India’s Disturbing Obsession with Fair Skin

The new Miss America would have a hard time being Miss India

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While some Americans have made bitterly racist remarks about Miss America Nina Davuluri based on the color of her skin, it seems that people in India have problems with her dark skin as well. Some even speculate that Davuluri wouldn’t have been fair-skinned enough to win a pageant in her parents’ home country.

Take a look at previous Miss India winners and the vast number of skin-whitening products promoted by Indian celebrities, and it quickly becomes clear: the country is obsessed with fair skin. According to dermatologist Jamuna Pai, who has clinics in various locations in India: “Unfortunately, in our country, they think looking better means you have to look fairer.”

176 comments
elapandya
elapandya

When my daughter, who has beautiful wheatish skin, was around age 8-9 my mother-in-law told her to start washing her face with turmeric and yogurt so her skin becomes lighter. My daughter looks a lot like my mother-in-law, only m-i-l is very fair skinned and my daughter is not and when people say how my daughter resembles her, my m-i-l rejects the idea stating that my daughter is not as fair as her. However, even at age 8-9 my daughter had told her, Thankfully, my daughter is a strong personality and such comments never bothered her.

HappyAsIAm
HappyAsIAm

Grass is always greener.  People with straight hair want curly.  People with light skin want dark.  There will always be products for every case.  Perms, Straighteners, Tanning booths, Bleaches, hair dyes, colored contacts.  Just think how many companies would go out of business if folks were happy with who they are and what they have.

Guy_India
Guy_India

America’s Disturbing Obsession with Dark Skin.... :-)

NoethigImelda
NoethigImelda

In my opinion,Indian women are beautiful just the way they are,there it's no need to harm yourself with dangerous products, plus your skin it's better cause it's healthier,in North America women spend a lot of money to get close to your skin color. Hope this help.

ashablue78
ashablue78

you know this is not restricted to India but to a lot of Asia, there are a lot of whitening products out there in lots of Asian countries

Vuil
Vuil

In India and Africa women aspire to be white.  Regardless of the politically correct nonsense posted here women want to look white.


And why not. Tiger Woods, Kofi Annan, Seal and the black NBA and NFL players all choose white women, preferably blondes.  Gentlemen of whatever color prefer white, preferably blondes.  Sometimes reality is tough to deal with.


Here is some help for the concerned.


http://beauty.about.com/od/beautybyageteensto50/f/How-Can-I-Lighten-My-Dark-Skin.htm

bf43737
bf43737

This article is purely idiotic. I don't know if the author is a "race baiter" or just an idiot. How do you know if a country over a billion is "clearly obessed with fair skin"?  India is not obsessed with "whiteness".  Some do, Some don't. Just like Some blacks do(Beyoncé) and some don't. Eminem hates being white but loves "blackness".  You get it? Who ever wrote this racist article should be fired or made to eat tati.(indian word for feces)

klp_pdc@yahoo.com
klp_pdc@yahoo.com

Let me reflect on this article. Some bigoted and racist Americans made racist comments about a brown skinned person winning Miss America. So instead of condemning them, these white guys at Time are lecturing India about India's so called obsession with fair skin? Give me a break form this hypocrisy. India does adore brown skinned ladies. If you care to watch Bollywood movies, there are many dusky beauties gyrating their bodies on the item songs. Kajol, Bipasha Basu are few names that come to mind.


Then there is a huge South Indian movie industry where almost everyone has a dark skin tone. So I don't see whether India is obsessed with White skin. It is a western superiority complex projected on Indians. duh.

AmandaDenning
AmandaDenning

Dear Indian ladies: You are beautiful in the skin you are born in. Don't feel the need to change it to suit a superficial "white" ideal of beauty. Your beauty is your own, truly unique as rare diamonds. Don't put your health at risk with bleaches, it's not worth it.

bill.pfeifer
bill.pfeifer

When reading about "some Americans" making stupid remarks, please keep in mind that the internet is very universal here, and that most children have internet access. Some immature early teens enjoy upsetting grown-ups and will write stupid, mean, vicious, racists things just to laugh at the adults who react with great anger to their remarks. It gives them a feeling of power over their elders.

When you read a post, you cannot know the true age of the writer. I could claim to be 9 years old, or 90. How could you verify either one?

saurabh.d21
saurabh.d21

While Indians do have affinity with fair skin, and on some occasions favoured fair skin. West has always been ignorant and stereotyped Asia and has preferred to take cover of stereotypes to hide its ignorance and lack of knowledge!

