Sunday, March 30, 2014

Indian obsession for fair skin

'Unfair' obsession
While many people in west tan their skin and take sunbath to avoid skin cancer, dark people are obsessed with fairness – not just females but males too surprisingly. It’s totally ridiculous to see young males running behind fairness while lacking basic qualities, strengths and abilities to cope with the world. More surprisingly, they even avoid walking or moving in sunlight due to fear of getting darker. They are defying their traditional role as hunter-gatherer-protectors who take physical challenges and prove their true masculinity.

What kind of society and culture we are heading to? Is it a really 'healthy' pursuit? In traditional India, darker complexion is valued aesthetically and especially women with darker skin are
still considered as truly appealing and glamorous by critics. Fair models are told to tan their skin before walking on ramp with costume they are exhibiting. Both lord Ram and Krishna, mythological idols and superheroes of Indian culture, were dark (or blue?) in complexion as per ancient manuscripts and paintings.

Do you really know why our skin gets darker when it is exposed to sunlight? Basically, skin itself is a largest organ that covers our whole body. In general, complexion of one’s skin is determined by amount of melanin production and it produces to avoid harmful penetration of sun rays into body i. e. melanin is a natural sun-screen. Amount of skin darkness is directly proportionate to amount of sunlight it is exposed to. So why black people are too much obsessed for fairness?

Difference in complexion is related with climate and exposure to sunlight.
This obsession has originated from medieval era in which social status was determined by physical appearance of any person and especially color of its skin. It was directly linked with distribution of resources, control over it and kind of work one has to do for materialistic achievements. Fair complexion presumably conveys(really?) that an individual has/can control over those who work under sun i.e. labor class or if not then fair looking person has higher mental abilities ("smartness") so that it can work by staying under roof and doesn’t need to engage in physical (hard) work. Eventually, complexion led to hierarchical or socio-economical 'racism'!

Fairness pressure?
The complexion of an individual (on the scale - from pitch dark to “ghostly” fair) is what it needs to do for bread and butter hence it conveys overall socio-economical status of the person or a group it belongs to. This assumption has been further boosted and promoted by cosmetic manufacturers and fashion magazines. Skin fairness in women is also a selection pressure posed by males in this way - Fairer woman is who stays under roof, doesn't go out much often and take care of its children only. So white skin of women is an assurance of their 'commitment to household activities' only?

One hard truth, and as all people of various complexions know well, is that any individual without required immunity, resources, physical qualities and mental abilities cannot survive over a long time. Hence besides spending money on fairness treatments which can possibly pose harm to your skin, genes and fertility; pay more attention to your health. No matter complexion bias stays or vanishes but no one can challenge sense of self-worth and inner strengths for sure.

Cosmetic companies world over have made billions by selling fairness creams to people having inferiority complex about their darker complexions. Models and actors working in advertisements of such products are born with fairer complexion at first place and we're fooled by the way they promote false and possibly hazardous promises which are packed in beautiful bottles, tubes and sachets.

Please go through following links to know unfair effects of such fairness products:

Also do watch this great debate which was recently conducted by NTDV under title "We The People: an 'un'-fair obsession?" (URL:

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