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I personally refrain from judging people who want to whiten their skin because I think the issues are beyond just that one person. This is not an issue just with Indians, but with people from several other countries including a few in South Asia, East Asia, Africa and probably a lot more !

It is not at all unusual for me to receive emails from women the world over asking for recommendations to lighten their skin tone or whiten their face. Several of these emails come from brides and the email goes something like this " Hi, I am getting married in six months and would like to do something to lighten my skin tone". Some are like " Can you suggest some whitening creams ? I am getting married in a few months and you know how it is with Indian brides ". Others " I am dark brown in color and would like to become fair". I kid you not, stuff like this comes to me often.

The deal is this. Yes, I know how it is for several Indian brides or women. But it need not be like this always. These are a few ways of what I think we can do to change it forever. You tell me what else we can do...

One can change it by not making skin tone an issue with your kids. We maketh this generation so lets not let anyone fault us, the next time around. Never let our future kids feel anything negative about the color of their skin or that of others. Make it a non-issue.

If you know of anybody who thinks being light skinned is important - talk to them. Don't go all " WTH. Be proud of what you have" on them. Doesn't really help anything. Just talk. Ask where it stems from. Were their parents or grand parents particular about having a light skinned baby ? You need be a therapist but you can talk ! Coz most often it is the people you love the most that leave impressions on your brain and sometimes scar your thoughts for life.

Next time anyone you know mentions wanting to whiten their face, politely correct it to skin brightening, dark spot reducing. Make a joke or two about a $5 cream changing DNA patterns. Plus, isn't a so called white face and darker body funny. It is to me !

I hope celebrities take a stance and make it easier for Indian girls to love themselves and their skin tones . It is sad how many women is the world are verbally abused for something they had no hand in. I wish celebrities would take a stance and ask for a name change on these products. I have a few suggestions - skin brightening, dark spot reducing, evening of skin tone, soft glowing skin. Anything just take the color out of it. If none of these celebrities agree to be featured in these ads, wouldn't that cause a small revolution of sorts ? If you have a voice on the world's platform - use it.

Lastly, if you are very passionate about a cause, don't be anonymous. A lot more value come to the words you say when a name is attached to it. You are proud about having an opinion on an issue. Be proud to attach your name to it. May be even a email address or your blog.

Now take it easy with the comments. Address the issue not your fellow readers ! Let them say what they wanna say and you say what you wanna say - on the topic. Tell us about your experiences. Tell us what you plan on doing to make this a non issue in the future.

Lots of love,
Indian Girl

13 comments

Rima Kaur said... @ June 22, 2009 at 12:53 AM

i totally agree with you. i was recently disgusted with john abraham for appearing in some mens fairness cream ad, for he a beautifully complexioned, dusky beauty by his side. two of my closest friends have deep, glowy skin that i am literally jealous of. its high time these companies started being more sensitive.

Anonymous said... @ June 22, 2009 at 1:46 AM

i agree.. i have brown skin....u dont know how many times people told me that i can never be beautifull became i have dark skin.and because of that i always felt ugly and not good enough .. i use to hate takin picturs because im not " beautiful".bascially i had a very bad childhood tryin to hide from every were but now i dont care. i know i'm not beutifull by indian standards i nw im beutifull just the way iam even if my family members say im not beautifull.but many girls in india still thinks they r pretty enough or beautifull enough to have what they want in life.nd whats worse than celebrities endorsing whitneing cream.. serisly, people can be so dumb even to think a jar of cream can change ur DNA..

debonairdebacles said... @ June 22, 2009 at 1:51 AM

I'm 35, raised in the US and being light skinned, I've heard it all. I still get compliments on my skin tone from DBDs to this day but I've had ABD guys tell me I was too light and needed a healthy tan. Personally, I think every skin tone is a healthy one as long as you eat right, drink lots of water, moisturize and wear sunscreen.

Anonymous said... @ June 22, 2009 at 5:19 AM

As a culture, why do we tolerate prejudice toward those whose skin color is darker than ours? Products that promise to make your skin "white" or "light" are popular even among my Indian American friends. Why? In America, there is so much emphasis on the images and ideas that are portrayed through the media. In general, prejudice toward the handicapped, African Americans, and other groups is not tolerated. So why do we Indians tolerate this idea that to be fair-skinned is to be beautiful? Sorry, Indian Girl, but I am NOT with you on this one-- I will speak out against anyone who tries to tell me that she or I need to be white to be beautiful. I think it's akin to saying nothing or just brushing it off if someone were to berate any other group, such as the deaf, poor, or elderly. I refuse to listen to or entertain such an idea.

An Indian's Makeup Blog ! said... @ June 22, 2009 at 6:46 AM

Hi Anon #2 ,

You are very much with me on this :) What I also wished of everybody was apart from talking about it I was hoping & wishing we all would do something in our own small way to change people's minds. To help them change their opinions apart from voicing ours - which of course is just as important !

