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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The perfect skin color

So I just got back from my morning run to the Indian grocery store. That is the only place I get those cake rusks I love so much with my cup of morning chai. It was meant to be a quick in and out kind of  a trip. The Indian store was surprisingly very busy for a Sunday morning. As I entered I exactly knew the shelf where they keep the toast and which brand I wanted. Before my hunger pangs could get any worse I rushed to the check out line so that I could finally be home and enjoy my piping hot chai and these toasts.

As I stood in the checkout line waiting for my turn a couple just joined the queue right behind me. The husband was an Indian "brown-skinned" male and the wife was an American "white-skinned" female. (You will understand why I used quotes just in a bit). The wife started looking at the nearby shelves and her attention was caught by the line of fairness creams. She burst laughing looking at the advertising images on the box of the cream. She immediately pulled her husband and said pointing to the model on the cover "So do you expect her to become less brown after applying this cream? Ohh look her eye color has also changed to blue! They have it for men as well.." She continued laughing and made some more snarky remarks about the concept of a fairness cream and how Indians wanted to become "Fair" and would do anything for it. Her husband pulled a little away with an embarrassed frown. 

Now don't get me wrong, I am the last one to favor fairness creams or discriminate or judge people based on their skin color. That would be extremely presumptuous on my part. But what struck me was before entering into the grocery store I had noticed a tanning salon right next door. I wondered to myself how is applying fairness cream any different than getting sessions of fake tanning or applying tanning solutions to your skin. The desired result is the same where you want to alter the original color of your skin. I was trying to understand why were fairness creams so funny as compared to tanning on the beach or artificially.

As I thought more on this, I realized it is more of a contextual rather than a cultural difference between people coming from different parts of the globe. I learnt that you can't really judge why people do different things without knowing the complete context. No doubt that the attitude among Indians that a person is considered lovely if they are fair is kind of immature and archaic. But probably this originated centuries back from the Aryan/Dravidian racial divide. Years of the British rule and treating brown-skinned as slaves could have also contributed to this attitude. 

In the end whether you are going to tanning salon, lying on a beach to get that beautiful caramel skin, applying a lighter shade foundation cream or scoops of fairness cream every morning to get that milky white skin - It is your body! If doing any of these activities makes you feel more confident, attractive, beautiful and bold by all means go for it! Don't let anyone tell you or judge you because you would be the best person to know what makes you feel the best!

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