Apparently, the fact that dark skin has always been in in Indian modelling circuit and most of Indian super models (@http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milind_Soman) and beauty pageant winners were either not fair skinned or were dusky, is well known..
Not just that 2 of India's Miss Universe were also dusky @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushmita_Sen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_dutta

Therefore, the so called righteous western concern that dark skinned people like Nina herself wudnt have won anything in India is nothing but another Western fallacy and accentuates their ignorance and habit of stereotyping and pointing fingers at others, which is further highlighted by the fact as to how disgracefully they attacked Nina by calling her Negro, Talibani, Terrorist, not knowing she was actually an Indian - nothing but a blind, uneducated and ignorant West!!
And I wonder what does the word "World" mean for Americans, maybe it stands for America only!!

SRS1234
SRS1234

So USA is no better than India ? Writer is trying to justify the actions of racial remarks at the pageant ? Grow Up. 

satkaru
satkaru

Writer is correct.   It is more than true that India digs fair skin.. When a kid is born in inda the first question is .. how is the kid, is he/she fair?   Probably Green rules India more than black or white :-)  It probably is true in the entire world.  We all know Green is money..


But It doesn't mean that dark people are less confident nore they think they are less attractive...   Fortunately.. every single individual likes the way they look.. God wired us that way..  When we look in that mirror in the morning..every one feels Great or  atleast find an angle where they feel they are very attractive.. Beauty is definitely not in skin color..but on a % basis..fair skin people look better than dark skinned...but again the most beautiful of all that ever lived is Cleopatra who is of black heritage.


BottomLine: Beauty is in the eye of beholder... 

shekon
shekon

The white slave mentality comes from colonialism, lack of self confidence, historical subjugation, lack of a national character and the invasions by European savages / islamic invaders. Add to this poverty, past 500 year negative history and the ultimate filth from mainstream Indian cinema and tv soaps, you have a culture that values fair skin akin to salvation.


Most Asians follow and want to join ranks with the dominant race (which since last 500 years has been western races)


I was like that until I came to US - then I ended up being more successful that 99.9% so called "whites"  - employing few hundred of them in my home & ventures.


The white race superiority -brown inferiority was a small brain fart that lasted few years. Now I have brown superiority complex :)


Indian superiority complex - we are smarter, brighter, richer, most educated minorities. 

My father employs a British white butler and several white domestics in our estate. Lets not go more into the maids and how we use (misuse) white (pink) women..hehe  


White race has advantages ... our chauffer looks better than us .. his employers .. He gets the ladies attention - not me lol - looks are not my valuable assets. My Muslane Turbo is :)


On a deeper level - Most gods in Hinduism are dark skinned - Krishna, Jaggnath, Shiva and then more. Dark skin is Kali - she is pure shakti - black and the adobe of all.


If you are a Hindu, dark skin is gift of the gods. Learn to love your body - and for god's sake apply deo and work out. respect your body and how you present yourselves.


Most desi/Indians in US look like vegetables mated with humans.



Read more: India’s Disturbing Obsession with Fair Skin | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/09/19/miss-america-is-too-dark-to-be-miss-india/#ixzz2n5zySTNR

supriyabsb
supriyabsb

This is cliche! I am Indian and I love my tanned skin and so do all the women I know!

sridhark8
sridhark8

Title itself is quite disturbing, Writer assumed that only whit skin can be called fair ....

temple9222
temple9222

and how about americans obsession with tanning???

JohnSmith36
JohnSmith36

Americans do NOT think the dark skinned hideous looking Michelle Obama is attractive. Only politically correct liberals (who are all over the media) do and try to make everyone think that Americans do. But Americans DONT.
Don't go by what you read in the media. The media do not speak for mainstream America.

SharpInk
SharpInk

This is not unique to Indian people. Many ethnic groups favor fair skin over darker skin, as well as straight hair over...less straight, etc. Comedians have done routines about this. Entire industries revolve around this and not just in India. The reasons may differ from place to place but the effect is the same: one person is preferred to another because of the way they look.

w1hit1der
w1hit1der

Krishna was black, nowadays he's stylized blue, like an oxygen deprived,someone who ingested silver nitrate, or is inbred into the Blue Fugues... I wonder why.

clarkbar
clarkbar

One Indians are NOT Asian.  You are from a subcontinent of sub race people.  Japanese, Chinese, Koreans are Asians.  Not Indians.  Geopolitical reasons gave you that moniker.  There are three main races African, Asian, European. Negroid, Mogoloid, and Caucasiod.  Everyone else is some offshoot of the genetic wheel.  Let Crick and Darwin duel it out in hell.      Furthermore,  the Indians with light skin who are posting here make me laugh.  If I tie you to a post and leave you outside in the sun for several hours your skin will darken to PITCH!  You will not return to the light SKIN.   On the other hand Caucasions or Europeans can burn themsevels to black and in a few days and weeks return to rosey peachy White.  That is the difference!   So, Bollywood lights beware of that sun you will stay that way!  So will Asians, real Asians.

