Let Colorism remain in history

Let Colorism remain in history

HUL sometime back rebranded its one of the best selling beauty products “Fair and Lovely” as “Glow and Lovely.” The whole rebranding exercise seemed more of lip service to avoid the controversy and legal implications for treating the lighter skin as more beautiful, confident and attractive. The brand ambassador and narrative are still the same though. This prejudice against the dark skin is a product of the regressive mindset which has been deeply ingrained in us because of various reasons

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Colorism in India

Colorism in simple words means discrimination against the dark skin, and people with a lighter skin tone are treated superior vis-à-vis darker skin tone. This discrimination is more prevalent in the case of women. Women are told as un-marriageable or unattractive if they have a dark color. They are given several unsolicited advices on improving their skin tone. They face discrimination everywhere from the very starting in the schools to job interviews, workplaces, and families.

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How did it all start?

Colorism is a product of various practices which have been followed in our country for a very long time. India has a very complex and highly variegated culture. There are various layers of discrimination, and it happens for diverse reasons like caste, class, region, religion, gender, wealth and many others. We will be discussing how these factors aggregated and resulted in discrimination against the darker color. Indian history talks about instances that are responsible for creating this implicit bias and conditioning our brain.

 

Colorism and Region

The people of India have had different shades of color in different geographies and regions. People in the northern region are mostly of fairer skin and in the southern region, they are darker. One of the reasons is that that the Aryan population who were fairer in color came to reside in the northern parts of India while the Dravidian population i.e., the darker ones progressed towards the southern part of the country. The difference in color is also because of the climatic differences from northern to southern parts of the country.

 
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Colorism and Casteism

Caste has been predominantly one of the most important factors causing colorism in India. Initially, the division of society was based on occupation. Brahmins, artisans and others used to do the superior jobs demanding less labor and used to stay indoors hence having fairer and lighter skin color. They were deemed as upper caste. The people with no education and wealth used to do the labor work out in the open, hence becoming darker. They were called the lower caste. This discrimination against the color and caste started getting more established in the minds of people with the advent of time.

 

Colorism and Invasions

India has been invaded multiple times in history – mainly by the Mughals, Portuguese and Britishers. Mughals who ruled a major part of our country for a very long time were on average of lighter skin color than the fellow Indians. This led to the inclusion of comparatively fair skin in the system. Though the discrimination was not institutionalized by them, the power distribution led to the establishment of colorism. Followed by when the Britishers invaded India, who had fairer skin color, they started treating the people with fairer skin tone as superior while torturing the people of darker skin color. The discrimination against colorism then got further institutionalized and established in the minds of people.

Modern Day Colorism

Modern-day colorism is being promoted in full swing by the beauty industry and brands that are selling fairness creams and hacks. Bollywood celebrities and models who are endorsing these brands are role models to many youngsters. Social media platforms are conditioning and influencing the minds of users to look fair and flawless by using their features and filters.

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Mokah Take

Mocha Woman strongly condemns Colorism and fights this age-old thought process by increasing awareness on this topic and empowering women to own their skin tone with pride and in style, we regularly come up with some interesting thought-provoking and educational content. Check our Instagram Page and blogs. Tune in to become a part of it!

 

“It’s not the color of the skin that makes us different. It’s the color of our thoughts. – Steven Atichison

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