Friday, June 27, 2008

Of fairer skin and greener grass....

I have often wondered why the grass is greener on the other side. We Indians seem to be enamored with fair skin. We try all types of creams trying to change our skin tone. Until very recently, even the most talented actress would put powder all over herself trying to appeal to Indian audiences. Marketeers have gone to the extent of introducing “Fair and Handsome” – a fairness cream for men!

The paradox hits me every time I see fair skinned foreigners and their love for the sun. We usually run for the cover of umbrellas so as not to get tanned and they put extra lotion on themselves so that they DO get tanned. They can often be seen lying on pool sides or beaches trying to get a dusky complexion.

So is it just a case of greener grass on the other side? I think not. It is my opinion that fair skinned people have only recently started admiring dark skin. If that wasn’t the case, the evil step mother should have said “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the darkest of them all”. To be ‘fair’ is associated with good things. To be just, to be pretty. White has always been the color of heavens and angels. But on the other hand, dark connotes evil, doom, negativity. Why is it that the Victorian era always saw women carrying little umbrellas to save their skin from the rays of the sun?

I am not a sucker for fairness. I don’t get a heart-attack if I get a tan line and I don’t think Bipasha Basu is any way less pretty than Aishwarya Rai. But neither is it alarming to me anymore when Indian women run for the cover of umbrellas when they come out of the swimming pool. It’s just the way we are….


B2 said...

Some random thoughts on this:

With significant first hand experience with fair looking folks aka "goras", "guai lo" or "gaijin", the ghostly pale looking fair people totally gross me out. They actually look quite sick - like the underbelly of a common house lizard or a fat plump pig ready to be cooked.

This is especially true for many Europeans or those from north east of the US who get little sun (so excluding the ones from the mediterranean, CA, FL and TX - who can be just amazing looking). There is a reason for a multi B$ market for tanning - tanning salons, tanning creams, lotions, etc. etc.

Now the other side of the story - there are equal number of what I call "suckers" specially in Asia who spend money to avoid getting tanned. And amazingly enough, in India folks are fleeced by marketeers selling them products to not just avoid tanning but actually make them fairer! Huh? Don't these people know that a 100 years from now when the ozone layer has been totally burnt off by the cars on the US, and now Chinese and Indian roads, only individuals with darker strains and loads of melanin in their skin will survive? The rest would have been wiped out by skin cancer.

Grass is most certainly greener on the other side .. unless you have the right kind of grass, then you are just fine ;-)

Harnoor Channi-Tiwary said...

:) I agree. Its probably one big marketing game! I like the part about us surviving once the ozone layer is gone though!!

Anonymous said...

hi hanu just trying to learn to post

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