One morning I was just randomly scrolling through the Sunday special newspaper, I reached the matrimonial page and I don’t know for what reason but decided to stay. I started with the ‘groom wanted’ section. The first proposal read as “girl 26/5’3″, B.tech MBA cultured ,very fair fair-looking for good looking and equally fair boy.” Moving on to the next one, “girl 22/5’6″, Bsc, well mannered, moderately fair (dusky), looking for well earning groom.” Almost all of these proposals had mentions of the complexion of the bride, surprisingly many of them did not even talk much about her personality or values. I read the ‘bride wanted’ section as well and there too I saw the same kind of descriptions.
Now, giving an ad in the newspaper is really an expensive affair, where every inch matters and imagine spending that golden space on the skin color of the bride or the groom, that is how deep-rooted the obsession with fair skin in our society is. Clearly, the first question someone ever asks when you hear rumors of a prospected marriage is “how is the the bride?” and the answer you get cannot be completed without saying “she is fair” or “she is dusky or moderately fair”.
It is evident that we have established fairness as a criteria for beauty and superiority. Racism has strong roots in our public but people deny being racist all the time. Let me tell you, when you said “she is dark yet beautiful” instead of “she is dark and beautiful” or “he is isn’t fair but he is handsome” instead of just “he is handsome” you were totally being a racist.
We have a wide range of beauty products which help us get lighter skin, the cosmetic industry contributes to 36% of the Global market! Research suggests the beauty products which have lightning agents are preferred over more natural and effective creams which soften and moisturize skin but do not make it fair. However, this obsession is not sexist and has affected men as much as it has affected women. 30% of the fairness product users are men. Various cosmetic companies also have a different line of products for males.
I am sure that most of us have seen an advertisement that shows a dark-skinned women who goes for an interview and is rejected. She goes home and applies the fairness product. 7 days later she goes for an interview in the same office and she is hired! Nothing about her personality changed, nor her qualifications. The depiction that her light skin got her the job and gave her wings is outrageously disturbing for me!
This problem is rounded in 2 issues:
1.We have established light skin as a standard of beauty.
2. It is linked with confidence.
‘A fair look boosts your self esteem‘ is what our society has been portraying all these years. Light skinned people are often looked up to as more attractive, confident and achieving. On the other hand, people who are not as fair as the beauty standards are told that there is something about them that is incomplete, they maybe as successful as the fairer ones or even more but their complexion is always pinpointed.That is the reason people abuse their faces with layers of fairness products and make up and lose their natural look.
Have you seen friends who are a slight shade of brown, Google “home remedies for skin lightening” or come up with the defense “I am not dark, I am ‘wheatish‘(that isn’t even an official color by the way).” What makes us so insecure about ourselves that no matter how pure and gorgeous we are on the inside we pay attention to how we can be fairer day by day and this insecurity eats up our self esteem!
Let me tell you that fair skin is not going to boost your confidence, but accepting your natural color surely will!confidence does not stem from validation, confidence comes from the belief to go on even without validation!
You are what you are and you are amazing no matter what shade, because our skin was created in different beautiful varieties but our souls are the same color.
Laundry should be segregated on basis of color, not people.