Skin colour, Indian politicians, and an age-old prejudice

“Here people are awed by fair skin

Matrimonial ads also ask for fair skinned brides

” He further added, “In the entire country, there are more saanvle (dark-skinned) men

The women of South are beautiful, their bodies

their skin

We don’t see it here

” Perhaps he said it as a joke or perhaps he spoke carelessly without realising

Whatever the case may be, it led to a predictable barrage of reactions from foreseeable corners; feminists, anti-racists, anti-fair skin activists and the anti-sexists

However, I felt this hype and attention was unwarranted

Truth be told, he never insinuated that dark meant ugly

Let me clarify, I am not defending the remarks made by this individual

I am merely listing the salient arguments from all angles on the age-old debate between fair and dark-skinned individuals

Starting from the Rig Vedic period, people have prayed for health, cattle, war loot, numerous wives, children and clear white skin

Umpteen recipes are mentioned in the ancient texts for long and lustrous hair, sparkling teeth, jet black eyes, and above all, fair skin

Innumerable mantras and slokas are written and chanted when one is born with clear and fair skin

Many people attribute skin colour to our ancient caste system

Over a period of time, at least in the North, the upper-most caste of priests came to be associated with fair skin

Brown-skinned people were co-related to meagre jobs, such as cleaning, skinning animals and tannery

On the contrary, in a few remote villages of South India, a dark girl is preferred for marriage because it is believed that she will not hesitate to go out in the fields, sweat under the scorching sun while tending to cattle without worrying about getting tanned

A fair-skinned girl is generally understood to be cocooned at home and is not fancied on the marriage market

I for one disagree with colour-based discrimination

Inhabitants of a certain region carry a certain skin tone

Individuals from areas further away from the tropical region, such as individuals from the north, are fairer in comparison to their southern counterparts

Fair and dark-skinned individuals exist in all castes and religions

Therefore, skin colour should not even be an issue

It is just a geographical marker

But mankind, by nature, is never content with what it has

In the West, truckloads are spent on bronzing and tanning treatments

Worldwide, girls with wavy hair go for expensive hair straightening treatments

Women with straight, limply hair want extra volume and waves, hence they spend a lot on shampoos that increase their volume

Salons and spas are filled with women, as well as men, wanting to change or enhance their appearances, such as shaping their eyebrows or getting a double chin reduction

On top of all this, there has been a massive boom in the cosmetology sector

Plastic surgeons are booked to the hilt with clients wanting to restructure their cheeks or other bone structures

Today, it has become a common place practice to opt for a toe or rib removal – the procedure is as long as office lunch hours – just to fit into the latest Jimmy Choo pair of shoes or a Versace gown

Tattooing and piercing are just some of the unusual things people do to enhance their looks

Since time immemorial, people are known to have resorted to extremes to get the ‘perfect body

’ The Chinese system of foot binding is believed to develop strong vaginal muscles due to the small steps they take, which enhances the carnal pleasure of a newly married couple

 Thus, small feet gradually began being identified with attractiveness

Today, the building of the ruptured hymen, which could be due to a sports injury as well, is a common procedure

 Creams for vaginal shrinking and whitening are available in many super markets

However, all these aspects come with their own brand of double standards

If a girl uses recipes for whitening her skin, provided to her by her grandmother, like turmeric or saffron, only then will she be termed an old-fashioned girl

If she buys the same product produced by a multinational company, she is bombarded with the usual salacious comments associated with racism, vanity and narcissism

My mother was worried about my marriage prospects since I was brown skinned

I confess that I too used to apply Fair and Lovely in my high school days

But I must have looked like an awkward multi-coloured parrot with a fair face and dark hands and knees

I realised my folly and stopped soon after

Eventually, I did get married to someone who incidentally is several shades lighter than me

I suppose he preferred my personality over my skin colour

Traditionally, fair skin has been associated with purity, innocence, vulnerability and modesty, whereas dark skin has been associated with virility, danger and machismo

Little wonder that women want tall, dark and handsome husbands and men want fair and dainty maidens as wives

A person should be free to decide how he or she wishes to look like

Majority, if not all, of the people favouring for fairness creams are educated

 The demand is so much that now fairness creams for men have also started doing well

When extreme procedures, such as changing the shape of your body, hair transplants, liposuction, skin tightening and peeling can be done, why are we so touchy when it comes to skin “colouring”?

Date:19-Mar-2015 Reference:View Original Link