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Fairness and equality: Indians feel comfortable on their skin

Let's chisel out that "tan" is a common refrain in beauty salons in India, where girls grow up with constant memories that only fair skin is beautiful. From Sunday on, classified advertisements that praise the marriageability of an "MBA graduate".English medium.Fair complexion "for older aunts who advise young women to saffron paste on [...]

Let's chisel out that "tan" is a common refrain in beauty salons in India, where girls grow up with constant memories that only fair skin is beautiful.

From Sunday on, classified advertisements that praise the marriageability of an "MBA graduate".English medium. Fair complexion "For older aunts who advise young women to apply the saffron paste to" keep their skin whiter and smoother, "the signs are ubiquitous.

Even feelings like "She was lucky that he married her despite her [dark] skin color" are still whispered in India in 2017. The younger generations are beginning to push back. On July 7, 18-year-old Aranya Johar published the Guide to Beauty for brown girls on Youtube. The video, a spoken poem with lines like "Forget Snow White / Say Hello to Chocolate Brown / I'm Writing My Own Tale", became viral, reaching 1.5 million viewers around the world on the first day alone.



Johar's open slam came just before Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui used Twitter to indict the racist culture of the Indian film industry.

His contribution recalled the vehement pushback of actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, who was bullied on live television in 2016 for her skin color.

Although many Indians still fake ignorance of social discrimination based on skin color, the country's obsession with white may also be violent. In recent years, the fear of black and brown skin has also provoked harassment and attacks on African students in India.

Why do Indians hate their own color?

The bleaching syndrome of Indian history offers some answers.

Throughout the history of the Middle Ages and the modern era, the Indian subcontinent was on the radar of various European settlers and traders, including the Portuguese, Dutch and French from the 15th to the 17th century. The subcontinent was conquered and partially dominated by the Mughals in the 16th century and colonized by the British from the 17th century until independence in 1947. All these foreign "visitors" had a relatively light complexion and many said they were superior.

Being subject to a number of white (ish) overlords has long associated light skin with power, status, and desire in Indians. Nowadays, the contempt for brown skin is accepted by both the ruling class and the lower castes and is reinforced on a daily basis by beauty covers, which feature almost exclusively Caucasian, often foreign models.

It was the dark man's burden in this majority-white nation to desire a Western concept of beauty, and postcolonial activism has not changed that. According to a study we conducted from 2013 to 2016, 70% of the 300 women and men interviewed said they wanted to go out with someone who has fair skin. This colorism drives so many Indians to lighten their skin, leading to a phenomenon called "bleaching syndrome".

Bleaching syndrome is not a superficial method but a strategy to assimilate a superior identity that reflects the deep belief that fair skin is better, more powerful and prettier. And it is not limited to India, skin bleaching is also common in the rest of Asia and Africa.

A thriving market for bleach

An innovative and growing market for creams and ointments has been created to meet this demand, which now adds over $ 400 million annually.

The best-selling products include Fem, Lotus, Fair, and Lovely and the equivalent Fair and Handsome products. Most of these nicely named creams are indeed a dangerous cocktail of steroids, hydroquinone, and tretinoin, which, among other things, can lead to health concerns such as permanent pigmentation, skin cancer, liver damage, and mercury poisoning.

However, a marketing study from 2014 found that nearly 90% of Indian girls call skin lightening a "high need".These young women are ready to overlook the after-effects of bleaching, and the advent of online sales allows them to use these products in the privacy of their own homes.

The market for fairness creams, which was originally aimed at female beauty, is now also aimed at Indian men. Products marketed to men promise to fight sweat, give them fairer armpits and attract women. Megastar Shahrukh Khan explains that the secret to winning a woman's heart is the fairness of the skin.


 And Bollywood stars with a strong following, including Shahrukh Khan and John Abraham, regularly support and promote skin bleaching agents. Game while bleaching

Bleaching backlash

The Clean and Dry brand achieved a new level of bleaching power in 2012, as it is working hard to promote a new vaginal whitening detergent.


 Clean and Dry Intimate Wash Display compares Indian vagina and coffee. This time, women had enough. In 2013, the activist group Women of Worth launched their Dark is Beautiful campaign, which was supported by Indian theater actress Nandita Sen.

With other feminist groups, women forced the Advertising Standards Council of India to issue guidelines in 2014 that "ads should not reinforce negative social stereotypes based on skin color" or "portray people with darker skin as inferior" or in unsuccessful in any aspect of life, especially in terms of attractiveness to the opposite sex ".This guidance is consistent with the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality for all (Article 14) and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth (Article 15).

Unfortunately, the law can hardly stop the more subtle forms of racism and bigotry in Indian society. And until today, this vaginal bleaching product is still on the market.

Bleaching syndrome goes far beyond skin color, with Indian women questioning their hair texture and color, language, marital choices and style of dress. As Aranya Johar rhymed on Youtube: "Hoping to love someone else someday, we begin to be our own first lover."

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Source of the article - Qrius