Today’s topic is one of my least favorite things in India. Skin Whitening.
This topic just chaps my arse as my Dad would say.
Growing up in America as a girl, the ‘in’ thing was to be tan. You could buy sun tanning lotions or just use baby oil mixed with iodine, no matter what your darkening poison; there was something for everyone in order to obtain that rich ‘healthy’ glow.
And then the creams for the burns that always came with them.
But then the tans were lovely and wonderful and just so ‘in’ and ‘cool’.
Until our Mother’s generation started having serious issues with skin cancer and any other number of problems that arose from tanning their hides.
Now we all know better and go for the spray on tan or creams. We stay out of the sun. In some cases, light skin is coming back into ‘fashion’ (ugh….another thing I hate….fashion).
But I never once thought “Hey…I’m not going to get that job if I go in all pasty white.” Or “Hey, I’m never going to get a guys attention if I don’t get a tan.”
But here in India, it’s just the opposite and goes far more to the extremes. Here Fair IS Lovely. Here, being fair will get you the job, the girl/guy, the good family, the movie part, the best service, the most notice on the matrimonial sites.
Well-settled prof match for daughter 26/5’1″ PG, Diploma Textile design & Computers, beautiful, slim, fair girl. Status family. Early & decent marriage.
Or here’s the reason why you aren’t getting that job:
I mean seriously? Why would any company want to reinforce this kind of stereotyping?
Look at these pictures of famous Bollywood actresses….some are my personal favorites.
Rani, Kajol and Deepika are all lovely, beautiful and talented and yet they can’t seem to be so in the eyes of the Indian public unless they’ve been lightened with chemicals, slavered with whitening makeup and put under high intensity lights so that they ‘glow’.
Don’t get me wrong, their lovely even with all that and if the role calls for it I’m all for character enhancement, but in this case it’s become the norm for men and women.
Yes, even the men do this. There are Fair and Handsome creams. Shahrukh Khan, John Abraham and Shahid Kapoor all do their bit for the Fair and Handsome cream adverts we see so often on ZeeTV.
And why? Aren’t they handsome as they are? I mean, everybody has got blotchy skin or dark patches under the eyes…but that can be smoothed out with makeup that matches our skin tone.
What is the big deal with dark skin in India anyway? How far back does this go? Is it, as some have said a reaction to British might or does it go back farther than that? Many have said that it’s because of India’s history of invasion and those invading forces always tended to be lighter skinned. Others will say that it goes back even further than that and has its roots in the caste system. What this means is that the higher castes did not have to work outside and therefore were lighter skinned. High caste = Fair Skinned = Desirable.
Just when did people start becoming obsessed with the color of skin equating the prowess of the person?
And with those questions that I leave unanswered….I give you this last little example of obsession gone wrong.
I prefer the original any day of the week and twice on Sunday’s.