Psychologically Why Is Tanned Skin Attractive If It Is Unhealthy – In India and around the world, advertising constantly reinforces the message that lighter skin is more desirable. Photo: Puneet Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images
Skin color error has fueled a multi-billion dollar global industry of cosmetic creams and surgical procedures. Mary Rose Abraham talks to consumers and activists about the threat in India and how to stop it
Psychologically Why Is Tanned Skin Attractive If It Is Unhealthy
“It starts when children are young: when a baby is born, relatives start comparing the skin color of siblings. It starts in your family, but people don’t want to talk about it openly.”
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Kavita Emmanuel is the founder of Women of Worth, an Indian NGO that fights light skin prejudice. She says the Dark is Beautiful campaign, launched in 2009, isn’t “anti-white” but embraces inclusivity — the beauty behind color. It has been endorsed by celebrities, notably Bollywood actress Nadita Das, and is a forum for people to share their personal stories of skin color bias.
The campaign organizes media literacy workshops and advocacy programs in schools to combat color bias. According to Emmanuel, this can be found even in textbooks, where the image of a blonde can be called “beautiful” and a dark-skinned one “ugly”.
“Some of the kids are really shocked because it affects them so much,” says Emmanuel. “Some cry [during the seminars].
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The ideal life with perfect skin – but only for people of the right color – is the message and mindset being conveyed. This has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry of cosmetic creams and surgical procedures such as skin bleaching, chemical peels, laser treatments, steroid cocktails, “whitening pills and intravenous injections,” all with varying degrees of effectiveness and health risks. It’s more than just a prejudice, it’s a dangerous cultural obsession.
International cosmetics brands have found a lucrative market: global spending on skin lightening is expected to increase by 2024. will increase to 31.2 billion USD (£24 billion), according to research firm Global Industry Analysts in 2017. The driving force, she says, is “the stigma that is still prevalent among dark-skinned people and a strict cultural perception that associates fair skin with beauty and personal success.”
“This is not bias. It’s racism,” says Sunil Bhatia, a professor of human development at Connecticut College. Bhatia recently wrote for US News & World Report about deep-rooted internalized racism and social hierarchies based on skin color.
Indian actress Nandita Das has been a prominent supporter of the Dark is Beautiful campaign. Photo: Loic Finance/AFP/Getty Images
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In India, they are codified in the caste system, an ancient Hindu classification in which birth determines occupation and social class. At the top were Brahmins, priests and intellectuals. Downstairs, outcasts worked in undesirable jobs such as toilet cleaners. Bhatia says caste can be more than just an occupation: the darker you look, the lower your place in the social hierarchy.
Colonialism has continuously and strongly reinforced this bias not only in India but also in dozens of states ruled by European powers. The ruler is supposed to be light-skinned, says Emanuel: “The reality all over the world is that the rich can stay at home, not the poor who worked in the fields and were dark-skinned.”
Now globalization spreads prejudice. “There’s an interesting number of white people traveling from the U.S. to malls in other countries that have white models,” says Bhatia. “You can draw a line between colonialism, postcolonialism and globalization.
The world is dominated by Western ideals of beauty, including fair skin. And with these ideals come products designed to serve them. In Nigeria, 77% of women in the country use skin lightening products; In Togo, 59 percent However, the largest and fastest growing markets are in the Asia-Pacific region. In India, a typical supermarket will have a wall of personal care products that will include “whitening” moisturizers or “brightening” body creams from well-known brands.
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Pooja Kannada, 27, from Mumbai, spent years buying cosmetics that promised to lighten her skin. She bought creams, face washes and soaps to treat her “skin lightening problems”, spending between Rs 200 and Rs 300 every two months – the equivalent of a week’s trip to her college. After four years of use, she says her skin has lightened a bit, but wonders if it’s the cream or just being more careful in the sun.
Kanan’s natural skin color is light brown, but as he grew up, his aunts shook their heads in dismay at his complexion. Rod was admonished by several relatives and classmates: “You’re black,” they said. In India, where skin color often determines success, career or the ability to find a spouse, such comments matter. Kanan says he felt unsafe.
According to beauty expert Emma Trinidad, Indian weddings can lead to “unlimited” spending on skin care. Photo: Getty Images/Images Bazaar
“When I was getting ready to go out, I remembered what they said and put on more makeup. Kanan is also a dancer and felt discriminated against at shows. “There are beautiful, slim, beautiful girls at the front of the stage,” he says. “It’s about you.”
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Movies, TV shows, and especially commercials have reinforced this bias. in 2016 actress Emma Watson (aka Harry Potter) has been forced to issue a statement saying she will no longer endorse products that “don’t always reflect the diverse beauty of all women” after her previous appearance in Lancôme ads in Asia was criticized. Planck line expert. (In a statement, Lancôme emphasized the product’s “evening” properties rather than brightening properties, saying it “brings a glow to the skin, evens skin tone and gives skin a healthy look. All brands offer products like this as an essential part of an Asian woman’s beauty routine.”) )
When I came to India, I was very surprised that your chances of getting married depended on the color of your skin
In 2014 The Advertising Standards Board of India has banned ads that portray dark-skinned people as inferior, but the products are still sold. Advertisements for skin lightening creams continue to appear in newspapers, on television and on billboards featuring Bollywood celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham and Deepika Padukone.
April In a post on Facebook, actor Abhay Deol criticized several of his colleagues for endorsing lightening creams. “Advertisements promise that if we are honest, we will have better jobs, happier marriages and more beautiful children,” he wrote in the Hindustan Times. “We’ve been led to believe that life would be easier if we were born fairer.”
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Skin lightening is not the only concern of the modern cosmetics industry. The traditional Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine teaches that pregnant women can improve the complexion of their fetus by drinking saffron milk and eating oranges, fennel seeds and coconut flakes. Earlier this year, an Ayurvedic practitioner in Kolkata held a session for expectant couples and promised that even short black parents could have tall, beautiful children.
In 2012 A study by an Indian women’s health charity found that childless couples were more likely to demand and pay more for beautiful, fair surrogates, even though the woman did not have the genetic material for a child.
But perhaps nowhere is there more desire than in the newspaper ads looking for a husband. In addition to requirements related to caste, religion, profession and education of the prospective bride or groom, physical characteristics are also provided. A person who is described as “boring” may lack the “right” face.
“Brides-to-be spend a lot of money; “It’s definitely a no-go for a few months before the wedding,” says Filipina beauty expert Emma Trinidad, who runs a spa in Bengaluru. “I was very surprised when I came here that your chances of getting married depend on the color of your skin. We don’t have that in the Philippines.”
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The idea has become so normalized that many people accept being fair as a standard part of wedding preparation, for both men and women. When Karthik Panchapaksan got married in 2001, he was intrigued by advertisements for a “total makeover” and decided to give it a try.
“I’ve never been in a salon before,” says the media professional who works at a community radio station. “The massage felt really good. Then they put this fruity, pinkish-white paste on my forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. They promised it would even out my skin.”
Panchapakisan said his eyes started to burn after about five minutes and he felt irritation around his nose as the sweet smell turned into pungent smoke. He suspected it was made from ammonia: “It was more chemical than milky,” he says. When it was over, his face looked like it had been dusted with talcum powder. “It wasn’t a transformation, it was a deformation.”
Most skin lightening treatments target the skin’s ability to produce the pigment or melanin that gives skin, hair and eyes their color. Everyone has about the same number of cells that produce melanin, but the amount actually produced depends on your genes. With more natural melanin, darker skinned people have fewer wrinkles and are less prone to them.