India’s not so “FAIR” obsession and its impact on our children

When my twins were born, our extended family had gathered together for a big celebration. All my younger cousins were playing and having fun, until I spotted my teenage cousin sisters in a heated argument. Before I could even get to them, I could sense the conversation. It’s always about that.

Complexion. Fair and Dark. Beautiful and Ugly. Superior and inferior.

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I felt like I was transported back to my teenage years and the struggle with my peers commenting on my dusky complexion. Immediately, I interrupted the argument and insisted that she should never again pass a nasty comment on my other sister’s complexion. We all are beautiful regardless of the color of our skin. Even though I tried my best to change her perspective, I knew at the bottom of my heart that she will only understand the importance of it when she grows up. And my other sister will probably have to face these comments throughout her school life and hopefully grow into a stronger and beautiful woman.

India has changed so much in such a short period of time. Progressed in many ways but still behind in many. Today the beauty industry is a huge market and I must say being a woman, I have my moments of indulgence as well. Ever time I am at the mall trying out new beauty products, I am often asked If I need a de-tanning cream or fairness product. When I say “No, I do not want to be fair” the sales women looks at me as if I am joking. True story. I have come a long way, found a way out of my insecurities and honestly I love the way I am. I love my skin color and I would like to keep it healthy and the way it is. Unfortunely it was a little hard for the sales women to digest it. Ironically she was much darker then me and when I asked her, if she tired any of the fairness creams and if it works, she did not have an answer for it. I told my self there was no need for putting her in an uncomfortable situation she is also a victim like all of us in this society.

More then a billion audiences are bombarded with the fairness cream advertisements everyday. All the way from the king of fairness creams – Fair and lovely to the most loved and used Vaseline, which has also come out with its version of fairness lotion. Billboards, Shopping malls, Internet, Glossy magazines, Newspapers, its everywhere! A constant reminded to the majority of woman and now even men of our country that no matter what your physical appearance is, you must use our product and magically transform into a Caucasian! Each and every company has jumped on to the wagon of launching their own version of fairness product in the market due to competition and demand. They are simply offering the products, which people want to use. Fair enough! But the question is how does this effect our new generation. Are we teaching our children that fair is beautiful and dark is not? Kids face tremendous prejudice growing up and something as small as a comment on their complexion or physique can have a huge impact on their self-esteem. Even though these products are targeted at adults but also seen by children. At such tender age the insecurities set in their minds and can last a lifetime. Don’t we need to protect our children from this bias that runs in our country?

When I was expecting my twins, it would often cross my mind what if the babies take my skin tone? Was I worried that they might be bullied and become victims of unwanted comments? Yes, I was. But I knew I had the ability to raise them as strong and confident human being. Now they are one and half years old and would be considered fair according to the so-called “Shade card” created by the fairness creams. Does that mean my responsibility is over and i don’t have to worry about anything? No.

I must teach them to respect everyone no matter what is the color of their skin and guide them to never discriminate against anyone who has a dark completion. Most importantly if they see anyone who is indulging in pulling down someone’s self esteem, don’t just stand there.

Do the right thing and tell them Dark is beautiful too!

What are your thoughts? If you are at the same level as me then go ahead and share this post and let the people of the country know that beauty is beyond the color of the skin.

 

1 Comment

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  1. 1
    Amanat Grewal

    It’s sheer stupidity on behalf of the marketing companies etc.. to create a shade card and sell products for making the beautifully tanned skin fairer !! The question like u so eloquently put it, is not about being dark or fair but the perception and the attitude towards it . Life is less of a challenge once we accept ourselves for who we are and make our beauty within shine outwards ! Good on you for highlighting the stupidity of fairness products and targeting the already wounded so called dark skinned people . Esp when the western world so crazily applies products to achieve the “olive skin look ” haha !! Makes me laugh .

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