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Semantee Chattopadhyay
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India, even in times of ‘modernization is yet to unlearn colourism. Almost for centuries, there has been a prejudice against dark skin. The skin lightening market in Asia-pacific alone is valued at over 13 billion dollars. Our television screens, magazines and even Facebook feeds repeatedly are bombarded with ads telling us that if we are not fair-skinned we are I have a loveless and unsuccessful life. By early 2000, fairness creams were immensely out-performing other beauty products with no skin lightening agents. The Indian whitening cream market was estimated at around 428 million dollars.
Some theories have events stated that the constant colonization of India by various light-skinned oppressors has led to the systemic belief that light skin is better and is associated with power. Historically people of the higher caste, with more privilege and power one more light-skinned than those in the lower castes. It was around the 18th century that Europeans began insisting that skin colour was an indicator of moral and intellectual qualities. According to some historians many ancient scriptures, folktales and epics, describe the good character as being fair-skinned, implying the dark-skinned characters to be evil. Fairness also comes in matrimonial ads as a trait that cannot be negotiated.
Models and actors are generally preferred to be light-skinned. In recent times this has been seen changing as dark-skinned actors are cast for the leading roles. We are friend here relatives saying, “you have got nice features, but the poor thing is you are dark” or “don’t go out in the sun you’ll get dark.” These statements can heavily affect people’s self-esteem. Skin lightening can lead to you serious skin and health conditions which include permanent skin bleaching, thinning of the skin, uneven colour loss, skin cancer and intense acne. Beauty in India is inextricable with fairness. It is given demonstrated by the Miss India winners. It is not only derogatory for women. A survey stated that 30% of women’s fair skin users were men. Although some strides are being made, like the dark is a beautiful movement, and some actors calling out judgements based on skin colour, there’s a long way to go before India can finally end its obsession with colourism.