I am dark skinned, proud & healthy. Dark is beautiful

08 Jun 2013

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I have been watching the Indian Media (TV, Newspapers, Magazines etc) recent days and I am absolutely irritated to the core about thousands of “fairness cream” advertisements played the media every minute of the day. What’s wrong with being dark?. Why do you (fairness cream companies) want to change my skin color?. Why even the well-educated Indians wants to have a fairer skin?. Initially, it was targeted only at women. Now, men too. C’mon guys. Build your body and stamina. Your skin color does not matter, at your most important moment of manliness. Trust me!.

I was born into a Dravidian family in Southern India a few years back. By the term Dravidian, I refer to the ethnic group which lives in South India for thousands of years. This group includes Tamils, Telugus, Kannadigas, Malayalis, Tuluvas, Kurukhs, Kondavas, Kondhas, and Gondis. They speak Dravidian languages. All of them were dark. No exceptions. That dark skin helped us to survive & stay healthy in the tropical climate. Back then, skin color was never considered as a component of beauty!.

Then comes a series of invasions by white skinned people up to the latest British (let’s not get into the controversial Indo-Aryan Invasion). The races get mixed up and the people fall into a full spectrum of skin colors. There are many psychological/economic reasons to treat fairer skin superior to the darker one. I can site a couple of them.

1. Economic Status: Working class people spent most of their time under the sun and retained the dark color and the wealthy people tend to be a bit fairer. (Don’t think about white. They were just a bit fairer).

2. Social Status: Due to the caste systems and the extended British rule, white/fairer people always got a very high social status in the society. During this period, the minds of millions of Indians were influenced by the image that fair skin signifies superiority, dominance, and power, while dark skin represents the weaker, inferior masses.

… and there are 100s of other reasons. This preference for fairer skin is prevalent in many other countries as well.

History of fairness creams in India

Hindustan Lever Limited launched “Fair & Lovely” in 1978, exploiting the Indian obsession with fairer skin tone. It is called the mother of all fairness creams in India. Now, the same product is selling in 38 countries worldwide, generating most of the income from South Asia. The current market is flooded with so many international/local brands. Nevertheless, all fairness cream advertisements are based on the mantra, If you buy this fairness product, you will make your family proud, you will look beautiful, and you will secure a wonderful husband - What an insult to the Indian Women?.

Just a thought - What would have happened, if these products were launched during the British Empire?. How dare you want Indians to look like British?… ha ha ha ha… Who knows, next “Fair & Lovely” commercial can come up with this scheme - We got fairer and we got our freedom.

What’s Next?

My suggestion is this - Please don’t let them dictate, how should you look, how should you smell, how should you dress. It’s your body. You know the basics to keep it clean. That’s more than enough. Let your mantra be - Clean & Healthy. Please don’t imagine yourself in someone else’s body. No one in the world is worthy of it.

Your skin color is a gift from your parents. It’s a symbol of the society, place, and culture you belong to. Dark or White. Feel proud of it !.

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