Usha
Today a friend told us how her daughter was taunted by some of the kids in her schoolbus for her dark skin. The 10 year old seems to have taken it rather badly and my friend is totally clueless on how to make her see that the colour of one's skin does not matter. How do you make a 10 year old understand that it is what is inside of you which matters? How do you make her see that your looks are inherited and most of all how do you make her understand that to a caucasian , even her fair friends would seem "dark skinned"? My friend does not want to interfere and talk to the teacher as she feels she cannot protect her child from such prejudices all along and that she would have to learn to face it by herself. Why are we so obsessed with the colour of our skin and what right do we have to complain about some others being racist?

I have had similar experiences in my childhood too and it gets worse when you have a sister who is almost milky white. The comparisons are open and odious - no one cares about the child's sensibilities.It is almost like it was my fault that I was born dark - it took almost 21 years for me to understand that it was my genes that made me dark and one's achievement lies in what you make of yourself and not what you look like.

I was pleasantly surprised when blogger hiphopgrandmom wrote about facing a similar plight in her childhood in this post. Perhaps all dark girls in this country have the same story to share. Today most of us do not openly talk about fair skin being an essential pre requisite for being considered pretty and there are a few actors and models who are cited as an example of how this is no longer a criterion but still most models for beauty products ( or personal hygiene products) use models who have a fair skin and some are not even Indian.

I do not know about the others but I did suffer from a complex , a kind of feeling of inferiority and a lack of confidence for a long time. During adoloscence one even went through a phase of considering oneself good for nothing as good looking girls always got all the good roles in the school plays, dance dramas and got he front rows in most parades. It seemed like one had to work twice as good just to stay in the race. It really took some special friends who loved me for the person I was to make me see that it is what is inside which matters.

I do not know how this prejudice took roots in India as our most loved god Krishna was supposed to be dark skinned. We do have many proverbs in Tamil which extol that black is beautiful. And in recent times this was reinforced by a popular song that listed all the nice things that are black. It is easy to conclude that this revulsion to things dark was inherited from the invaders from central Asia and Europe but I do not know if that is true. I wonder when we will begin to see that it is a pigmentation issue and a dark skln may actually be giving us resistance to some skin diseases.

I also wonder if we will ever see in real life what I read somewhere (can't remember where or was it a film?): A dark skinned man places his hand on the hand of a fair skinned girl and asks her : "Do you see the difference?" and the girl reples, "yes, your hands are larger."
41 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I absolutely understand the girl's plight,i have been through the similar situation as a kid,all my family members,cousins are fair and i am of dark complexion and that gave my grandmother sleepless nights,i was called nalla pilla {black girl} and was always taunted that i inherited it from my fathers side of the family {as if its a sin} and infact my uncles used to make fun of me saying that i wont ever be married because no one wants a dark complexion girl,strange,that this trend exists even today.
    But what your friend says is right,she cannot go on protecting her child because this problem exists everywhere,infact there were times when i was compared to my mom and used to make me feel guilty. there were times when i refused going out with her, and till date i hear that i am lucky to have got married even when i am not fair.Now do i need to thank god for that!!!!!
    i just thankgod for atleast making me sensible enough to look beyond ones physical appearence and thank god there are many more like me and you who can make this place a better world to live in.
    Infact there is an advertisement i saw in the TV where a father takes her daughter who is dark to a parlour and everyone laughs at her,so he sets out to make soem ayurvedic cream which makes her fair,now can we beat that? Nonsense i would say,how can we degrade someone based on complexion? beats me.
    I am happy the way i look,dark or wheatish complexion i dont care,unless i have a heart which is bright enough to live and let live i am happy.
    alapana
    http://aalapana.blogspot.com


  2. passerby55 Says:

    USha,

    this is a wonderful post, well written and humble to its core.

    radha kyuon gori mein kyun kaala?

    wondered if radha was dark and lord krishna was fair...what would have been the outcome like?...

    USha, there is one immense, astonishing WOMAN in you, which i have percieved through all these days.

    ITs not colour its what a person makes out of him/her. and then blood is always red whatever the skin colour.

