Fairness and the Indian Woman
Image via WikipediaMirror, Mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?
Even Snow White and the Evil Witch were plagued, it seems, by the same obsession as Indian Women, to be the fairest of them all.
While the story is silent on what Snow White used to be, white; desi bloggers are all up in arms about this issue. Every blogger worth her post has her views online.
For a long time I refrained from this clichéd topic, but a recent comment from fellow blogger Divija got me thinking. And here are my two cents
1. Societal pressure to be fair is wrong. Just like the pressure to be a certain size, to look/dress a certain way, or behave a certain way is wrong. We all should have the right to be happy in the skin we are in, in more ways than one.
2. However if an individual chooses/feels/thinks that being fairer is going to make her/him happier, we are no one to sit in judgment of these people. It is a personal choice. We don’t seem to condone people who get surgeries/botox to look younger, for bigger assets or smoke to lose weight. But it is politically incorrect these days to publicly own to using these creams.
3. Consumers who are using these creams need to start making informed choices. A lot of times I read articles of fairness creams that have been banned abroad for containing hydroqunonine, but they are freely available here. The jury is out on the safety of this chemical, so do your research and know what you are getting into.
4. Fair & Lovely ads have attracted a lot of controversy since the last few years. It is funny how the girl learns to smile & apply make-up as well as a result of using the cream in the after pictures. Jokes apart, yes some of the ads are offensive to darker skinned people and yes, they deserve to be pulled off the air. But they are selling a product and just exploiting a myth that runs deep in our culture itself. Nothing else will explain why fairness/whitening/radiance boosting creams are the no. 1 sellers in skin care category across brands in India.
5. Cosmetic companies in India really need to buckle up when it comes to foundation shades. Most offer only a few choices, some even sell foundations with pink undertones (that look orange on our yellow toned skin). It embarrasses me that Indians girls living abroad have better access to cosmetics especially made for South Asian skin (Think Thevi cosmetics) than us.
6. Instead of ostracizing young girls who use these products, we need to deal with the men & their parents who refuse to take a bride unless she is fair.
7. These creams are not all that bad. They are sometimes useful to remove stubborn tans from arms and feet as a result of wearing sleeveless clothes or open shoes.
These are some of my random thoughts on this whole fairness issue. Do you agree or disagree? What has been your experience?