An Un-Fair Psyche

May 07, 2010

Last weekend lolling around in a Delhi mall, I spotted a reputed skin clinic’s counter.  Do you stock exfoliating scrubs? Yes ma’am we do, but all the tubes I was shown were endowed with magical whitening-brightening formulas.  No thank you, I’m happy with my dark skin, can’t I have an old fashioned scrub that will not mess with my melanin production? I walked off empty-handed.

In a light-skin fixated nation like ours, most skin care products have a hidden fairness agenda.  From your humble soap, to your moisturiser or even your body cream.   Walk in to your local salon and they will offer unsolicited advice and quick fix solutions to your so-called dusky skin woes.  It seems as if the whole world is conspiring against your melanin production.  In the future, it’s quite possible that we’ll have ACs that release fairness inducing ions, or a wet cleansing tissue that lightens your skin tone with every wipe.  Picture this - the dusky and ‘how can she be happy’ dame gets back home after a long gruelling day at the office.  She wipes her makeup off with ‘whitewash’ cleansing tissues, takes one long look at herself (I hate me, her heart sobs), switches on her new ‘LG-furiously fair’ AC and drops off to sleep.  Morning, she wakes up and is dazzled by her own, much improved reflection.  She reaches office, her by-now-fair avatar has her colleagues swooning in ecstasy, the boss takes one long look at her, gives her a shy smile and hands her the long overdue promotion.  She lives happily ever after.

Our obsession for light skin is more than skin deep.  Be it a commercial ad, a movie or a serial, the light skinned protagonist will usually be a confident, sassy girl with the world at her feet. The dark skinned girl on the other hand is invariably portrayed as a tragedy queen, whose cup of woes runneth over.  She is usually a mousy looking girl, who smiles once a month and has yet to discover a shampoo.

Even men who want to settle down expect a “fair and lovely” bride. The groom may be an ugly, pot- bellied apology of manliness, but he will expect a fair bride. I have slogged through school and college, and am stuck with this blood sucking company - I now deserve a reward.

No wonder half the population is busy slathering themselves with fairness lotions.  But do we even care to know that these lotions do us more harm than good?  Most of these creams contain bleaching agents; even creams branded as Ayurvedic contain chemicals and a harmful alloy of metals.  Prolonged usage has health risks attached, yet we continue to be the largest consumer of fairness lotions in the world. I’d rather have my skin peeling off than be doomed to a dark future!But things are slowly looking up.  Dusky is no longer considered a criminal offence in certain circles of our society.  Bronzers, skin tints are slowly inching their way into our make- up essentials. Rather than having their face look like a painted mask, many women are only too happy to flaunt their sun kissed complexions. Healthy skin looks better any day than cosmetic aided sallow skin.

 But just when we were heaving a sigh of relief, the men go ahead and join the fairness bandwagon. If women can do it, why can’t we?

The dark extra in a movie looks longingly at the fair hero of the movie. One fine day he discovers the joys of a fairness cream powered by lemon and voila in the next shot he is getting mobbed at the premiere of the movie, while the hero is scowling in the background. The dark dame now has company.

Once upon a time teacher who has opinions on everything and anything. Not a crusader, but someone who enjoys books, movies, music(not just any) and is an avid traveller. Loves poking fun at everything especially herself...
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