I wanted to write a post on the obsession on having light skin the Indians have. First of, a disclaimer. I know not absolutely all Indians want to be whiter and many are happy with their natural skin tone. However, I will now make the generalization that a very large majority want to be whiter and there is plenty of evidence of this.
I personally think Indian women are the most beautiful in the world with amazing features and lovely skin that seems not to age at all. Still many of the women subject themselves to applying bleach and other “whitening” agents to their faces which can be very harmful – I mean just think of M.Jackson in the end. Where in the West we have ads and whole cosmetics aisles reserved for self-tanners, here they are replaced by whitening creams. All major brands do them, including, L’Oreal, Vaseline, Johnson&Johnson, Unilever, Ponds… The list goes on. Beauty salons offer “anti-tan” beauty treatments and bleach masks for the whole body if you so wish. Damnit, you can even buy a skin whitening deodorant! One won’t find a tanning salon or spray tan booth here. The whiter you are the better.
Why do the Indians – or actually many Asian cultures – want to be white? I don’t know if it relates to colour being associated with manual, agricultural labour or wealth or cast.
If you think this is just a cosmetic concern, I can tell you the colour issue can have big effects on people’s life. People can end up with mental problems if they consider themselves darker than rest of their family and thus somehow “unluckier” and “dirtier” (really). They might outright call themselves ugly because of their skin tone. Men (or actually the man’s parents) might even consider the skin tone a factor when choosing a spouse. It’s just really quite a big deal here what colour you are.
I wish I could say there is change in the air but I can’t. I get complimented all the time for being so white and “fresh”. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked which cream I use. Funny thing is people, who have not been exposed to the West, are a bit shocked when I tell about the tanning creams and salons, our Western obsession of getting tan to look healthy and how I love to sunbathe on the beach or at the pool. This has put things nicely into perspective when it comes to looks – nobody is ever happy with what they have and it is so vain and pointless… But yeah, I still try to sun bathe every once in a while hehe…
Here is a nice whitening cream ad for you to end this post. Note how the man is ready to propose once the lady becomes whiter. Sweet, eh?