Will We Ever Overcome Our Obsession With Fair Skin?

Fair Skin Obsession
Image used for representation only.

Most Indian women have been smothered with herbal concoctions and pastes right from their early childhood and all to make them fair and lovely and fairy like.

After all being fair would mean Prince Charming walking into their lives to sweep them off their feet..

Tragically, we still face social discrimination in our country. No surprise then that India became the largest market for skin lightening products at a staggering $450 million of sales.

And its not only women customers that make this pie what with our men equally obsessed with turning fair and handsome

Even our leading actors weren’t spared racist comments on their skin tone with the likes of Tannishtha Chatterjee, Priyanka Chopra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui all having been trolled for their complexion at some point of time.

It’s a different matter that this very industry acts as a catalyst with brand endorsements for skin lightening products.

Social media quite recently went gaga over how India’s skin tone obsession is done with referring to the wheatish complexioned Chennai girl winning the Miss India crown but is this really the ground reality? 

“I do think that people still look down upon you when you are dark and in a group of fair skinned girls,” says Meghna Awasthi, 24.

“It doesn’t matter to me nor does it affect my work or life, but in a social gathering with a typical set of aunties, your skin tone does become the topic of discussion.

According to them, we do not have the right to choose our husband and just marry the first option we get as people hardly prefer marrying girls with dull skin tone, and when we get one, we are lucky enough,” grins Awasthi.

Mamta Pandey, 32 thinks that we still have a long way to go.

I know, the skin tone doesn’t make a difference, but the society hasn’t accepted it, despite millions of dark skin tone people making a mark in every sphere of life.

“Even today, we find advertisements on matrimony sites where people prefer ‘fair skin toned’ girls, but you hardly read such specifications being asked from boys.

For them it is, ‘permanent job and good salary’. Why cannot it be the same for everyone?

Since I am seven months pregnant, my relatives say that my kid should look like me and have the qualities of his dad since my husband is on the darker side. I hate such discriminations and want my kids to be away from all these things,” she points out.

When asked what leads her to buy a fairness cream, Deepika, 20, a student says,

“I haven’t thought of it ever. But I think that using that cream I look good and presentable and that gives me confidence. I see students making fun of girls who are dark complexioned and call them names and it is very derogatory.

I do not want to be on the other side, hence I use fairness creams,” she adds.

For Raghavan, a 26-year designer hailing from Kerala, it is thanks to the advertisements and brand endorsements by celebrities that India has become a huge market for fairness products.

In India, people have killed themselves when their favourite star died. This is the extent of influence that stars have on our people.

When these well-known people endorse creams that can immediately get you a job or make you an eligible bachelor, people end up believing in it.

Moreover, the kind of problems these advertisements highlight is what India is suffering from- unemployment and difference in gender ratio.

It is high time that these advertisements are pulled off the screens so that the coming generations stay away from all this muck,” Raghavan adds.

“I do not understand why people are so obsessed with fairer skin over a persons features, character and capability,” says Varsha Handa, 25.

“I have seen so many dark complexioned people who have perfect facial features and look more attractive than someone very pale and fair.

It is just in our heart that fair is beautiful, but most people do not understand the true meaning of ‘beautiful’.

Though now there is a change and be it Bollywood or common people, there is a paradigm shift and more acceptance of women with dark skin tone,” adds Varsha.


#All views are those of the respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

A Dreamer, Traveler and All-time Foodie who is happiest in the company of Animals! loveleen@pune365.com
Loveleen Kaur