The aim of this thesis was to investigate how skin lightening brands in India promoted their products between 2013 and 2018. This thesis provided a more contemporary view on how skin lightening products were marketed in India, moreover, the advertising for skin lightening products for females and for males were compared. To conduct the analysis, critical discourse analysis was applied, to understand the interrelationship between power, language and ideology. To conduct CDA, a total of 102 India television advertisements for skin lightening products were analyzed. The sample represented 47 products and 11 brands. The results indicated that skin lightening brands promoted the ideal that light skin is ‘beautiful’ and more ‘desirable’. Advertisers used strategies that are often associated with cosmetic brands such as a problem-solution model, and the push-pull model. Advertisers promoted the products using stereotypical gender roles, however, also challenged these roles. However, through all the advertisements, there was one ideology that remained constant, in India, light skin equates to beauty. This thesis contributes to existing literature on skin lightening in India by providing a contemporary critique on advertisements between 2013 and 2018. Moreover, this thesis compares how advertisements are constructed for male and female audiences. On a social level, this thesis critically investigates media content which disseminates discourse on skin color bias, colorism and discrimination.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Skin lightening products, Advertising, India, CDA, Gender, Colorism
Thesis Advisor A.M. Hermans
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
H. Mehta. (2019, June 27). ‘For radiant, white skin’ A critical view of advertising for skin lightening products in India. Media & Business. Retrieved from