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Indian obsession for fair skin

Indian obsession for fair skin

Regional Director of India

Human Behaviour Academy

Team Leader for Certified Body Language Program

While many people in west tan their skin and take sunbath to avoid skin cancer, many dark people are obsessed with fairness – not just females but males too. 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 still are considered as truly appealing and glamorous. Fair models are told to tan their skin before walking on ramp with costume they are exhibiting. Both lord Ram and Krishna, both mythological idols and superheroes of oriental 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 is a largest organ that covers our body and not just apparatus of adornment. 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 behind fairness too much?

Difference in complexion is related with climate and exposure to sunlight.

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 and especially color of skin based on 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 ‘racism’!

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-economic status of the person or a group it belongs to. This assumption has been further boosted and promoted by cosmetic manufacturers. 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 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.

One Response to Indian obsession for fair skin

  1. Sachchidanand April 21, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Many thanks for acknowledging one of the biggest social and talent related issues in India and perhaps the whole world and publishing this article on this blog!

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