‘Fair or Dark & the Measure of Beauty’

"Fair or Dark - Preference for"
by P.T. Choudary, Chairman IDEAz
  • “Being happy in your skin that's what it's all about.” - Koo Stark
  • “There is no beauty without strangeness.” - Karl Lagerfeld
  • “We ascribe beauty to that which… is the mean of many extremes.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Mechanisms of natural selection and genetic drift have led to an increased frequency of particular traits which now we recognize as desirable.” - Anon.

Key Concepts:

  • Indians exhibit preference for being ‘Fair’. Is this indicative of a ‘Racist / Slavish’ mind set derived out of centuries of being ruled by the white skinned?
  • Since the shade of skin colour seems to be a factor for natural selection globally, could it have some other rationale?
  • Beauty is more than just skin deep and is measured differently.

Key Metrics:

  • ‘Fairness creams’ are the most selling Cosmetic aid even in other Asian Countries such as China – where according to Indian standards people are already fair?
  • Rank of Countries in total number of cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non surgical - according to Business India: USA - 1st, Brazil - 2nd, China - 3rd and India - 4th.
  • Rank of procedures in India: Liposuction - 1st, Breast augmentation – 2nd, Hair transplantation – 3rd. However complexion care would beat all of them.

The subject of Colour preference seems to attract a lot of strong emotion laden comments from a wide range of people from across the Country. ‘Racist’, ‘Slavish mentality’, 'Casteist’, ‘Prejudiced’, are some of the many adjectives used by many to deride other people who, unlike themselves, they would like to think are colour conscious.

The implications of shades of complexion, whether fair or dark, have arisen from a bias that was based on an economic foundation. Over the ages since, we seem to have forgotten this basis and now remember and react to only the conclusion resulting in mistaken attitudes. An error we need to understand and rectify and not permit it to further distort our views of the real issue. It is therefore now time to take a balanced and realistic look at this matter, for which we need to ask ourselves these questions.

  • Why do we Indians want to be fair and seek fair spouses?- ‘Tall, Fair and Handsome’ . Does this show racist, slavish, casteist etc mind set, or is it a response because of a natural or evolutionary bias to what we culturally equate fairness with – people who are not labourers and who can afford to not work in the sun? This bias existed from well before the invasion of the fair skinned and can thus hardly be called racist or slavish etc.
  • Why are the white skinned people of European descent keen on tanning themselves darker and go for Cosmetics that shade, blush and colour them? Suntan lotions and Tanning beds are greatly in demand there and of course – ‘Tall, Dark and Handsome’ - is this because of a cultural bias towards those of


Total votes: 0


1. Responses to “Dark-Dusky-Fair-Very Fair! Is it Racism?” By imran on Oct 26, 2010 I will have to second you on your opinion that individually and as a group society countries have their own definitions of being attractive. However never before did I think about what is really driving people to use the fairness creams specifically, except a macro view that man usually wants what he does not have. I especially liked what you added to JP Morgan’s quote. Good nature and character in my opinion would make this world lesser racist and peaceful. Reply: By P.T. Choudhary on Oct 30, 2010 Dear Imran, I am glad that you find IDEAz encourages you to look at a subject differently and hence understand it better. That is the aim of IDEAz. Do check out the other posts too. Thanks ..P.T.

hello sir, I am amazed by this post, the insight it gave me, made me think a lot more, and improved my view on this topic… I request you to add a few more lines about the views of people, and also, how the racial discrimination rates are going down. It is a known fact that most people seem to think “black people” or “African Americans” are not very well off, or educated; but in times like these, the world can amaze you. A funny forward that came to me one day, said that; the world is changing, The President of The U.S.A. is black, the most famous and best “rapper” of the 21st Century is white and everybody loves everybody, who’s to blame now? so in all ‘fairness’( pun intended) I think this whole “fair or Dark” dilemma is coming to an end. :)

Dear Karan, I’m glad that you accessed the site so soon after coming to know of it. As regards “Fair or Dark” the paper intends to explain why people(and even other creatures) everywhere seek to display economic status ( calling attention to their capability to be better mates) and how being ‘fair or dark’ is also part of such display in different regions. Since this a matter of ‘Natural Selection’ it will only come to an end when having a suntan- ‘Dark’, or not having one-’ Fair’, will cease to be a sign of economic status. At which time other indications will receive greater importance. The point you make about colour of skin being linked to a perception of class or superiority & not economic status, that is Racism, and we all look forward to its end… Best Wishes.. P.T.

Dear Tuhin Fair Or Dark may not be important in Spouse. I like your last Statement. Your addition to JPMORGAN advice (ie)good nature & character are important. Good topic to read. Dasari

Dear Dasari Sir, Once again thanks for your comments and please do keep reading the other articles too. Fair & Dark was to make people think that it is not the colour but what the colour represents in their thinking that counts. In the final analysis it is an economic decision for spouse selection and exists even in non human creatures. Darwin’s Natural selection in action.So perhaps we should stop castigating ourselves for being ‘Racist’ or “slavish”. Ofcourse these attitudes also exist as an extension of xeno view points, but that is not to be confused in what is meant by looking for relative fairness or darkness in spouse selection… P.T.

Hello sir, how ru nice to c ur articals on ideas it is really intersting topics are there slowly I am addicting to ur site. Bye sir

Dear Sachitanand Garu, Thanks for your comments. The site is being updated by 10/09/11, to give it a better look and to add some quotations to the essays therein for a better understanding of the context. I hope you will like it. I look forward to your comments on any of the essays to help me make them more focussed. With Best Wishes.. P.T.

Dear Tuhin It is eye opener for all of us who just carried away with fair and handsome physically. Other aspects mentioned in your conclusion are to be given more lmportance by our youth.Finally Youth should strive for keeping themselves FIT both Physically and Mentally instead of using whiteners!

Dear Dasari Sir, Thank you for your comment. let us not object to people using ‘whiteners’ or rather more correctly ‘lighteners’ and other aids to have a smoother complexion. What matters is that they properly understand why they are doing so. Of course Physical and mental fitness and the other points thati I have mentioned in the Article are also part of being attractive. Best Wishes… Tuhin

Interesting information sir.
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