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The obsession with fair skin for Indian women means women are judged first on their looks, and especially complexion
Nabanita loves to find inspiration in every aspect of life, and use it as a cue to write. She blogs at Random Thoughts and you can also find her on Twitter.
Open any of the matrimonial sites online or glance through the section for ‘wanted brides’ in newspapers. What do you see there? I for one see our regressive society’s sick mentality strewn all across. Yes, I see yet another example of our country’s pathetic attitude towards women as I read the words ‘Seeking a fair girl’ recurring in almost every ad. I don’t know what our fascination with lighter skin color is! I truly don’t but I do know it’s one of the most malignant maladies plaguing our society today.
What do you make of a prospective groom’s sister asking the potential bride why the color of her feet is darker than her face? What sense does it make? Or, what purpose does it serve rather?
A woman is so much more than her skin color. Whether fair or dark how does skin color come into the equation; that too when it comes to a woman? A man can be dark but he’s acceptable? A man can even look like an ogre but still our society warrants his ridiculous objection to a bride with a dark complexion? Why the prejudice?
India! A great nation with one of the world’s oldest and most diverse cultures! Yes, that’s what we hear and read about most of the times, don’t we? We boast of our rich heritage, our traditions. But then suddenly a woman with a darker complexion comes by and our thousands of years’ worth of values go kaput! Why you ask? Well, for one, we don’t even allow a moment’s delay in judging her for her skin color. And second we don’t even realize what we are doing is wrong!
In today’s day and age when the social media and television are powerful mediums of influencing the youth of the nation we still have blinkered advertisements emphasizing on the bizarre need for ‘fairness’. Whether being chosen for marriage or a job, the world seems to revolve around the word ‘fair’.
My darling sister is not what the society calls ‘fair’ but that never stopped her from achieving her dreams. Not for a moment did that make her less capable than a ‘fair’ friend of hers. Of course, there were those concerned aunts and neighbors constantly trying to make her feel inferior but thankfully my parents never had such a regressive outlook. But not all are blessed to have such parents.
I have seen people lament their newborn’s complexion as well. What could be sadder than that?
In school, the moral science books taught us never to judge people based on their looks. But in our very own India a woman’s complexion often becomes the focal point of her existence. And the strange thing is this epidemic has not even spared the supposedly learned few.
I work in what is called an Indian Multinational Company and was of the opinion that it takes an educated man or woman in all respects to work in a cosmopolitan environment. But of course that false belief fizzled out pretty soon when in the internal forum for posting matrimonial ads, I saw the pseudo-educated engineers and MBAs underlining the importance of fairness of skin for either their own or their kith and kin’s prospective partners.
Well, I don’t know how we can change what the society believes in or thinks when it comes to a woman’s skin color. But I want to implore upon all women, especially the young girls in schools and colleges to not weigh their self-worth based on complexion. Remember, as clichéd as it sounds, beauty is but always skin deep. And every skin color is beautiful. Never regret your looks, especially your skin color. We don’t need to be of a certain shade to be good human beings, to be successful and to be happy.
Remember it’s the fairness of heart that’s indispensible and not of the skin.
Today’s changemaker that we’d like to highlight is The Dark Is Beautiful campaign, that seeks to change discriminatory attitudes based on the colour of one’s skin. Using the power of celebrities and other influencers, the campaign seeks to dispel the myth that only fair is lovely. They also conduct workshops in schools to discuss these myths which are imbibed by children very early on.
Currently, the Dark Is Beautiful campaign is also petitioning one of the manufacturers of the many fairness products in India to take down their advertising that promotes the fair is lovely stereotype. Do support!
pic credit: the peach peddler (Used under a Creative Commons license)
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Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
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