Dr Pai stated,"Fair skin is really an obsession with us, it’s a fixation even with the fairest of the fair, they want to be fair". Almost for centuries, the obsession with fairness has been there. This prejudice against the dark has been there.
We often hear that “She got lucky he married her despite her dark complexion”. Indians are obsessed with white skin, whitening is considered as ideal beauty ignoring the fact that our ancestors were brown and so are we. Dark skinned people are still under discrimination in many parts of India, as people humiliate them for it.
A study in 2012 by a women’s health charity in India found that childless couples often insisted on and paid more for surrogates who were beautiful and fair, as they wanted fair children.
From Shahrukh Khan singing “Yeh kaali kaali ankhein, ye gore gore gaal” in Baazigar to “White white face dekhe, dilwaa beating fast…” in Tashan, countless popular songs celebrate fair skin.
Over and over again we watch on televisions, magazines and even on Facebook feed that promotes fair lightening advertisement. In 2010 Indian whitening cream was witnessed to make profit of around $423 million and by 2014 it was estimated to make around half a billion dollars ( 3000 crores).
Most skin lightening treatments target the skin’s ability to produce pigment, or melanin, which gives skin, hair and eyes their colour. Everyone has about the same number of cells to make melanin, but how much you actually produce is down to your genes. Having more natural melanin means darker skinned people tend to develop fewer wrinkles and are less at risk of skin cancer.
Over the past obsession started when India was colonised and conquered by light skin oppression the Persians, Mughals and British have led to the symbolic belief that light skin is better with power.
Higher cast community were lighter than the lower castes because the lower caste mostly were farmers and construction workers, those were required to work under the sun which tanned them.
Most people in India are insecured of the skin they are living in. The insecurites are built over the fear of being rejected, being compared to other people and discrimination starting from their teenage days because of the standards made by the society.
Although many companies now are introducing dark complexion foundations to suit the dark skinned in India, there is a long way to go before India ends its obsession with fair skin. Yes, it is impossible to change the mentality of each and every individual who believes that white skin is an ideal beauty. No matter what colour skin you are of right now you are flawless.