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A supremely ashy male is jeered at by Shah Rukh Khan for using his sister’s Fair & Lovely cream. Mard hoke ladkiyan-wali cream? You’re a man and you use a cream for girls? Soooo silly! He clearly needs to use Fair & Handsome so no one will question his manhood. You tell him, Shah Rukh.

Since when does tanning involve getting grayer? Pretty sure I get browner. This fool doesn’t need face bleach, he needs a good soap.

The Bengali word for dark-skinned–moila–also means dirty. Coincidence? Hardly.

It speaks volumes about an issue that the older generations of desis perhaps obsessed about more than we do. But the commercials are still around and the ideas are still being espoused so I’m going to rant about it. Moreover, I know enough pricks my age who still equate beauty with fairness. They like to drop comments like “wow, she’s pretty attractive for being dark” or “not bad for a kaali South Indian”.

As a South Indian who has relatives that range in color from Caucasian pasty to East Asian yellow to African bluish-black, I feel like I should take offense. Not all South Indians are black and even if we were, that’s pretty uncool to collectively consider us to be an unattractive population. I don’t really take personal offense but I do think this kind of ideology scars our South Asian community. To me, attractiveness has little to do with skin color. A healthy glow and clear of acne? Sounds good to me. Good skin doesn’t have to relate to color.

It’s not just desis though. One of my black girlfriends would tell me about how black guys had a preference for lighter skinned women, too. “If not for half-black girls, many of them would probably date white chicks exclusively.”


Maybe it’s just a preference and I should say “to each his own” but so long as dark-skinned can be a synonym for dirty, I have to wonder if we’ve held onto the white man’s ideals and prejudices. Actually, I don’t have to wonder–Indians are really good at disrespecting their own and bending over backwards for white people (an issue for another day). Whether this goes hand in hand with the preference for pasty, I don’t know. Maybe beauty was equated to fairness in South Asian cultures (like in many others) since the beginning of time.

Standards of beauty are strange. We use them to validate personal preferences as well as prejudices. That said, I feel like this affects people to a greater degree in the motherland than here in America. Here, you can find people who are into wrinkles and preggos, with relative ease and little concern for shame. God bless America. and thank goodness for the internet.

SO. I am well aware that this may not be the most pressing social issue, but it was still worth a ponder and it still makes me want to get a little more sun this summer. So I can stick it to the Man. And potentially decrease my chances of getting married? SO BE IT. Soaking up the sun feels fantastic.