    I hope many read this post.

    thankyou.


  3. Observed variations in skin color across lattitudes is explained by the balance between natural selection preferences for darker skin and sexual selection preferences for lighter skin. More on this here.

    There seems to be substantial evidence for universal sexual preference for lighter skin. Here is an interesting article from Kenya on this, and it concludes, 'As the black man said in Black Like Me, "...you have to be almost a mulatto, then the Negro will look up to you...[then] you've got class. Isn't that a pitiful hero-type?" Indeed. The real issue ought not to be the color of your skin, but as one man put it, the color of your mind.'

    I second the conclusion. It implies that girls and women, who seem to be overwhelmingly on the receiving end of this color bias, must move away from their superordinate goal of marriage and family to seeking more wholistic fulfillment in life. As I said in the letter to my niece in India, mind is a terrible thing to waste, man's or woman's. If you did, all that you may have left to show is just skin!


  4. passerby55 Says:

    again usha,

    i think just being dark in the family is ok compared to the harm it causes when one girl is born fair and another less ....

    this comparison disturbs far more than being the only one dark in
    the family. much more because most of the time its a comparison done by your own parents.

    i dont know why parents do it? are they aware of the harm?


  5. Usha Says:

    Aalapana:I understand her and you. I went through the exact same plight and was always clothed in dull shades as they thought I could not carry off bright colours and actually ended up looking even less attractive. Left to ourselves neither I nor my sister would have noticed the differences. But I am glad that it did not cause any tension betweeen us and to date we are the best of friends.

    Passerby: Thanks for the kind words. Do you think even gods prefer fairer women?( I am just joking - it is after all human imagination which creates Gods and imparts qualities to them - so it would suffer from the same limitations as the human mind!)And luckily I have a wonderful sister who is blissfully unconcerned about how good looking she is. And she had to face another kind of problem. I was the Assistant school pupil leader and debator and the favourite of many teachers ( This was one good consequence of working twice as hard after the initial period of lack of confidence). My sister was a wild rebel and had to constantly hear the refrain " I cant believe you are usha's sister. Look at her and look at you. Time you learnt to be ike her."
    Heheheheh...

    The rationalfool:Thanks for the very interesting links.
    Marriage is no longer the all important goal for many city girls but they still want to look good and their self confidence takes a beating when their appearance does not correspond to the popular idea of "good looks". of course they soon outgrow this and work on their strengths.
    I think it is others who must stop looking at girls from their eligibility to land a good husband and stop subjecting girls to this kind of hurt. And it is time someone clobbered the advertising industry on their head and asked them to stop promoting this nonsensical myth that fair is beautiful.


  6. Anonymous Says:

    This week's Businessworld reports that one of the Indian products being launched in Africa is the fairness cream for men, & there is another one for straightening hair. It is everywhere, this color of skin stuff.

    I agree though that our particular society makes it particularly tough for women, but I also think that women's enablement will, in general, set different benchmarks & we'll probably rid ourselves of such problems at least in the urban setting soon enough.

    S!


  7. Kishore Says:

    I feel the child learns from what it sees and hears.. Rather unconsciously if the parents have dark-not-nice attitude the child will learn up with that thought as well... the parents should apply and teach rationality right from the childhood when such things get engraved so fast...

    u never know what all the little child picks up, it does more than the parents can ever imagine...


  8. Shiv Says:

    the last few lines were too gud usha!!


  9. GuNs Says:

    Hi Usha,

    The fault for this lies with women themselves. If women didn't buy fairness creams, there wouldnt be such a big market for it. We wouldnt see those stupid ads extolling fair skin in such a sick manner. Its something most women pile upon themselves. You find most dark-skinned women trying to use these fairness creams to try and match up to the fair skinned.

    Time someone told them that dark skin is ok and time we banned such ads from being aired. Sadly in India, the media is so irresponsible that the only way to control them is by banning stuff. Since they banned liquor ads, the manufacturers now promote cassettes, soda, clubs etc. with the same brand name i.e. surrogate advertizing. With ad companies like these, we've got no option but banning them. I keep saying this - in India, NOTHING works unless it is enforced upon the people.

