The problem of skin colour is an age-old hangover the subcontinent suffers from when it comes to setting beauty standards for women. As a society, we would like to believe that skin colour doesn’t come in the way of women being hindered in several walks of life. But that is very far from the truth. Fairness is still a big deal and as deeply ingrained in the minds of people as are ideas of caste purity or male superiority in India.
The Indian obsession with fairness, though owing an immense part, cannot be fully attributed to the colonial hangover. Obsession with fair skin dates back to pre-colonial times and have oftentimes found mention in ancient Hindu texts whole referring to woman’s beauty. The idea gets mired in concepts of race or caste( the equivalent for it in the subcontinent).
Fair symbolises purity while dark stands for the very opposite. Entire commercial brands have profited so much from drilling insecurities into the heads of people, that as a nation we have come to doubt our very own physical identities. Our identities and sense of confidence as women have been so eroded that commercials go to the extent of linking skin colour with betterment in professional spheres.
Added to that, a toxic celebrity culture which prioritised white skin colour over all else. Even till this date, almost every advertisement on any matrimonial site or newspaper column one comes across has above all the demand for a fair-skinned girl. It is like fair is automatically regarded as the ultimate marker of beauty. So much so that multitudes of the population place their belief in hollow promises of a company that profits by selling packaged enormities of insecurity to generations of women, old and new.
There have been measures taken by countries in Africa to ban the sale of fairness creams altogether. It’s high time India starts by limiting and censoring commercials promoting fairness creams. Brown is beautiful. We need to embrace this with open arms.