In recent times, a lot of celebrities, social activists, humanitarians, especially Indians have come out to support the cause of the dark-skinned. I feel strongly about it too, but when you come to think of it, don’t you think this is something that’s age old? So why have we suddenly awaken from our stupor and begun to talk about this with a vigorous moral ground as deep as our own insecurities? Better late than never, but hey, all I am trying to say is, Fair & Lovely has been synonymous with beauty from times of yore.

I met with a family who was looking to move abroad and we started discussing about how they could move to Dubai or UK or Australia…In between the scrumptious meal that we were having together, I was asked by the head of the family if there’s racism in the UK and if they would be differentiated based on their colour if they decide to move to the UK.

I thought for a moment, and said, “But, there’s racism in India, too!”

I wasn’t sure if they understood my sarcasm, but we didn’t drag the topic any further that night.

Well, was I wrong?

What rights do people have, to voice against racism, if they themselves differentiate based on colour?

Okay, in India, caste and colour is no bar when it comes to democratic and citizenship rights. However, within the society, within families, within sects, fair skin is preferred over the dark skin.

That’s the truth no one wants to hear and accept. But it is the truth.

Guess what, it exists in my family too.

So, yeah, let’s get this straight. I am not dark skinned. I don’t know how I would fare on the “fair-o-meter” (pun purposefully intended), but I am pretty fair. Not milk-fair but fair enough, if there ever was such a term. But when I was growing up, I wasn’t as fair as some of the girls around me, and was made to realize that every now and then. Not in a bad way, but just in passing. As if, someone else being fairer already makes them score ten points ahead of mine in whatever race of life it was that we were contesting. I did feel bad about it then. And yes, I did use a lot of those malignantly-advertised creams to improve my complexion. But, as I grew up, I began to understand that I didn’t need these creams, not because I was already “fair”, but because I didn’t feel the need to change my colour.

Whatever are the list of insecurities I have about my appearance, trust me, my complexion isn’t one of them. Thank God, I love the way my skin looks and feels and the way I find my own complexion sexy.

But that’s not the point here, is it?

What if I had lived in that white-infested society for longer, and been in circumstances, where my colour would be ridiculed, or worse, been made to feel inferior?

Let’s not make it about me. I am very fortunate.

But there are hundreds and thousands of girls who think that the fair can only be lovely, and if they are dark, they could never be lovely. There are thousands of girls, who are the by-products of maliciously-fact-morphing advertisements, who spend their money on these creams to become lovely.

Ladies, you already are lovely, and if you’re not, I highly doubt a dozen bottles of creams would ever be able to make you lovely.

Whether you are a fair-skinned or dark-skinned, you are lovely and beautiful – So learn to love your colour.

But, how does an entire generation of a million girls change their perception with just this article?

First and foremost, these ridiculous ads where a dark girl gets rejected from a job interview, and starts using a miracle cream and gets the job instantly and lives happily ever after needs to stop. Seriously. The Government censors adult movies and violence – Censoring such thought-altering-provocative slurs on impressionable minds needs to stop. God, these companies have started targeting men too!

There seriously is a dearth of fair and lovely men in this world – Whatever happened to tall, dark and handsome?

Anyway, once we stop this drama coming to our TV channels and hogging air time, we need a change of perception of beauty.

Tell me, what is the ratio of fair-skinned actresses versus dark-skinned actresses in Bollywood?

Bollywood, fashion and the glamour industry is synonymous with beauty.

So, we need more representation of the dark skin, not the way minority demands representation, but the way talent is limitless of color.

Once efforts are being taken to make the “dark-skin” as acceptable on bigger forums, hopefully, families and society will start looking at things differently too.

The thing is, the concept of what is beautiful and pleasing to the eye is so morphed because of years of mind-conditioning, that, it will really take years to change this.

One would ask, why do we need to use make-up or go for facials or apply any cream at all if not to increase the “gora nikhaar” factor of your skin?

We go for facials to remove dead skin, clean our pores, and take care of ourselves. That has got nothing to do with colour. We apply make-up to improve what we already have, not to change what we have.

And if I hear “gora nikhaar” from one more person, I swear to God I would paint their face with my kohl until they really shut up!

