Mirror mirror who is the fairest of all..

Sujit
Posted November 10, 2020
Mirror mirror

#selfesteem #beauty #bias #southasian

Niti Nadarajah highlights unfair comparisons based on 'fairness' in a post in LinkedIn,

“You’re very dark for a North Indian...” (https://bit.ly/3eMjDYd)

Discrimination that fuels poor self-esteem because of colorism and 'beauty bias' cuts through all sections in South Asian society, irrespective of economic and educational status. Women are significantly affected. Men can face it too. Behind the back comments - "he looks like an Asura" and all the negative connotations that go with it are not uncommon. Media organisations and corporations try to exploit this light skin fixation by fuelling it. It's big business after all. The same organisations that may have reams of policy on inclusion!

When testing our prototype in slums and semi-urban communities in Eastern India, there was one conversation with pregnant women which kept coming up that I wasn't expecting and always took me aback, "What should I do to make sure my baby is light skinned? Will drinking a lot of Daab (green coconut) water help!" Niti Nadarajah pointed out to me, "I am not taken aback. I am not at all surprised!".

Comments 5

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Jill Langhus
Nov 11
Nov 11

Hi Sujit,

How are you? This is sad that it keeps being perpetuated. I hope that soon this trend, or seeming preference, will be eradicated and all diversity will be fully embraced. Thanks for sharing.

Sujit
Nov 11
Nov 11

Hi Jill

I am well and persevering with Kushal! Challenging yet exciting which helps with motivation!

Thank you! Yes, these are obvious on your face markers of how divisive society can be!

I hope you are well.

Take care

Sujit

Jill Langhus
Nov 13
Nov 13

Hi Sujit,

Great to hear. You're welcome.

I'm well, thanks.

Hope you have a good weekend.

Nini Mappo
Nov 15
Nov 15

Hello Sujit,
I'm just wondering whether the need to be fair of skin has to do with the caste system at all? Because I worked under two foremen of Indian descent in a clothes factory in Kenya, and their underling was also of Indian descent and had a generous amount of melanocytes. And the fairer ones really abused him (they abused all of us, terrible place to work in a sweatshop) but it was much worse for him, as if he was a disgrace. I always felt sorry for him and wished I could save him, and wondered if they's treat him the same had he been as fair as them. It is really sad this business of coloursism and robs the us melanated cultures of so much.

Sujit
Nov 19
Nov 19

Hi Nini
Apologies for not getting back earlier.

The discrimination to do with skin colour cuts across class and caste. There's a lot of self-stigma attached too, especially in women, only because of the way society in India values light skin. If you happen to be of 'lower caste' plus are not of lighter skin tone it's a double whammy of abuse. Sounds like your colleague had to face puerile abuse at multiple levels - being a subordinate and perhaps to have been born in a 'lower caste' family and as you say gifted with generous amounts of melanocytes.

Colourism is absolutely shameful behaviour!