The Battle to end the obsession with lighter skin
Before jumping onto the in-depth discussion on lighter skin and its obsession, let us understand what is light skin/ dark skin and complexion. Complexion means the natural color, texture and appearance of the human skin, especially the skin on the face.
A person’s complexion is a trait which is desired in a person through his or her biological composition. Looking at the science of complexion, ‘melanin’ is a biological factor or pigment which is responsible for all the types of variation in complexion in humans.
The quantity of melanin in a person’s epidermis of skin determines the complexion of their skin. The more melanin a person has in their skin, the darker their skin will be and vice versa. So, you see?!
complexion is directly related to science or human Physiology and has nothing to do with beauty.
so, where did this notion come from? Let us find out!!
In India as we know and witnessed every single day in our lives that light complexion or fair skin is associated with beauty, power, status and money.
Talking about the history of Fair complexion and its obsession, throughout medieval and modern history, the Indian subcontinent has been on the radar of various European settlers and traders, the Portuguese, Dutch and French. All these foreign ‘visitors’ were of relatively fair complexion, and many claimed to be superior (Neha mishra, 2020).
The successors therefore, started to associate the skin tone to money, power and status which has not been able to eradicate over all these years of modernisation. These mindsets over years developed through all the next generations And made way for itself in these modern times and act as a huge barrier in the lives of people who seek opportunities but do not get them due to their complexion. Fueling the development of discriminatory and degrading beauty standards and products like fairness creams etc.
Society and its obsession with lighter skin-
Society! what is society and who makes society?
society is where we live and survive and ‘we’ the people make societies. So somewhere we also believe in some notions knowingly or unknowingly that they are wrong to believe in. People like us, still believe in the association of lighter skin with power, status and money which in turn results in discriminatory practice adoption by people like keeping unreal demands or choices (at the time of marriage), hurtful comments, passing judgements on a person on the basis of their skin tone, exclusion from many practices etc., the list goes on ….
The biggest example can be the launch of fairness products and certain skin care products which claim to lighten the skin tone of dark-skinned people to some degree.
Consequences of such a mindset in society?
Inferiority complex in children and also in adults with dark skin.
Hatred or neglectful perspective development in fair skinned people for people with dark skin.
Development of suicidal tendencies, depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders in people.
Development of self hate.
Poor performance in profession or workplace or schools and colleges.
Lack of opportunities or lesser opportunities for dark skinned people.
Even crime, due to jealousy and inequality in the society.
Development of slave mentality, where dark skinned people are the victims of slave mentality.
Association of light or fair skin with women in India-
Complexion discrimination is widely turn from women, for women. Let us see why-
As we see our ancient Hindu classification, caste system is there along with colour discrimination. The darker the person is, the lower his or her status will be in the society, targeting women more than men as it is a belief that women are the idols of beauty and grace, so if a woman is not fair skinned, she is believed to be ugly.
This mentality is very dangerous and it further solidifies through stories depicting characters with dark skin as ugly and unwanted characters, due to such stories this mindset is instilled in children from a very young age forcing them to develop the same mindset of hating or neglecting people around them who are dark skinned.
Conclusion: the battle to end the obsession with light skin still continues and will go on-
Every soul on this planet has its own purpose to fulfill irrespective of factors like caste, creed, race, gender, religion, even skin complexion. And all these factors in No way make a person unworthy of anything he or she deserves. Having said that, I would like to highlight that every colour should be accepted, whether dark or light or any other coloured skin. Each of you and we are beautiful and worthy. Mindsets cannot be combated but believing in oneself and not in such notions gives one the strength to combat such dangerous mindsets.
One should be able to strongly believe in their inner strength and hard work rather than such notions which make them doubt their capabilities because of their complexion.
-By Smridhi Nangia