ConwaytheContaminationist
ConwaytheContaminationist

I suppose America now claims the right to tell other nations how to think. 

India's affairs are NONE OF OUR BUSINESS, period.

unblvble
unblvble

If America thinks michelle Obama is the most beautiful person on earth, so be it.  don't force your opinion on the worlds largest democratic country.

unblvble
unblvble

yes Indians are obsseesd with fair skin so WHAT?  It is our country and we like to do what we want.  If americans don't like WHO CARES?

SaimaShaikh
SaimaShaikh

I think it's absolutely pathetic! What's wrong with the Asian society! They are still living in the dark ages old fashion views! God has produced human's with different skin colours, if it was all fair it would be boring!

I am a British Asian, born and bred in London. My parents came from Pakistan and I am naturally fair skin and I get this from my dad. Yes my dad was fairer than my mum when he married her. Being fair doesn't always been attractiveness. I get really upset when Asian darker skin girls bat eyes on me as they are jealous! This is the colour, that God gave me! I have seen darker skin men and women who have very attractive features. The features are important not the colour! Wake up India and Pakistan, yes Pakistan also have an obsession with wanting a 'Gorah rung'. Get out of the dark ages! Bollywood actresses should be ashamed, they go too such lengths too get a fairer complexion and are actually setting a bad example to women in India. Be comfortable in your own skin! My nephew has darker skin but mashallah he is hansome, I keep telling him the world would be a boring place if everyone had the same colour.

It's not just Asian's who have an obsession with dark skin but black people also desire to have fair skin. It's so strange as white people want the opposite, they want to be tanned!

Get out of the dark ages stop this older generation thinking!

I have seen fairer skin people who don't always have attractive features!

Wake up!

cordispaldano
cordispaldano

People never desire to be white or black or yellow or blue...  They just desire to be loved, to be widely accepted and gain the respect of other members of their society. 

Unfortunately in India, thousands of years of caste based domination by fair skinned Brahmins and centuries of colonial rule by light skinned Europeans, means that to the average Indian, fair skin has become synonymous with beauty and intelligence.

I am Indian and relatively fair skinned and I'm aware of the advantages it confers on me. I'd understand if darker skinned people wanted those advantages for themselves...

In Europe, pale skin was fashionable in the era when it meant that the person was rich enough to afford not working in the sun... now tanned skin is fashionable because it means that the person is rich enough to go on vacations by the sea...

If the Chinese take over the world, we'd obviously all want to be yellow. 



yw1234
yw1234

@Vuil Seriously?  And many Asian women could argue that white men actually prefer Asian women, otherwise some angry racists wouldn't have developed the term twinkies for that mixed relationship.  The world is full of ignorance. If you think that most gentleman prefer blondes, you have been given more than your share of iignorance.

LN1126
LN1126

@klp_pdc@yahoo.com People who do care to watch Bollywood movies have noticed that the leading actors are unnaturally fair-skinned. Yes, there is a huge South Indian movie industry where almost everyone has dark skin, but a majority of north Indians tend to look down on these folks. I'm Indian and I'm only stating the obvious. I was brought up in a country where it is very apparent that the fairer your skin, the more beautiful you are considered or even superior. This dates back to India's history of Aryans and the 'Untouchables.'


The most ironic part about your comment is that the celebrities you mentioned are the very celebrities that are photoshopped to look fair-skinned, Kajol in particular. Besides, you could only find two because there really aren't that many "dusky beauties" in the Bollywood industry.


Please don't downplay a serious article that needs all the attention that it is getting.

silmarwen
silmarwen

@saurabh.d21 Maybe those people you mentioned are slightly "darker" than the 'lily white' high standard of fairness that most Indians are set on achieving, but you have to agree that the Indian modeling industry and film industry and beauty pageants do a pathetic job of representing the great variety of shades in the India. I'm not going to argue about what is "dark" (in my humble opinion those 3 links you posted are all 'light' skinned people) so I'll just say that by no means is Indian media/advertising/pageants/modelling showing equality to all shades. But what can you do. When you have such narrow-minded people, it's difficult to change them.  


I wouldn't call the entire West ignorant, that's only a minority of people who said that and it got magnified because the rest of us were shocked. Calm down. But it's true that Caucasians shouldn't point fingers. The great majority of the advertising in the U.S. is targeted to Caucasian Amercians and they also perpetuate 'white standards of beauty' whether they mean to or not. 

AmandaDenning
AmandaDenning

@satkaruactually, Cleopatra was Greek. If you want a true ancient Egyptian beauty, google Nefertari.

