are fair get lead roles easily while those like her who are not too fair have to struggle a lot. She talked about the gora complex and said that this is the mindset that leads people to eventually get cosmetic procedures done. According to her if you are not fair then you have to work twice as hard in the industry.
Hareem Farooq is an actress and a producer who has played the leading role in many hit Pakistani films. She is another actress who refused to endorse fairness creams because she does not believe that fair is beautiful. In an Instagram post she revealed that the secret to her glowing skin was her healthy lifestyle and good company. Hareem believes that these ‘totkas’ work the best.
Ayesha Omar is a big name in the industry, she has worked really hard to get where she is today and over the years she has become wiser therefore her stance on different issues has also changed. Ayesha Omar did endorse fairness creams when she joined the industry but lately, she has stopped doing so. In a tweet, she shared that she had not endorsed any fairness creams for over 12 years and she has a really strong stance about the issue. She is clearly someone who does not want to endorse that fair is beautiful.
Popular singer Momina Mustehsan is known for her intelligent stance on different issues apart from her amazing singing skills. In a Tweet Momina Mustehsan shared her views about the gora complex that exists in our society and revealed that she had always turned down fairness products endorsements. She went on to say, “The amount of melanin has nothing to do with how beautiful you are.” Momina Mustehsan believes that celebrities can play an important role in changing these trends by refusing to endorse such creams. She feels that as a celebrity she has a bigger responsibility to send the right kind of messages to her fans.
It is good to see that there are plenty of Pakistani celebrities who have openly talked against the obsession with fair skin and with the creams which promise fair complexion. It is definitely time for a change and Pakistani celebrities can play a major role in bringing about this change by refusing to endorse such creams. Lately, because of this pressure, Fair & Lovely changed its name which was a huge deal and it has started including models in their campaign who are not all fair. The fact however remains that as a society we have a long way to go since fair is still considered beautiful and some of those actresses who are not fair often do not get roles because of their complexion. Things are the same vis a vis male actors as well. This shows the mindset of people and how people who are fair are liked and readily accepted by the viewers.
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