If you are passionate about teaching, then Hackberry offers you franchise opportunities to turn this passion into your profession. Fill out the form now!
Is fairness the be-all and end-all of life? Is it fairness, and nothing else besides, that makes women attractive, desirable and eligible for love?
Gargi is a young woman with striking looks – a slender figure, long cascading tresses, limpid doe-eyes and chiseled features. Yet her dark skin tone has made things tough for her. Owing to this natural attribute she is mockingly hailed as kaali kaluti rather than beautiful. Gargi has borne the jibes throughout the twenty eight of her existence. Several prospective grooms have found her ‘not suitable’, overlooking the fact that she is a qualified mechanical engineer from a reputed institute.
Teenager Tanya is a shade luckier. Her saanwali /wheatish complexion jells with her shapely nose, medium sized almond shaped eyes and fine lips. However this does not deter her mother from lamenting how her daughter’s matrimonial prospects would improve if only she had a lighter complexion.
Now consider another instance. Anupama has the fabled peaches and cream complexion, though her facial features are nondescript. But fortunately the lustrous complexion worked wonders and a match fixing was cakewalk for her family.
Why is bright complexion a near obsession for Indians? Possibly because geographically India is a tropical land. Natives of the tropics have darkish skin owing to deposits of melanin, which is a natural sunscreen. Light or fair skin is therefore limited or scarce.
Even otherwise the fetish for ‘white’ skin is evident in our traditions and customs. References to skin tones are interpolated in the popular myths and legends of the land. Shakti, the mother goddess symbolizing creative energy is depicted as Gauri (the fair one). Maa Durga is described as tapta kanchan varna (hue of molten gold). The immaculate white clad Mahagauri (another avatar of Shakti) is also venerated. In contrast the dark deity Mahakaali ,is at once sinister, enigmatic, formidable, awe-inspiring and fearsome. Moving on further, Radha, Lord Krishna’s divine consort is painted as exquisitely beautiful and (again) fair.
Parting ways with legends and folklore, the era of Colonialism witnessed the advent of Europeans in India. Their physical characteristics stumped the local inhabitants to such an extent that they began to consider the former as a superior race. Alongside their untanned skin possibly became a highly covetable trait. And the rest is history.
Like it or not in our daily lives, white, light skinned females are at a premium be it the matrimonial bazaar, advertising world, or showbiz.
In Bollywood potboilers the heroes’ love interests i.e the youthful damsels are invariably fair and consequently hailed as gori. Even some popular and outstanding film songs have goris as their pivot point. In our ad world, top models have light skin tones while the duskier ones can be counted on the fingertips.
Makes one ponder: Is fairness the be- all -and end-all of life? Is it fairness, and nothing else besides, that makes women attractive, desirable and eligible for love?
Coming to the brass tacks ‘dark skin’ assumes the proportion of a stigma, silently traumatizing innumerable innocent souls. This explains the proliferation of skin whitening creams, lotions, and potions galore. The efficacy of these products is debatable but the manufacturers laugh their way to the bank.
The psychological aspects may often be harrowing. Fairer siblings look down on darker ones. As if this was not enough, there are garrulous womenfolk and sundry relatives sending out chilly reminders to parents of not-so-fair daughters, that getting them married would definitely cause hiccups. Such feedbacks create sibling rivalry, jealousy, feuds, low self-esteem and more…
It is time that we as a nation change our mindset. Instead of grumbling, try and explore myriad ways to accentuate the appeal of dark skin. Depending on the individual’s physical appearance one can play around with colours, style, cuts and silhouettes, and the results will certainly be impressive. Efficient use of makeup can also make a difference.
Lapsing into a personal mode let me confess, that several Saanthal (read tribal) women I have met and interacted with possessed the finest, mesmerizing eyes I have ever seen. Their unblemished skin would be the envy of most Divas. Their luxuriant hair was another asset.
We need to bust yet another myth. In mainstream as well as regional cinema many dusky actresses have attained the pinnacle of success fame and glory via onscreen looks and scintillating performances. Many more dark, sensuous actresses with tremendous sex appeal are already steadily climbing the ladder of popularity. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to finally accept the fact that Black is Beautiful?
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. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
I lent a gorgeous saree to my house-help for a wedding in her family. Soon I stated getting questions if I would wear that saree again or if I was okay to be seen wearing the same saree my house-help was wearing?
We are all so conditioned to give our used clothes to our house-helps but are we okay to wear the clothes they were wearing?
A few days ago she came excitedly to me, “I am going for a family wedding. I want to wear your red & black saree, Ill wash and give it to you after the function. Please can you let me wear it?”
Beauty is a very clever, very evil capitalist tool. It traps those who have it into hanging on to it for dear life and those who don't into mutilating, torturing themselves to achieve the unachievable.
I recently wrote a piece about MP Shashi Tharoor’s tweet in which he had shared a pic with six women parliamentarians tagging them and saying “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?”
There was a rash of comments on the post shared on Instagram, which ranged from “chill, it’s just a compliment” and “stop overthinking compliments”, to (worried) men lamenting about “these feminazi”.
Here’s my answer to all those comments.
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? (more…)
An article about India and its obsession for fair skin.
My daughter was excluded from the Oppana school dance because she wasn’t ‘fair.’ As a dark-skinned person myself, I’ve faced very low self-esteem, which I don’t want for my daughter. But is our country ready for change?
My daughter jolted me out of my philosophical voyage and told me about her dance practice at school for some competition. She was participating in Oppana. Oppana is a traditional dance of Kerala. It is performed in a Muslim bride’s home as a part of her pre-wedding celebration where the bride in all her finery is seated center stage. A very excited child, she told me “when the teacher goes out during the practice we all fight to be the bride.” The first thought that came to me was, was she already nurturing thoughts of being a bride? No matter how much we talk about empowering women, some instincts are so natural; all little and big girls play the bride game in childhood.. Then she said “fairest and most beautiful girls become the bride. That’s why I was not taken as a bride. I am not so fair and not so beautiful.” . The ‘Fair & Lovely’ syndrome had entered my life and invaded our family.
She told me that the teacher first selected a few girls from the class and took them to a room. There she first selected five fair girls and then called in two other teachers to select the fairest to be the bride. She, my daughter, was qualified only for the first round, where girls were called in without complexion as a decisive factor. The next two rounds she was not a participant. This is a prevalent factor right across the schools; the bride for Oppana would only be the fairest girl in the group. Right there, we have a terrible bias.
My daughter told me that the teacher first selected a few girls from the class and took them to a room. There she first selected five fair girls and then called in two other teachers to select the fairest to be the bride. She, my daughter, was qualified only for the first round, where girls were called in without complexion as a decisive factor. The next two rounds she was not a participant.Read Full Article
My daughter told me that the teacher first selected a few girls from the class and took them to a room. There she first selected five fair girls and then called in two other teachers to select the fairest to be the bride. She, my daughter, was qualified only for the first round, where girls were called in without complexion as a decisive factor. The next two rounds she was not a participant.