Pooja Poddar Marwah

A shade card

This one is dedicated to all the women out there who believe in the stereotype tagline of ‘Fair is Lovely.’ There is a huge bias when it comes to skin colour. For time immemorial, we have been witness to matrimony ads asking for a fair woman.

‘Wanted tall, slim, FAIR woman, working yet homely. Should be willing to help with work, both house and office. Long hair, perfect smile, affectionate, rich, loyal, cosmopolitan. Etc etc…’

(notice the caps, please and ofcourse, the list of demands. How interesting it is to place an advert that asks for qualities, when nine out ten times, neither of these will be in the man.)

Not being sexist here, but being honest. Lets face it – A fair woman is considered a goddess of sorts! And sadly, in India, it is very much prevalent even today. The skin colour of a child or a bride will always be spoken of! Even categorised by race, sometimes. Our country is a land abundant with colour and culture. Every part of our peninsula has different shades of people and that is what makes us a nation of diversity.

A large chunk of this is to be blamed on the corporate bigwigs who wanted to sell their fairness creams. And thanks to the crusade by Ram Subramanium two years ago, we have a start. To uncolour India, it will take more than just one man who very rightly says, that the Corporate Bigwigs are just a variant of the East India company, that have succeeded in setting us back by 100 years. Instead of focussing of growth, progressiveness and economy, they drilled inside our heads, from a very young age, that Fair is Lovely. Fair people stand a better chance of getting the coveted job, A fair girl will find herself a rich successful man. A fair girl is beautiful.

But, beautiful is actually her heart. It is her empathetic ability to love and care. A beautiful woman is one that is resilient, that is strong and that is compassionate. She is one that never gives up, no matter what the odds may be. Her beauty is not dependant on a shade card, for she is more than just a colour.

Most of us Indians are wheatish and it is a tone that the world prides on. Why else would there be tanning parlours or people sunbathing at every chance they get? But, for patriarchal reasons, we are made to believe that fairness and beauty go together.

Even today, at cosmetic shops, there are rows and rows of creams that scream – whiteness, fairness, spotless.. Pond’s White Beauty Daily Spot-Less Lightening Cream. …Lakme Perfect Radiance Intense Whitening Day Creme. …Garnier White Complete Multi Action Fairness Cream. …Lotus Herbals Whiteglow Skin Whitening & Brightening Gel Creme. …VLCC Fair Skin Snigdha Face Cream. …Biotique Bio Dandelion Ageless Lightening Serum.

And my answer to all of them is  – You need to go. We don’t need to be ageless, spotless or fair. We are who we are and pride ourselves on that. Being a woman of substance does not depend on her colour, it relies on her mind.

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