    Secondly, I dont think people have a right to point fingers at somebody's preference of fair skin. Some people like fair skinned people and some like dark-skinned ones. That is something which everyone has a right to choose. Its just like a preference for a tall partner or a short one, a thin or a stocky one, light eyed or a dark eyed one etc.

    -PeAcE
    --WiTh
    ---GuNs


  10. Hip Grandma Says:

    Pigmentation issue has been a much discussed issue in our country.Yet fair skinned westerners want to have a tanned skin and lie in sandy shores just to get a tan.They are the one's who unfortunately have to worry about skin diseases and the like.But I draw solace from thinking of Smitha Patil as an example.Wasn't she a dark beauty and a superb actress?And what about Cleopatra?At least in India we are a majority tho' not necessarily among the Tam-brams.


  11. if beauty with brains was not an option I would rather be intelligent & ugly rather than dumb blonde (read beautiful)


  12. Yes, this is really sad that kids are exposed to the color-issue. ANd I guess this is really common... Though I dont know the solution to it, coz its obvious a 10yr old cant understand the beauty which lies inside.

    And I completely agree with you, every dark skinned person has this story to share.. I know this from my Mom...


  13. Mahadevan Says:

    ‘Fair is beautiful’ has been the running theme in many of the lyrical poems and for ages, this myth has been in our midst. Even within the myth there is discrimination. A Dark skinned man is not merely ‘pass’, he is even adored for his prowess. But a dark skinned girl is shunned as ugly. “Rational fool” has a point – dark skin for natural selection and lighter one for the sexual.

    It is certainly cruel to call an impressionable young dark girl as ugly. It would hurt her psyche and perhaps because of this hurt feeling, they look for fair skin in their offspring. Family, school and society at large should realize the injustice we mete out to non-fair skinned girls. Perhaps it would be of some interest to know that in Shakespeare’s 400 sonnets, a dark lady is the main protagonist.

    What is handsome? Handsome is that handsome does.


  14. Shruthi Says:

    Very nice post, Usha. You may enjoy this post.


  15. Inder Says:

    ha... now this sounds familiar. very familiar. not just girls, boy too face this problem. being one who had faced it first hand, i know it pretty well. it does hurt. but then you learn to ignore them.


  16. Anonymous Says:

    "guns" has put it very nicely--especially the second point.

    I'm a dark complexioned guy with "average" looks, whilst my elder brother is not only very fair but also "very handsome". Naturally, this was widely commented upon. But, by God's grace, I didn't take offence even for a fleeting moment. Thus, as a person, who has a "right" to speak on this subject, I'm only getting concerned that we're getting back to our national pastime of inventing underclasses. I hold the view that to wallow in self-pity is a crime, whatever be the alleged provocation or justification.


  17. Usha Says:

    souvik: Yes the colour thing is there everywhere. And I am not surprised either. Yes empowerment is definitely changing the way women look at themselves but my friends daughter is still a child and hence not immune to the hurt.

    Kishore: yes, that is where kids pick up these complexes. One of my own neices had a problem when people who came to see her sister when she was born kept commenting on how fair and beautiful the child was and the older one who was just 2 then began to associate the colour of the skin and beauty.

    Shiv: yes, I was so struck by the beauty of the situation but unfortunately I cannot remember where I read/ saw/ heard it.

    Guns: Agreed that it should be a matter of one's personal preference and that is exactly why it is offensive when someone tries to tell us what is beautiful and what is not. As a child it is difficult not to be affected by these.

    Hipgrandma:and what about Nandita das and Rani mukherjee and Rekha.The world's most popular model Naomi campbell is black.

    Itchingtowrite:wouldn't we all? and we do come to these senses once we are older and wiser but as children it hurts when your cheeks are not pinched or when you are not praised for your looks. Little girls love to preen in their new dresses and all right?

    SG: Yes,thats the pity and why should she be made to go through these hurt because of someone else's prejudices.

