Beauty needs no skin tone

A small storm recently brewed in the small teacup called the progressive conscience of India, over a certain brand of beauty and fairness cream… Someone filed a PIL, someone was penalised and some ads were retracted… And, things are back to normal with the soaps, lotions and potions up again with their tall claims to fair skin!

Fair skin is desired by all. This is a fact and it goes far back. From Cleopatra rubbing in donkey’s milk for fair and lovely skin to young girls in all tropical cities of India covering themselves up from head to toe with scarves, cloaks, gloves, socks etc, when out in the hot sun as it would make them ‘dark’ and ‘ruin their marital prospects’. The married ones also do it for keeping the myth alive, and men on the streets guessing. 😬 Jokes apart, most of us are besotted with fairness( only for the skin tone, nothing beyond). You can witness this phenomenon of fair skin obsession at all tourist attractions as an Indian male goes ga-ga over a gori mem ( fair skinned woman of caucasian origin) even if she may not be blessed with remarkable facial features! The other races get secondary response! This is nothing short of a mental and social hang up that has become a social norm. Matrimonial advertisements still shamelessly underline the colour of a bride’s complexion ” as milky white”. But have we always been obsessed with fairness?

Ancient Indian literature, is filled with references to dark complexion as the ‘epitome of beauty’. Shyam varna (dark complexion) of handsome men and beautiful women, from Ram, Krishna, Vishnu and Shiva to Sita, Draupadi Satyavati and Mohini… they were anything but fair skinned. I guess, we can blame it on our history now.

Central Asian invaders were very fair, coming as they did from Mongoloid stock. And a whole new progeny with changed skin colour happened in India! The progeny( of all distinctions) of these rulers were the lords and masters again, so the myth of good fortune also associated itself with the fair skin tone! With the passage of time, the enslaved people of India also began to feel that dark was inferior. By the time the Mughals lost, the British were upon us. And “you dirty dark Indians!” happened all around( Tum gande kalu Hindustanis!).

So much of this ” dark is inferior, fair is superior” fallacy has entered our collective psyche, that there is only a grudging admiration for dark complexion, if we Indians are whipped hard by education and reasonable thinking. Had we not been ruled by fair-skinned people, we’d never have been so conscious about our complexion — which is predominantly dark or wheatish.

I don’t want to end with the typical cliched examples of beautiful non- fair skinned ramp models and divas…so let’s find our own epitomes of beauty in this wide world and celebrate the gift of life, above all! ‘thought I would end this post on a song but , it was difficult to find a good Hindi song celebrating this idea(eew!).

Nonetheless, here is a beautiful vintage number , which starts on a revolutionary note only to dissolve into a fantasy later ( the belle wants to give up her fair skin tone for a dusky colour, so that she can hide herself in the dark of the night while meeting her paramour 😬😬…

27 thoughts on “Beauty needs no skin tone

  1. Wow sush …i always used to wonder people around us call krishnw Rama beautiful… But when it comes to normal human beings they call them kali ,badsurat…when will they teach their kids beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder …look at the smile , inner beauty.etc

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  2. Great Sush.. For being bold enough to come out on such a sensitive topic. On a personal note you know my choice and my partner.
    Keep on writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful. Well written.
    One of the main reason in recent time has been consumerism from USA in form of beauty pageant shows, barbie dolls and baywatch series.

    The present generation females, instead of shunning them, have rather embraced it as “normal”.

    BTW, olive coloured skin looks more beautiful than milky white IMHO 🤓😻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for finding time to read the post and liking and adding your thoughts to it. America is battling colourism more than anywhere else… Our girls from humble backgrounds are the most affected by this fallacy. They run after this fairness mirage and waste there precious family income on such fraud cosmetics and lotions.

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  4. Well written dear and rightly said..What you expressed is a harsh reality…In the dark complexion people as epitome of beauty while mentioning Krishna,Sita etc etc you could have added my name too.😅😅..Jokes apart, rather than worrying about your complexion we should think of achieving greater things in life which boosts your self confidence..And as far as I am concerned I never worried about my complexion and I am content and confident in the way I look…Keep on writing dear..It is worth reading…

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and liking the post. Women empowerment factions are very conveniently avoiding this issue as most of the voices are themselves vanity struck! Change will come if women start thinking otherwise, like you said. You are a diva, no less!

