Fairness Fetish In India

Try to list mentally the various fairness creams that are available in the Indian market. Practically each company has one under their brand name. That’s where the country’s fairness fetish has reached today!


The idea of dark skinned people being somewhat inferior had been around since the Vedic Age. The colonization of India by fair complexioned invaders from the west drove this idea deep into the minds of people. Deep enough that even after the British left, this misconception remained and continued to build.

Supermodel Lakshmi Menon who has a typical Bangalorean dark complexion recalls that when she was in India, people would never want to hire her because of her dark skin. Most of the fairness cream advertisements depict a dark complexioned girl who is either not getting a good job or is not being able to find a groom because of her dark skin. There’s even an unbelievably baseless notion that darker people have dark intentions while fairer people have fair intentions!

The Science Behind Complexion    

For Heaven’s sake, complexion has nothing to do with your deeper intentions being reflected on your skin. It is plain biology. The pigment Melanin is responsible for lightness or darkness of skin. This pigment protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and is activated by the Sun. This is why people in warmer places have dark skin. Besides sometimes, complexion is hereditary.

A Bit Of Truth

Fairness creams DO NOT make you fair. Most of the times they are simple sun blocks which inhibit the production of melanin to prevent further darkening. In addition to that, fairness creams often use chemicals like mercury and hydroquinone which are not only harmful but also result in further darkening of skin and premature aging.

Vogue India cover featuring 5 dusky models (splurgerina.com)

Not all the scenario is this deplorable though. In April 2010, Vogue India made a bold move by featuring five dark skinned models on its cover. Anil Chopra, CEO of Lakme, said on Indian fashion week, “More than half the girls are on the duskier side. I sit in on the judging panel every year and not once have I heard a comment about skin colour.” But obviously,India has still a long way to go when it comes to overcoming fairness fetish.

Dear all, beauty is only skin deep and your complexion determines nothing. If the world is ready to look beyond your dusky skin colour, why aren’t you?


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  1. #1 by Trampoline on November 8, 2012 - 9:23 pm

    Hi from Holland, good website. I will come back next week to see what’s new.

  2. #2 by nordic walking on November 8, 2012 - 9:26 pm

    What a wonderful data. Thank you for the time you spend on this post

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