Do you ever think about how different your life would be if you were more or less attractive? How would people treat you? Is beauty really as subjective as the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” suggests? Or is it actually objective, quantifiable by such concepts as the Golden Ratio? What exactly do people consider attractive, anyways? If the availability of fairness creams in India is of any indication, it seems that fair skin is the epitome of beauty.
Which further leads me to question …
What’s with this obsession with fair skin tones? Why are Asian communities (not just Indian) pining over something so trivial as a lack of melanin?
In all fairness (pun intended), can we really blame them? Hell, my own mother lathers Pond’s White Beauty cream over her face like there’s no tomorrow. After all, it’s no secret that those who sport darker, “dusky” complexions are subjected to bullying and straight-up colourism. With so many advertisements and celebrities endorsing Fair & Lovely creams, can we blame our duskier friends if they feel unlovely because they’re not fair?
My Experience with Fair Skin
In Canada, I would be considered dark. Now there are a ton of ways both cosmetics companies and uncomfortable white people would describe my complexion. Think “honey”, “golden”, “bronze”, etc. Personally, I love it. I love looking like a delicious honey golden graham cracker. Interestingly enough, I’m considered fair in India. At least relatively. As much as I hate to admit it, this fact has made my experience in Mumbai easier.
I’ve already mentioned that Indians have a fascination with foreigners. (Read: Top Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal) Everything from the way you dress, to the way you speak, to the way you carry yourself, makes you stick out like a sore thumb. In addition, having fair skin gives you a huge advantage, at least according to my personal experiences and anecdotal evidence.
Being fair means walking into a general store and being treated with the utmost respect, whereas my darker counterparts are mistaken as store employees. I’ve had a number of women approach me and tell me they wished their skin was “pale” like mine. A number of Bollywood celebrities take to whitening creams and glutathione pills in hopes of landing their next gig a few shades lighter. My colleague told me that foreigners are likely to be granted more opportunities simply because of their skin tone.
What is your experience? Do you think those with fair complexions are given preferential treatment?