Sexual Health Resources for Women of South Asian Heritage

Do We Need Colour?

Do We Need Colour?

By: Saipriya V

A woman who is educated or not, whether she is successful in her career or not, if she is dark skinned then finding a groom will be a huge challenge. Why? The only reason is her skin tone. This is not just happening to some women, but it is happening for most of the women in our country invariable across different socioeconomic status.

In South Asian tradition, a light skinned woman is considered more beautiful than the dark skinned women.  Often fairness is considered as a  key in getting ahead in life, getting jobs and a successful marriage. Dark skinned women face a multitude of problem, including taunting, mockery and problems in getting a perfect bride for wedding. Evidence shows that dark skinned women pay a lot of dowry to compensate their color (1). They also have difficulty in getting jobs and gaining respect in the family. Since the fairness complex is so deeply entrenched in our society, most of the South Asian matrimonial sites refer  women as fair – or, at the very least, “wheatish” in complexion.

 

shade

I blame the media, which plays a major role in influencing society. Fairness cream company’s advertising that dark skinned woman be unattractive, but the same women after using fairness cream become fair and she gains respect and recognition. This has created a greater impact in the society, where  men prefer fair skinned women to be their wife and even mothers prefer fair skinned girl as wives for their sons.

In almost all the South Asian movies and television serials, heroines are fair skinned, dark skinned women will be avoided by the hero’s or will be portrayed as an evil person. Our society should realize that color is just the pigmentation and mere skin color cannot define a woman.  Changing our attitude towards color would definitely change the lives of many women in our society.

 

 

Reference:

  1. Philips, A. (2004). Gendering colour: Identity, femininity and marriage in Kerala. Anthropologica, 253-272.