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      1. Hi Sush,..it could not have been a more better write up on the subject. After reading it , brilliant is the word which instantly came to my mind.

        # – I have always felt that the defination of beauty has a dicotomy in itself. In societal set-up it’s defined and accepted as a ” Skins deep ” & ” On face of it ” at the same time. Somehow, I find it ironical because both of them have a distinct meaning of beauty which is poles apart.

        # – Essentially, we are still caged into our old mind-set and perceptions. The outrightly biased towards girls or women is so prominent that it’s widely believed ” Gori na tho Choori naa” in a local dialect.

        # – Any thing whitish or as you said ‘ Milky white’ 😂 indicate our unconscious slavery. Historically, how is it possible that all the goddesses depicted to us are nothing but absolute 34-24-36 figure with most beautiful eyes, silky hair , long neck and other conceivable proportions. I always have had this question in mind ??, To me, It appears as if this is the pre-requisite to become a goddess.

        #- To my mind Historians have to take a part of the blame for this continued false projections to the new generations. I find this projection from times immemorial as a hugely prejudicial against women, who are otherwise undoubtedly a superior living beings.

        ✓ I would say ” Women are the most beautiful Species God has ever made, everything else comes second and BEAUTY IS very much beyond SKIN”.

        JOE..

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      2. Thank you so much Joe, for reading and adding your bit to it. You nailed it, as this colour fixation is so rampant in the northern part of our country… More so as a precursor to being of better birth and caste and what not 🙏🏻God save us!

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  5. Good one Susmita! Well it’s more on Indian girls I think. They are so much into this ” looking good” rather than good looking with more confidence and intelligence. No wonder these Indian commercial soaps are so successfully running. It’s changing but the change is too slow to be noticed.
    Once the girls start to reorient their thoughts on beauty things can change. I have my doubts though.

    The scenario in Kolkata has been going reverse day by day. With sindoor khela and the likes that have sort of become mandatory to be posted on social media. This has taken a toll too. But yes let’s keep our good hopes.

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    1. Thank you so much. I too have my doubts… This fairness fixation goes on a loop, from one generation to another, ads and images and fairytales add to the concoction and the poison passes on…

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  6. One of the most thoughtful articles I have read recently. Thank you! 🤗 I have noticed this fairness craze from when I was a child. “Don’t go out in the sun. Karathu pokum(you’ll become dark)” and some random “harmless” comments thrown to a kid. These really change the perspective of young minds about skin tone. Thankfully, I had a family who never made any of us kids feel different because of the skin tone, which is why that has became the norm for us. I don’t know if I’m naive, but I am hopeful that the next generation will be a more positive, confident, responsible set of people, without such insecurities(though I know there will be exceptions). I see a lot more parents buying dolls of multiple racial features/skin colors for their kids, going out of the way to teach kids to respect everyone and to see the beauty in everyone. So many makeup brands coming up with all shades of products, which was not the case earlier. In fact, just stopping the fair and lovely ads would help a lot too 😅. And ofcourse, wonderful articles like this one, that give you a reasonable understanding of how this fairness obsession started and why it’s wrong, will definitely make so many think about the situation, and act responsibly in future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, your observations as well as thoughts on this subject are spot on. As the gen next, you are going to bring about the change, in our mindset as well as the collective psyche of the nation. Thank you so much for liking the post and adding your comment here ☺️

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  7. We are really obsessed with white colour I personally feel Gods and Godesses of all religions are rather dark in colour but we picturise them as white it is all our mind set .does colour really matters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and adding your thoughts to it. I read somewhere that it was the influence of the Greeks and the British on our statue makers and artists, during invasions that turned the skins of our Gods and goddesses to caucasian fair!!

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  8. I must thank Shobhna Raj Singh ji first of all for introducing me to your beautiful thoughts and writing, which I truly appreciate after going through the article. Sadly this colour bias is prevalent in our society and embedded in our subconscious. This must change, and the effort towards this end should continue.

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