    Mahadevan:Yes I agree totally but tell me how do I tell all this to a 10 year old who just wants to be accepted by her peers?
    As for the point made by the Rf,i was amazed too. It is so typical of humans do make a sexual selection that is so contrary to natural selection right.? While all other animals would probably select the mate who is most likely to have beeter immunity!

    Shriti: Thanks. yes, I loved it.

    Inder: You are probably one of the few men who can understand this because dark males do not face the same kind of prejudice.And yes, it hurts terribly.

    Anon: Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.


  18. sinuma Says:

    Actually the skin colour is due to Melanine Pigment formation in the skin which protects us from radiation.Ironically sun rays and vit D areneeded for the formation of this pigment. In cold climates the sun is mild and they are fair in hot climates the skin is dark and is a protective mechanism against UV rays. If you see the Africans who are placed direct horizontal rays due to the posision of Africa in equator.And so they are the darkest people and Indians are some what less dark and in north and Kashmir they are Fair.So the colour of skin is decided by the geographical position of people and the generations living there for long a genetic mutation causes this colur change suitable to the geographical area.


  19. Balaji Says:

    Karuppu than enakku pudicha azhagu....

    We should not really be blaming the kids, rather we should blame the idiots who call themselves parents. They are the ones who should teach a kid some moral values, decency, humility, respect, honesty...

    it is not the fault of a kid that he makes fun, it is entirely the fault of the parent.


  20. I guess most people who are not endowed with the milky-white complexion(as the ads for "Bride wanted" state) must have gone through this phase. But why, I always thought, is the girl only put thru all this torture. If a boy is born dark, he is called dark handsome - but why is it so bad to have a dark skinned girl?? I am not exactly dark, but slightly brownish complexion - whereas all my cousins were "Paal vellai" - for years together I had this inferiority complext which would prevent me from buying a white color/yellow dress - for I felt i look really dark in those colors. With great patience from my mother, I overcame that.

    I got reminded for a really strange incident reading this. One of my husband's friend married a bengali - a dark skinned lady. They had a daughter who took after the dad and is a really stunner - fair with brown hair and doe eyes. On one occasion they had another family visiting them - this couple had a 4 year old. As soon as he step into the house, he questioned loudly "How can this lady be her mother? She is so dark and the girl is so fair!" It was so embarassing for me to hear itself - I felt so sorry for our friend. I think it is the parent's fault - After all what does a 4 year old know of colors - unless he would have seen their parents behave so discriminatory with somebody else.

    One of my own cousins - a young boy of 4 years would declare openly that he would never travel in the bus in Chennai because all the people who travelled in it were dark. Instead of correcting the boy, all my relatives would have a laugh to see his cute mannerisms!!!


  21. sakhi Says:

    I can understand what the child must have gone through. My sister faced similar comments when she was at school n all her friends who comapred her to me.The situation was the same with my mother where all her 4 sister being milk-white and my mom a bit dark complexed.

    Though initially its hard to digest such plights which i saw in my sister for more than a decade but we were at ease with each other all the time n never developed any major differences.There were times when my sister used get pissed a lot and used to stop talking to me but later it was all smiles till date.

    And the biggest thing for which i always liked my Dad a lot is that-though being very fair complexed he never let my mom feel that she was dark and it was never an issue among them as it was among my mom's sisters.


  22. Pradeep Says:

    How much ever we may rant, this is a global phenomenon. It's either the skin, or the language, or the dress or the accent, or whatever -- whether it be the US, Europe, Oz, India or Africa.

    I have been subjected to such taunts, and still I am. It is most distressing when it is passed off as a joke.

    And sometimes it is so subtle; it's difficult to notice -- discrimination in all forms.

    I have learnt not to lament, but to adapt. I have steeled myself, I remain unaffected.


  23. Usha Says:

    Sinuma:While most of us totally understand the reasons for dark skin, this is one preference that seems to defy all reason. In india for example a lighter version of brown is preferred to the one closer to black.

    Balaji: wasn't that supposed to be "karuputhan enakku pudicha kalaru?" or did you just modify it? yes kids hear it all around them and form these ideas.In that sense I think we need to become more correct in our speech when we become parents.