Anonymous said... @ June 22, 2009 at 9:17 AM

i would leave my name attached to this but i don't use any of those features so it has to be anonymous.

i use fair and lovely. it started out with me wanting my makeup to blend better with my skin tone and i liked the way it smells. it doesn't make too big of a difference in my skin colour, maybe a few shades lighter. i have sensitive acne prone skin and since using the cream, i haven't had one breakout and my skin gets sunscreen protection along with lots of vitamins.

i understand why ppl look down upon them because they think we are trying to erase our race (i am pakistani), but that's not the case for everyone. beauty standards are everywhere, much like many white girls use tanning and bronzing creams to appear darker. same thing. i wish there weren't double standards. now caste systems and ppl who are obsessed with plastic surgery to change the way they look completely are issues...

-mishel. i found u off of makeupbeautyblog!

Anonymous said... @ June 22, 2009 at 10:09 AM

I've been teased by by family for being dark, they "lovingly" call me "kalui" sometimes just as a joke, but that doesn't bother me because i know they think i'm beautiful anyway and they just do it for fun- i think its pretty funny too, coz my mother is so light but i'm more my aunt's colour :)
Well, living in a white country and watching the craze to tan and the amount of money people spend to make themselves look darker has taught me the irony of such an issue, so if anyone ever mentions being dark or anything i just point out to them that at least they don't have to waste money on getting fake tans. and there's an added bonus of being dark: you don't get as much sunburn or skin cancer! spread the good news!!

Crissy K said... @ June 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Indian Girl I'm glad you posted on this issue.And I'm with you that it doesn't just affect South Asians it's very much an issue with Latinos too. ( I grew up in a household of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Mexicans)and the issue is HUGE on this side of the globe. Anyway... Aside from all the emotional damage this light vs dark issue causes, people don't seem to be aware of how toxic these lighting creams are to the skin when used long term. Also, it takes away from the skin's natural defenses by supressing melanin production and leaves the skin vulnerable to UV damage. And we all know what that leads to: wrinkles and worst case senario, cancer. :(

Anonymous said... @ June 22, 2009 at 4:35 PM

i will agree with one thing which is that these creams are very bad for your skin. ingredients like kojic acid and hydroquinone inhibit the skins ability to produce melanin. so basically as soon as you stop using these creams or if you don't use proper sun protection: a) you'll be darker than when you started. b) causes thickening of the skin (this was shown even in women in the UK who had used 'lightening creams' for a short period of time. c) wrinkles, skin cancer, hyperpigmentation.

Anamika said... @ June 23, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Finally an Indian interested in women's cosmetics is talking about this!!! This whole fairness issue dominated my ideas about my own looks growing up in India. I wasn't actually criticized or mocked much (I am light brownish), but my friends and cousins who were much darker were mocked regularly. One of my cousin was humorously called "Kali" by her own dad! I tried convincing people to spare them once in a while, but mine was a lonely voice and really no one cared but me. So, now I just shut up and ignore.
You bring up some great points, Indian Girl. Celebrities endorsing fairness creams could potentially do a lot to change this mindset of "white skin = beautiful". Perhaps mothers of daughters should also band together and run programs to teach their daughters to love themselves more. And I can't equate the tanning practices of European origin ppl with the desperate need and tries by the brown-skinned population to look white. Tanning here is more like a fashion trend, the new cosmetic change one can bring to look healthier and sexier. The white is better ideas among brown skinned people has far deeper social implications that has no sunless-tanning-lotion-like fix.

Jamilla Camel said... @ July 5, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Hi,

Sorry to be a bit slow here, but I'd just like to add my two cents worth.

I am a light-skinned Asian, but I still use "brightening" products because I am plagued by freckles that have a nasty tendency to turn into big brown spots. I don't think that my wanting to get rid of these blotches on my face constitues a dissatisfaction with my skin color. In fact, I am an NC20 and I don't want to be any lighter, thank you!!

I think that there is nothing wrong with wanting a smooth, even complexion, but extreme skin bleaching is not the way to achieve beautiful skin of any color.

John Abraham in a skin lightening ad--I know, I saw it in India. Like he really needs it huh?!

Anonymous said... @ January 28, 2010 at 12:58 AM

I am from pakistan (born and raised in NYC!!) but yeah, I have heard it all about lighter skin tones and how i am UGLY cause i am a darker shade of brown. At one point in my life (not too long ago) I really let it get to me and that resulted in DEVISTAION. Not good. So yeah. I plan on enstilling in my kids the FACT that true beauty really is what lies inside.

terryl said... @ November 16, 2010 at 5:54 AM

I have always thought this was interesting, considering I am caucasian and my girlfriends and I are constantly going to the tanning bed to get DARKER!

We're never happy with what we're given, are we? ;)

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