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Dark is Beautiful

Dark is Beautiful: Making 'light' of Bipasha, Freida, Priyanka Chopra...

From Fashion Correspondent

Nandita Das: 'Indians are very racist. There is so much pressure that perpetuates this idea that fair is the ideal.' (AFP/Getty Images)

Dare not put up a ‘dark; photograph on matrimonial sites! Dark spells doom for girls hoping to meet their soul mates on match-making sites if they are not naturally light-skinned; or light-skinned by any means possible.

In a society obsessed with ‘white skin’, especially in the Sub-continent, of which UAE expatriates from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, form the majority, fairness is still the benchmark for beauty.

This dark obsession with a fair and glowing complexion has given rise to the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ campaign in India, of which actress Nandita Das, is the face.

Das says the fair skin prejudice has driven some young women to the brink of suicide.

“Magazines, TV, cinema – everywhere being fair is synonymous with being beautiful,” Das told AFP.

Lighten up the dusk

Described as having “dusky” skin as opposed to a fair complexion, the 43-year-old is well used to Indian preoccupations with colour, and not just in the film industry, where she has refused requests to lighten her skin for roles.

Freida Pinto, the 'Slumdog Millionaire' actress has accused Bollywood of being fascinated with white-skinned actors.

Freida isn't the first Indian actress to accuse Bollywood of being partial toward fairer-skinned ladies.

Actresses with dull skin tone often laden with make-up looks completely different then their original skin tone. This is often noticed during cover shoots and advertisement campaign.

Bipasha Basu finds this obsession bizarre. Many times even Bipasha's pictures are air-brushed. The actress feels this attitude reflects a lack of intelligence.

Former Miss World Priyanka Chopra, often referred to as ‘dusky’, couldn't agree more with the fair obsession. She goes on to say that this obsession isn't limited to just Bollywood; it is present in most fields.

Guess what, this fairness mania has even been rubbed onto Priyanka time and again.

Un-fair endorsing

Many Bollywood actors endorse this 'un-fair' obsession.

Sonam Kapoor promotes a whitening cream from the house of L'Oreal and Genelia D'Souza is the face of Garnier's fairness cream.

John Abraham endorses Garnier's men's range of fairness creams, Shahid Kapoor is the face of Vaseline's fairness cream for men and superstar Shah Rukh Khan is the face of Emami Fair & Handsome.

Does white really mean beautiful?

Hundreds of millions of people around the world think so, and some even put their lives at risk to achieve it.

Every year women and men from cultures as diverse as Nigeria, India and the Philippines spend billions of dollars on skin-lightening products - many of them made with toxic and possibly carcinogenic ingredients.

Most women crave that perfect Barbie look – long hair, wide eyes, a flawless features and most importantly fair skin.

India’s appetite for skin whitening creams is huge and growing.

We hope Nandita Das finds some support to her campaign from her own industry and take the movement ahead.

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