Is it fair to have a skin colour preference?

(Masooma Zahra, Karachi)

A 'totka' for identity-crisis...

The beauty standards of different societies have shown inclination towards rare and uncommon physical attributes. Taking about skin colour, the whites of Europe and America are busy tanning their skins while the browns of Asia and Africa are in pursuit of the lightest shade of white. No one knows how this obsession began but the history books would state that one day, the world decided to show partiality towards skin colour and the infinite cycle of misery began. Since skin colour became a scale for measuring ‘beauty’, women got more targeted than men. Racism added to this epidemic that majorly affected the areas that were colonized by Europeans. And since then, white-skin became a superior trait. This caused the beauty industry to run campaigns promoting white skin, claiming that this false-god would get you the love of your life, the job you’ve always wanted and happiness. These industries thrived, feeding on the gullibility of innocent minds. Dark started to mean inferior and dirty.

Multiple brands started launching skin lightening and bleaching products containing hazardous chemicals like Hydroquinone, Phenoxyethanol and mercury that would not only result in skin cancer but also harm other systems including kidney, liver and nervous system. All these factors remained ignored because of the discrimination and prejudice imbibed in brown societies. Having brown skin became a bigger concern than skin cancer. The melanin that protects skin from sun damage became a reason for insecurity.

Upon being questioned on ethical grounds, celebrities endorsing popular skin-whitening brands would defend themselves saying that the products do not frown upon brown skin but are only targeted towards those individuals who would ‘prefer’ to have lighter skin. Meanwhile the ads would portray people with darker skin living sad lives.

The epidemic still lives on but grows weaker as newly merging campaigns make efforts to spread awareness, trying to bring an end to the stale mentality.

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29 May, 2018 Views: 294


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