January 5, 2013

Not Fair!

By Kavita Emmanuel | Founder Director, WOW

Each year on Independence Day I get to recite our National Pledge: ‘India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. I shall always strive to be worthy of it…”

Are we really proud of our varied heritage? Do we accept each other as fellow citizens on the same level barring differences over caste, creed, and particularly, colour? Is skin colour bias an issue in our country?

The answer is obviously ‘yes’! And I would not be completely wrong to assume that skin colour bias is more pronounced among the educated and the most forward sections of society.

Brown Girl In The Ring

By Zippora Madhukar | Photographer and WOW CORE Member

Vivacious, animated, a go-getter, vibrant – all these words came to mind when I first met Aparna - a professional dancer who challenges the norms of what a dancer should look like in our country.

Aparna Nagesh is the founder of Showstoppers INC, an arts promotion and event concept brand and the founder of High-Kicks, Chennai’s first and only all-girls performance crew.

Aparna spent 12 years building her foundation with John Britto’s Dance Company (Photos by Zippora Madhukar)
She has now been in the dance and entertainment industry for over 14 years and she loves it to the core.

However, Aparna knows that it is not easy to hold your own when performing in a field where what you look like determines how far you will succeed – especially when you are not fair, tall, slim and therefore not ‘beautiful’.

Be Yourself: Be Dark, Be Beautiful

By Lydia Durairaj

Have you witnessed any of these statements or realities around you:
• Buying Double-whitening-action cream to get fair in three days?
• Not casting fair-skinned actors to play the role of a housemaid, the evil nemesis, or the outcast?
• Families looking out for a ‘fair bride’?
• Making pregnant mothers bathe in milk and saffron and eating lots of nuts so that the child is born with fair skin; and if that doesn’t work, then buying the double-whitening-action cream?

These ideologies have not changed since the days of our grandmothers. For generations now we have been saturating in the belief that dark skin is undesirable – to the point where we, consciously, start to discriminate and create divides between the fair and dark skinned people.

Even in the 21st century, when issues like poverty, hunger, and war are ravaging our lands, we have contributed to the booming half-billion-dollar skin whitening industry.

Advertisers play on our insecurities and market products that endorse discriminatory philosophies