Research Problem: There has been an increase in the advertisement for Fairness cream for men. Several new brands have cropped up following the lead of Fair and Handsome from Emami, the House of Fair and Lovely, the most popular fairness. We now have Vaseline and Nivea running the race to capture the market of men who wish to have fairer skin. We wished to analyse how the youngsters of today perceive this cream for fairer men, which breaks the conventional image of “Tall, Dark and handsome”. Hence, the question, “What do the Indian youth think about the Fairness Cream for men?” Objective: To understand the perception of the youth towards Fairness Cream for men. Research Methodology: As the first step towards finding the answer to this question, a qualitative research was needed. The projective technique of Association was used.
Association tasks, the most commonly employed projective technique, require subjects to respond to the presentation of an object by indicating the first word, image, or thought elicited by the stimulus. The respondents were provided with two stimuli. First, Fair and Lovely to gauge their idea about fairness cream in general and fairness for women. Next stimulus was Fair and Handsome, the fairness cream for men from the same house. This was done to understand what they felt about fairness for men. Apart from the projective technique, the next method of data collection was obtrusive observation. The respondents were observed to understand and cross check the response of the respondents. Some of the respondents were further probed to understand the reason for their response.
Observations: After collecting the data from a sample size of around 50, which were a good mix of both men and women, ranging from the age of 20 – 28 years, following observations have surfaced: 1. Majority of the people associate fairness cream with the brand ambassador, who generally represent beauty and grandeur. 2. While the most obvious and common association for Fair and Lovely cream was fairness or beauty, the response for Fair and Handsome was mixed. While some people associated it with handsome men, many people responded “Gay”. They believe fairness is associated with women and not something men desire.
3. The third type of response was of those people who believe fairness for men or women is more of stereotyping and not good for the society in general. These people were further probed to inquire about the reason for the same. The response was, “India was ruled by the Whites for a long time. Somehow, Indians associate fair skin with superiority. This is also what the fairness cream advertisement also imply. A girl with fairer skin fares better in all aspects, be it personal or professional life. Similar is the scenario for men with fair skin.” 4. The last perception about fairness cream for both men and women was that they do not work and are just a gimmick to which people fall prey to.