8 thoughts on “When will Fair & Lovely Stop Being Beautiful?

  1. Just what i feel too. every family which says they do not care about skin colour, go bride scouting who must essentially be fair skinned! So much for being liberal. And just what doors does it open, I am yet to understand until you just want to use the “fair-skin” to lead you somewhere! I would be devastated if i was being accepted by people around me for my fair-skin (yes – i am the “blessed” one as per many) and not my personality.
    The good part about this generation – they care a fig! And i love this attitude with respect to this issue. So lets keep this up and am sure our kids won’t bother much about being “Fair & Lovely”!

    Well written Reshmi 🙂


    • Thank you for your feedback! I agree with the bride scouting bit, I have been a part of a certain bride scouting gang where every member in the group was so obsessed with finding the right girl, but she had to be fair. It was alright if she was not-so-qualified, but god forbid, if her complexion was slightly on the darker side, she was rejected right away!


  2. Totally agree with every word you said!

    I really feel terrible for all those who are uncomfortable in their own skin. (Pun intended)

    One of my biggest peeves is hearing a girl tell another girl that she is blessed to have fair skin. But there’s something that I recently discovered and I’m sure a lot of people will be surprised to know this too. While most of the fairness cream ads in our country have girls in them, nearly 50% consumers of Fair & Lovely and other fairness creams are boys!

    I have always loved my color without bothering about how I would fare on the fair-o-meter! But like every boy or girl in our country there have been multiple instances when I’ve been made to feel inferior because of my colour and there is one particular incident that I just cannot erase from my memory.

    I was meeting make-up artists before my wedding and one of my aunts offered to accompany me for the first such meeting. And just when I finished discussing my look with the make-up artist, my aunt exclaimed, “Do you think you can make her look two shades lighter?”. I was aghast and didn’t know what to say. I was so shocked, embarrassed and hurt that I couldn’t utter a word, and just then the make-up artist spoke “If that’s what you want then you’ve come to the wrong place!”. And that decided it for me! I cancelled my appointments with all the other make-up artists I was supposed to meet and confirmed her for the most important day of my life 🙂


    • Hi Divyata, Thanks for sharing your experience – I think the obsession with fair skin is so deeply rooted in Indian society, within the realms of our families and within social paradigms, that it is almost impossible to contest something that people innately think in their minds automatically. Maybe your aunt did not realize what she said was offensive, maybe she thought that this was the norm! But I am glad that people are waking up from this stupor, especially people from our generation, who, thankfully find someone’s personality far sexier than their colour.


  3. It’s not only dark skin. Here in Korea there is actually a word “lookism.” It means you care too much about how people look. Absolutely superficial and ridiculous but it goes on…For example, even the Westerners make fun of how Asians have small eyes. Northeast Asians are obsessed about getting bigger eyes even if it means plastic surgery at the fastest opportunity right after graduation of high school, and this needs to stop! Just because certain races have bigger eyes, coloured eyes, tall height, fair skin etc. doesn’t mean they’re superior and have to make fun of other races for looking different. The dumbest part is that my people are following along with this stupid hype! We’re all the same Koreans and we make fun of each other for having smaller eyes or darker/more yellowish skin etc. This comparison is nonsense! And they idolize the foreigners with big blue eyes, tall figure and “small face.” Also, the average Korean figure is very skinny and yet most girls feel they aren’t skinny enough! What’s worse? Most Koreans have had plastic surgery and it’s something so normal and obvious! I agree that we need to change these biased, childish and foolish ideas.


    • Hi Keren – Thanks for your feedback – I never knew about the racial profiling being present within Koreans – It makes sense now that you mention. In India, differentiating on colour is something that has slowly but steadily seeped through doorsteps of society and it doesn’t stop there – Any north-east Indian is cat-called and even casually called “Chinki” -And the only way to change this is by ensuring that the generation that we are, put our foots down and stop allowing such loose talks to prevail in our presence!


  4. Love it! It is true that even our own parents ask us not to go out in the sun for fear if becoming ‘dark’. Good going Reshmi! 👍🏼

    Love the attention to details given in the blog. 😘

    Looking forward to more such articles!


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