Day 6. Alphabet 'F'.
‘Looking for a fair, slim and homely girl for an IAS grade I officer. Seeking alliance in Brahmins only.
- Typical matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper in, say, 1973
‘Looking for a fair, slim and a working girl for an MBA working in a MNC, 7 figure salary. Caste no bar.’
- Typical matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper in 2013
The description above is only indicative for everything but one thing. ‘Looking for a fair girl’.
Yes, even in 2013, if you open the matrimonial classified, or consult a match-maker, or if you have an aunt in your extended family who is famous for her impeccable match-making skills, they all look for one very important quality in a prospective bride. She must be ‘fair-complexioned’. More white, the better. Why? Because they always compare the whiteness of X’s daughter with Y’s daughter-in-law!
This obsession for all things fair has been leveraged so well over the years by the brands selling fairness products. I am sure there is a huge market for this. Apparently, from a girl failing in her job interview to a girl not able to land up with an air-hostess job, root of all their problems is their ‘dark’ complexion. So, I guess no amount of education and degrees will count in the job and marriage market if you are not a ‘10’ on the fairness scale (yes, they give you this to measure your fairness count from week 1 to week whatever). What kills me more is when known film stars, who are already ‘fair’ conventionally or are not fair, promote a fairness cream. Dude, are you kidding all of us!!? As it is, we are fighting so many biases and battles everyday as women and as a society, can we please move ahead on the fair complexion battle? I applaud Bipasha Basu for saying in the open that she is proud of how she looks and can never promote a fairness cream.
And if a fair face was not enough, we now need to have fair under-arms and a fair vagina! Lesser said about all this, the better. But a tiny sadistic part in me becomes happy when I see Shah Rukh Khan or John Abraham talking about the lightened skin tone. You know why? Because then I think atleast now men too will be busy on themselves. Who am I to tell them that they look delicious when they are best served dark and dusky!
I cringe when someone asks me, ‘am I looking fairer than XYZ today?’. And I want to ask her, ‘what are we, in junior KG?’. Growing up, I too faced bias from all corners, extended family, school and random for not being fair. I used to cry about it often but then studies and life took over, for better.
Now, whenever anyone brings up the looking ‘fair and lovely’ topic, I just simply smile and say, "No honey, I am not fair and lovely. I am brown and sexy and awesome! Oh yes, I am! You think about yourself!"
See you all on Monday with ‘G’. Happy weekend!