Pjoe1237655
Pjoe1237655

@JohnSmith36  just because it is what you  think doesn't mean it is what everyone thinks. I'm an American and I think she is beautiful. Btw, where did she come from? Talk about going off topic.

nichtree
nichtree

@JohnSmith36 I'm an American, and I think she's hot. There your 13 year old rant just got proven false. 

Pjoe1237655
Pjoe1237655

@clarkbar  You are going WAY off topic. Before I start pointing off your mistakes, i want to tell you about your cheap mentality. You going and ranting behind the computer screen will not do anything. Where did Japanese, Chinese and Koreans come from? You are so stupid. Indians are Asians because India is in Asia. What makes Japanese, Korean and Chinese people more Asian? Their eyes? Before I go and stoop to your level and start taking out my anger, I want to ask you something. why are you referring to the Koreans, Chinese and the Skin to be real Asians. Let me guess, because they are lighter skinned? So what, that doesn't mean they look better. Everyone is pretty in their own way. So, it's better if you take a chill pill. What's your point for Europeans get lighter after they get darkened and Indians don't. i personally won't take it in a wrong way because there is NOTHING wrong with it.The way you said it was truly offending. With this childish mentality you are going to set up your own doom.

DeeWilson
DeeWilson

Are you for real?  Sadly ...yes
   You know whats crazy some people are trying to get tanned and some are bleaching their skin.  Wow what a mind game ...and we are getting played!

nichtree
nichtree

@clarkbar Huh? What does your comment have to do with the topic of this article discussing India's perception of its own people? And who provided the moniker of your so called three main races, in which you then name six? Do you actually feel superior thinking that somehow, there are races subordinate to you? Did 1962 pass you by too soon? 

Yeah, google 1962.

Your general delirious anger is transparent; you find any opportunity to comment your ridiculous rant behind a computer screen, to release your frustration of inadequacy and low self esteem. You time has passed, and you are the reason why people like you will lose power, dignity, your ability to be a person, as an individual and not a race.

And Crick and Darwin. Geez, give me a break. You must love the sound of your voice, when you speak

DeepakGupta
DeepakGupta

It is common knowledge that American created God and the Universe


ConwaytheContaminationist
ConwaytheContaminationist

@SaimaShaikh There is no such thing as god.

Wake up, and let others decide for their selves what is attractive or unattractive. It's called freedom of choice.

SharpInk
SharpInk

@cordispaldano  

 Agreed with you until you said yellow. I've yet to see anyone I'd consider yellow, just like I've never heard a Canadian say "aboot". Don't know where either of those stereotypes came from.

klp_pdc@yahoo.com
klp_pdc@yahoo.com

@LN1126 @klp_pdc@yahoo.com Just because you thought that fair skin is beautiful does not mean 1.2 billion Indians think the same way. Sorry you can't generalize about the behaviour of so many people. There are some racists in US and India. Does that make the entire country racist? I don't think so.

bf43737
bf43737

@LN1126@klp_pdc@yahoo.com

Your an idiot. You're the type of indian every indian is disgusted of. Maybe your stupid parents and ancestors "adored" faireness but most Indians do not. Superior? You have problems my friend. Tamils of india are the smartest of all Indians, and are very dark skinned. But who cares. FYI the history of racism due to skin color dates back to british india rule (white rule)you imbecile.

svn
svn

@ConwaytheContaminationist @SaimaShaikh Freedom of choice?You think indians chose fair skin over dark skin by using their freedom of choice?No bro,the concept of fair is beautiful in india is been made as an effect of british colonization of india.Its something which is forced upon millions of indians for centuries ,not something they chose to believe.You are still a slave to someone.

stormynite
stormynite

@bf43737 @LN1126 @klp_pdc@yahoo.com  I have been to many cities in southern India, such as Chennai, Coimbtore, Tiruchipalli, Vellore, Bangalore, Mysore, Vizag etc. and find many many women on street whose face is unnatural yellow that is because of turmeric application to appear the face lighter. So, accept the fact that Tamils and south Indians are obsessed with complexion.


Before British, there were ancient Ayurvedic applications and some medicines for pregnant women to eat to deliver lighter skinned babies. So don't put blame on British but it was our own obsession from the beginning which British people realized and exploited it to divide us.

ASadIndian
ASadIndian

@bf43737 @LN1126 @klp_pdc@yahoo.com  You are for sure a Tamil and hence ranting so hard against fairness as an indicator of beauty, which by the way I don't accept either.


Don't pass sweeping statements like Tamils are the smartest. Smartness has nothing to do with a race and is a gift of God shaped by hard work.

ConwaytheContaminationist
ConwaytheContaminationist

@svn That's right, blame someone else - like silly dead white people,  for other's preferences in skin tone. Other than that, your reply is incoherent; I am a "slave" to no one and nothing.