    Vidhya: Thanks for sharing. I have seen similar instances in my family too. In fact I have heard descriptions like "neruppai kulipattina neram" or "thottal ottikira karuppu" and it is said with such a disgusted expression!

    mj: as passerby pointed out, the situation gets worse when the other siblings are fairer. As a child I was told by some cousins that I had been bought in exchange for some husk and that is why I didnt look like my brothers and sister!

    Pradeep: As we grow up we all do - suffer, get over and accept and become impervious. But why should we go through this whole cycle for no fault of ours ,like this 10 year old?


  24. artnavy Says:

    We were just discussing this on our way to work an hour back- how it is always "dark but beautiful" in our counrty- I really think it is up ot us to inculcate the right values and perspective in our kids so that this kind of "aparthied" stops


  25. rads Says:

    Same situation, including having a sister who is extremely fair. Now, I couldn't care less, but it did affect me when I was younger, and in fact played a crucial role in my development as a person.

    a 10 year old can only be told that there are other things that make her beautiful or 'better'.
    I was shocked to hear my own sister-in-law feel bad that her daughter is dark [from her husband's side] and prayed that a guy like her brother [who married dark me] would sprout for her daughter sometime soon!


  26. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for your comment, "Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience."

    Experience fine, what about my ideas? Not worthy of consideraton, eh?


  27. Usha Says:

    Artnavy: It is changing but not as fast as one would like - the shades of brown from the north to the south of India seems to impart a false sense of fairness to some which makes them look down on those darker than themselves until they cross the oceans and see what "fairness" really is! hehehhe

    Rads: ah my sister in suffering!! Now we can laugh about it right and I agree it does make a difference to the person you become. You begin to work on your strengths earlier in life.

    Anon: What can I say? apparently you didnt face the kind of situation that most girls do - I felt not just ugly but somehow guilty too( for what I didnt know)
    Time we brought it out and discussed it and not swept it under the name of not inventing underdogs. The discrimination hurts - a child cannot handle it. We all grow out of it.But there is no need for us to go through this for no fault of ours and because of some external definitions of beauty. That is how I see it.
    Your experience did add value to the discussion although it is not the same as mine.As someone who has suffered, i want to talk about it so someone else doesnt go through the same. It has nothing to do with inventing underdogs. I hate being pitied.


  28. visithra Says:

    i wanted to write on this for a long time - my situation is as similar - dark skinned child of a milky white mom - only difference was i loved my colour - ill try to write my story today


  29. Usha Says:

    Visithra: Yes, read it.Loved the post.


  30. Anonymous Says:

    Usha, thanks for saying you are against inventing underdogs. However, I somehow get the disconcerting feeling that agitating matters such as these betrays an unselfconscious longing to be approved or accepted by the 'ridiculer'. So, on the one hand we concede ground to the ridiculers by and, on the other, start wallowing...
    (As an aside, I would also disagree with the tendency to cite the accomplishments of the dark-complexioned, in the effort to prove their worth. As a dark person myself, I would prefer to reserve the right to laze around unavailingly, as much as a fair guy could!)

    I did face the same kinds of situations that you are speaking of, having been called "karu vandu (black wasp)", "thotta ottikira karuppu (contagious darkness)", etc. but I took them in my stride.

    I also discovered much later in my life that people who so ridiculed me had absolutely nothing against me. So, this tendency cannot even be used as a heuristic in calibrating one's personal relationship with the ridiculer, what to speak of taking it to heart for nursing a complex.

    And, please let me know whether you find this mode--of tackling a similar issue of bullying-- impressive: We belong to a small community that speaks our native tongue with a noticeably distinct accent vis-a-vis the rest of the natives. Many a time, this makes us a butt of ridicule in our home state. So, in due course, I'll be suggesting to my daughter that should someone make fun of her on this count, that is because they speak a different accent. So, there is no need to change our own accent nor to try to establish its genuineness. And, to take this to heart is downright misanthropic. Rather, she should learn to ignore these taunts and proceed to interact with such ridiculers, "on merits". It is eminently possible that she could have some such ridiculers as life-long friends, even though the ridicule on this particular aspect too could last through the long relationship!

