Thanks to the millions of rupee invested in the fairness cream industry, Pakistani girls have unfortunately managed to glue themselves to the “fair” myth.
Require bride within 20-22 yrs, 5’-2”, fair, pretty, good-looking, homely, minimum H.S./graduate.
Require bride both EB/WB, caste no bar, fair, beautiful, minimum education, homely/working bride
Rs. 30,000 P.M. Fair, handsome, Require bride, WB, homely, fair
Professionally qualified slim, beautiful, fair, match.
These are some random classifieds that you can find on the Internet. Somehow, Pakistanis tend to associate the term “fair” with superlative degrees of beauty like “Fair & Lovely”, “Fair & Pretty” and “Fair & Beautiful.” Sometimes, it gets as absurd as “Fair & Slim.” The worst of all the “Fair” beauty myths, the one which I have feared all my life has already happened in Pakistan. Now guys have to be “fair” & “handsome.” Really?! Whatever happened to the “tall, dark & handsome” hunks women drooled over?
The situation is not as “light” as it seems. This myth, cultivated by the Brits, who managed to sow many such seeds in the very fragile Pakistani minds, has taken root in socio-cultural systems, and stands tall posing an unshakable image. This myth has grown into each and every mind of a Pakistani so much that when two people meet after a long time, conversations such as “Hey, how have you been all these years! You have gone dark? you look so dull, what happened?”, have become very common in every Pakistani household. So if a guy/girl becomes darker in complexion, it means he/she has ceased to be attractive anymore! Seems ridiculous, you might think. But wait! There’s more.
“…THE COUPLE WANTED A DONOR WITH ‘ VERY FAIR’ SKIN, BUT, SINCE SOMEONE WITH SUCH A SPECIAL PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTE WAS NOT AVAILABLE ON PAKISTANI DATABASES, THE COUPLE DECIDED TO LOOK ABROAD FOR CAUCASIAN OR ‘WHITE’ EGG DONORS.”
Yes, it has reached this level already! I am dreading a situation in Pakistan when “color” will appear right next to the age, sex, religion, caste columns. It is already there; just that it is invisible for now. But it is implied, like a silent letter in a word.
There are some fairness cream commercials, which show a girl who is dark and low in confidence as being a failure in life. Then comes the fairness cream to her rescue, and what a miracle! Life becomes so beautiful, the girl clears a job interview, she becomes a pilot, gets the guy she wants, wins laurels for the nation, becomes CM, PM, and what not!
Aren’t we supposed to be ashamed that we are caught up in such a messy web of illusion? Are we really that dumb to think that “fairness” of skin makes one a successful person? The truth is, we are. Why else would the market for fairness creams in Pakistan touch Rs. 200 crore? And now with more “Fair & Handsome” guys, I am pretty sure, this figure will just keep rising.
“Fairness” of skin is just pigmentation. People in Pakistan are darker than people in the west. It’s just for the scientific reason that we are located closer to the equator, and our skin cells are designed to reflect UV radiation better, hence darker. So next time, if somebody sympathizes with you for not being born “fair,” tell them you reflect much better UV radiation than they do!
Our attitude as a society desperately needs to change and we should learn to appreciate beauty beyond the realm of skin color. We need to rid ourselves of this shallow mentality, boycott such brands and tell our dark skinned friends just how beautiful they are. Dark skinned people also shouldn’t get cowed down and must exude such self confidence that contemptuous people think twice before looking down at them.
The world may have its set rules of what looks lovely. There are constant reminders on television, in movies, in magazines – the lighter skinned and the slimmer women chosen over the more full women with natural brown tones! Regardless of what color your skin is, or how much your waist measures up to. You are who you are. Let that shine forth!