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By refusing to promote a fairness cream, Sai Pallavi has set an example for other celebrities. Her unwillingness to use or promote such products makes her a great role-model for the many women shamed for having dark skin.
In a tropical climate like India, dark skin is an evolutionary advantage. The naturally higher amounts of melanin in dark skin absorb UV rays and reduce the negative effects of the same. In our society however, dark skin is regarded as a disadvantage. The marriage market demands ‘fair skinned’ brides, and the narrative that dark is ugly is pushed even on impressionable children.
Needless to say that this obsession with fairness, be it because of internalized racism or international beauty standards skewed towards ‘whiteness’, has led to an ever increasing demand for skin-lightening creams and other similar products. Even though these products are usually ineffective and often contain harmful ingredients.
The estimated worth of the fairness cream industry in India is $450 million. This booming industry often enlists popular movie stars and celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Priety Zinta, Deepika Padukone, Shahrukh Khan and others in peddling these creams by paying them big bucks. A couple of years ago, actor Abhay Deol had garnered praise for calling out celebrities who had endorsed such products. He had also praised celebrities like Nandita Das, Kangana Ranaut, Ranbir Kapoor and Randeep Hooda for going against this trend.
The latest actor to refuse to endorse fairness creams is actor Sai Pallavi, who first won hearts for her performance in the hugely popular Malayalam movie, Premam. Considering that people in the south of India are widely considered to be more dark skinned and are often mocked for it, Sai Pallavi’s refusal to endorse the product, for which she was reportedly being offered Rs 2 crores, is a huge step.
In fact, Sai Pallavi wears little to no makeup on screen, and has never shied away from showing her natural skin, acne and all. Her popularity, in spite of this, is testimony to the fact that talent and hard work are much more important than conforming to arbitrary beauty standards.
As a ‘fair skinned’ South Indian woman who has seen loved ones try and discard one skin lightening product after another; as someone who is hyper aware of the advantages that my lighter skin tone offers me; and as someone who has been witness to brilliant and talented women putting themselves down because of their insecurity about their skin colour, I cannot help but cheer for Sai Pallavi and her confidence in herself.
May the tribe of such women, who are confident in their natural skin increase!
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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'Sania denied fairy-tale ending: suffers loss in AUS open final' says a news headline. Is this the best we can do? Is it a fitting tribute to one of the finest athletes we have in our country?
Sania Mirza bid an emotional and tearful farewell to her Grand Slam journey as a runner up in the mixed doubles final. Headlines read –
“Sania Mirza breaks down in tears while recalling glorious career after defeat in Grand Slam’
“Sania denied fairy-tale ending: suffers loss in AUS open final”
As parents, we put a piece of our hearts out into this world and into the custody of the teachers at school and tuition and can only hope and pray that they treat them well.
Trigger Warning: This speaks of physical and emotional violence by teachers, caste based abuse, and contains some graphic details, and may be triggering for survivors.
When I was in Grade 10, I flunked my first preliminary examination in Mathematics. My mother was in a panic. An aunt recommended the Maths classes conducted by the Maths sir she knew personally. It was a much sought-after class, one of those classes that you signed up for when you were in the ninth grade itself back then, all those decades ago. My aunt kindly requested him to take me on in the middle of the term, despite my marks in the subject, and he did so as a favour.
Math had always been a nightmare. In retrospect, I wonder why I was always so terrified of math. I’ve concluded it is because I am a head in the cloud person and the rigor of the step by step process in math made me lose track of what needed to be done before I was halfway through. In today’s world, I would have most probably been diagnosed as attention deficit. Back then we had no such definitions, no such categorisations. Back then we were just bright sparks or dim.
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