    If that line of thinking is fine, the way forward with the 'dark skin' issue could be for the parents to alert the child concerned to the possibility that she could be laughed at on various issues, this being (just) one of them and she could to respond to those in a certain fashion...

    This approach focusses on an internal locus. If the locus is deemed to be external, then I'd think there can only be a technical solution like mandating punishment of the ridiculer.


  31. EH Says:

    ooooo man!! Kewl one and the comments are also nice! You do have a style :-)


  32. Usha Says:

    Anon:
    Thanks for the wonderful long comment as well as sharing your own experience.
    Tthe idea of discussing these issues in the open is not borne out of a secret desirte for acceptance by the ridiculers but to come out and say it hurts in case they did not notice it and sensitize them as well to the issue and also make them see the pointlessness of it (as much as reaching out to the dark skinned ones to let them know they are not unique)That is the beginning towards handling meaningless prejudices.

    As you yourself pointed out ,we all "discover much later" the rationalisations for such behaviour. We do try to explain our experiences to our children when they are put through the same. But that does not take away from the fact that the child has been subjected to a meaningless prejudice when she/ he is still vulnerable which is unfair.
    on another point I am not saying that dark people "must" strive to prove their worth. I was only trying to say that it happened in my case and that was my way of handling it.
    Thanks.

    EH: Thanks


  33. Anonymous Says:

    My daughter sent this blog site for meto read as i probably bug her most of the time on some issues like wearing a pottu,etc.coming to the color issue arent most of our visions colored? I have a son who was born with a normal skin and due to some medications and illnesses his skin is having both hypo and hyper pigmentation.We never let him feel thats anything to hide,we have taken him everywhere and tho people stare ,he says they have nothing else to doand stares right back!As a child,when he was surrounded by the kids at school,he said,whats the matter havent you guys seen a boy before? They started laughing and he was the most popular guy in his LKG class.Now my son is 30 and workingin spite of his leg deformity has been driving an Ikon. Its what we encourage our kids to be that helps them to achieve. Geetha


  34. Usha Says:

    Geeta:
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I admire the attitude of your son and you for having instilled that confidence in him.
    When we are different by choice it is admired but when we are different by birth, we get strange glances.
    And in the case of dark skin, it is not even being different it is just degrees of darkness and we seem to be conforming to some pre set norm that less dark automatically equals beauty!
    There is no end to human stupidity and this is one of them.


  35. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, I never said, directly or indirectly, that there is any 'rationalisation of behaviour'. On the contrary, I have said explicitly that evidence of the attitude would not affect my relationship with the ridiculer, even if the ridicule persists as one aspect of the relationship.

    "...to come out and say it hurts in case they did not notice it and sensitize them as well to the issue and also make them see the pointlessness of it (as much as reaching out to the dark skinned ones to let them know they are not unique)That is the beginning towards handling meaningless prejudices." Frankly, I feel this is an excerise that is uncalled for. (Unless such ridicule carries the risk of material consequences like denial of rightful opportunities, that is.) That's precisely why states legislate against this behaviour as they are very well aware that it can more effectively be visited with legal penalty than with social sanctions.

    Offence gets returned 'undelivered' and without thanks, by the mere refusal to take it. For instance, if someone refers to me as "that tall & dark guy", why should I take offence only to the reference to the complexion and not to the height? Even if they said it with a sneer?

    And, I'm not saying all this from a rational (read 'unemotional' / 'unsentimental') perspective. I would also have gone along with your views had I had a craving for being accepted (even respected) by the scornful. Temperamentally, I haven't felt so, till now. That way, I'm lucky because, complexion is just one in a long laundry list of references that one could be cut up with, and, to be equitable to all the grievances worked up would mean that one's entire lifetime is consumed by wallowing in self-pity.


