2/17/2007

Fair and lovelies and dark and uglies



Check out this short documentary made by 17 year old Kiri Davis of Manhattan's Urban Academy. In this movie, 21 black preschool kids we shown two identically but differently colored dolls and asked to pick up the "nice" dolls. Of the 21 kids, 15 chose the white doll and when asked why they liked it, the answer was simply "Because its white". One of the kids is then asked to pick up the doll which looks like her, to which she initially hesitates and then picks the doll she just thought was ugly! Check out the Baltimore Times article for the complete story with some background information.


The clip reminded me of those "Fair n Lovely" ads on TV. For those who don't know what that is, its a facial "power wash" cream made by Hindustan Lever to get rid of your dirty dark skin. The ad shows a dejected dark skinned woman without a boyfriend and a cheerful light skinned woman with a boyfriend. The lucky one then advises the dark one to try "Fair n Lovely" to wash her dark skin to a lovable light one. And lo and behold, the dark skinned turns light and she manages to get guys drool over her.

I don't know if it is in human genes to get attracted to light skin or whether its social conditioning. But there definitely seems to be a preference to light skin. A quick glance through any desi matrimony site will confirm, or atleast corroborate this conjecture. There definitely is an obsession for fair or wheatish ( read white ) skin. There is a phrase in malayalam, "velutha sundari". I have never heard anyone say "karutha sundari". Do check out the article on beauty obsession at indiatogether.org by clicking on the image below.



To end, (many) Indians deserve to be called coconuts. Brown from outside, (aspiring to be) white from inside.