Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jungle Fever

Remember that movie, Jungle Fever?  It was about a black guy having an affair with a white woman.  I remember one scene in the film where the man's wife, who has light skin, screams about how her husband thought he wanted a light skinned woman but really he wanted a white woman.

Well recently, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was on the cover of Elle magazine and seems like they actually wanted a white woman, because they lightened her skin.  They did this without her permission and made her very angry.

I would be angry too.  Elle did not accept Aishwarya for who she is.

I mean come on, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.  If she needs lightening, than what do the rest of us need?  The magazine is perpetuating the notion in many communities that lighter skin is more desirable in a woman.

I know in my own Indian culture, where Aishwarya comes from, there is a very strong correlation between fair skin and beauty.

Obviously this is an obsession with the western notions of white women being the standards of beauty, yet it seems particularly offensive that a magazine that caters to Indian people would still try to sell this ridiculous ideal.

It's such an arbitrary notion that white is better than darker skin.  It has everything to do with power than anything else.  I suppose this is obvious.

I am a light skinned Indian woman.  Would I want to look any other way?


Not because I want to look white, which I don't, I just have fairer skin.  But I don't wish I was darker or lighter, I just wanna be me.  I think that's healthy.  I think we should all just wanna be ourselves.

If you are medium toned, which Aishwarya is, she wants magazines to just leave her skin the way it is.

I don't really understand why people are sitting out in the sun to be darker, but that 'tanned' look is also evidence of wealth and prosperity.  It means you can go on vacation, you have time to lounge and tan, you are probably wealthy and beautiful.

So light skinned people want to be 'tan.' And darker skinned people are given images by magazines and advertisers to get lighter skin.

Is it just me or do we seem like the idiots who are buying into this crap?

I was in fact confused when I was a kid because my Indian friends told me I was too pale and needed some sun, while my mother told me to stay out of the sun and avoid tans because I had beautiful pale skin.

What's a girl to do?

Nothing.  I stopped caring how 'pale' or 'tan' I am.  That is the least of my worries and out of all the things I have to think about all day, I have successfully crossed that off of my list.

Wanna try it?  It's very freeing.


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