  36. Shree Says:

    Hi,
    Im sure it would please you to know that even fair skinned and good looking woman have a rough time specially at the work place. You work your butt off, have developed great skills with years of slogging but as you rise the corporate ladder everyone thinks its your looks thats getting you places and not your talents and intelligence. If you are a good looking woman you just get slotted into the "dumb and beautiful" category and you have to put in more than double the effort than an average looking woman to prove your talents. You have men in the work place smirking at you when asked to take an order. So my dear the grass is always greener on the other side and Im talking from personal experience


  37. Usha Says:

    Anon:
    Ok, when u said that you discovered much later that the people who ridiculed you had nothing against you I thought it was a result of adult reasoning. Thanks for the clarification.
    Discrimination does not lie only in denial of opportunities overtly, covert discrimination causes much emotional harm. When I was made to feel unattractive because of some bias, I did suffer like my friend's daughter.My self confidence took a beating. Now i see how stupid the whole situation was. if there is any girl out there who is suffering like I did and my friends daughter does, I want them to see this discussion and know that there are very smart and successful people in the world who have bee treated similarly and ones colour does not matter.
    I wrote this primarily for my friend's daughter - it is a necessary exercise for me to that extent.
    When you are young acceptance and approval matter to ones nurturing and very few people can be impervious to peer sneers.Temperamentally you seem to be lucky.
    perhaps your comments will make her see the other side too.
    Thanks


  38. Usha Says:

    Shree:

    No kind of discrimination pleases me.And the kind of situation you are talking about would apply as much to any successful women irrespecive whether her appearence corresponds to their ideas of good looks. The bias is fast disappearing as the evaluation processes are becoming more transparent and objective.

    (On another note, it is easy for me to recognise a lighter skinned woman but I dont know of any special kind of women who are "good looking". To me all women are good looking)


  39. After a long time I am blogging and blog-hopping, so here I am :) I hope I was as consistent and passionate as you.

    You mention in your response to the last comment that "the bias is fast disappearing as the evaluation processes are becoming more transparent and objective." I don't think so at all, considering that Fair and Lovely has never been sold more aggressively as it is today. Then you also have the numerous creams and skin clinics that promise to "lighten" your skin.

    And it is very kind of you to say that "all women are good looking". It may be politically correct to say such things in a public blog, but the public, alas, does not seem to share the view very enthusiastically.

    The problem arises when a woman herself thinks she is not very good looking, and goes on to become an easy victim of colour complex without even putting up a fight.

    In my opinion, the attitude of a woman matters more than the looks, but women rarely seem to realise that. A young woman runs pillar to post trying to become fair. A mother wants her prospective daughter-in-law to be fair. A mother is disappointed when her own child turns out to be dark. A girl feels cheated when her own sister turns out to be fairer than her... the list is long.

    Unless women change their own mindset and attitude, it would be unfair to blame the society for talking in terms of dark versus fair.

    Cheers!


  40. Usha Says:

    BG:I have been following your posts.

    I would associate the sale of "fair and lovely" with the bias for fairer women in society and has nothing to do with the performance appraisals which by and large are becoming transparent in the private sector.
    I agree that a woman who feels good about herself looks very attractive.The whole drift of the post was to make that point - that the colour of one's skin is not a refelction of one's personality or abilities.


  41. Anonymous Says:

    I am sorry I am late on the bandwagon. (I just discovered your blog yesterday, and couldn't stop reading!) I am at the flip side of this issue, yet I completely agree with you. (Unfortunately, I don't think that this side gets a fair share of the conversation). I am a fair-skinned girl, born in India, but brought up in the USA. The first I ever came across this issue is when we went to India for the first time. I was twenty then. I had cousins, friends, acquaintances remark about how lucky and beautiful they think I am because of my skin color. As flattered as I was for being complimented, I did not understand how it had anything to do with having fair skin. It is very uncomfortable to be in this situation, especially as I do not like to draw attention to myself. I am very confident about my looks, but still, I could do without the remarks (example: "See how white she is!" or "If you want to be white like her, you must do this"[a mother to her 10-year-old daughter]).
    I personally do not see how skin color makes any difference; I have friends with all colors. But like you said, for some people, this is a matter of confidence, or lack of it. I am sorry if I came across as insensitive, but I just wanted to share the flip side of the story.