A straightforward and a simple title, but a very difficult and a dynamic topic. Since ages, the beauty ideals across the world have been very different. From wanting a tall and slim wife in Europe to a robust woman in some parts of Africa- the beauty ideals for women have been even more different. I can speak for India. In India, a common ideal is ofcourse the much overrated and controversial- fair skin. Everybody in India wants to get fairer. We have traditional face packs to our grandmother’s remedies for getting a whiter skin. I don’t know if it’s a trailing effect of the colonial days or has the society always been like that but one thing is for sure, had not most Indians been brown, I think we would have been the most brutal racists on the planet.
The obsession which Indians have with white skin is crazy. Recently, a very famous company in India which sold a fairness cream called ‘fair and lovely’, dropped the initial word and is now called the ‘lovely cream’. I don’t know if changing names of products is really going to make a difference in the social mindset but it is a great leap forward. The fact that companies are willing to admit and accept that they do in fact have very racist ideals is a big change, a change for the better.
Growing up I was always loved by my teachers and relatives since I have a fairer skin than the average Indian. There was a time in my life where I felt that people who are dark have committed some crime that God made them like that. I didn’t like darker people as a child because it was fed into my mind by the society and my family that being fair is something great and is a privilege. It was only later when I got older and realised that skin is just- skin. It comes in various colours, shades, types but none is superior to some other. I feel that children these days are growing up in a much more acceptable environment. George Flyod’s death sparked off millions of protests across the world because people realised that racism is unacceptable. Imagine him being killed say even 20 years back. Do you really think people would have spoken up? I don’t think so.
I understand that the world still isn’t perfect nor is it ever going to be but from my life’s lense, I feel that the world is changing and it is changing for the better.