The views expressed are deeply personal. You may or may not agree with what I have to say, but you that doesn’t take away my right to say it.
Scene: A dark skinned girl enters an office for an interview with all necessary qualifications. However, she’s rejected. Because she isn’t fair enough.
Zoom in to seven different frames of her, each fairer than the last. All thanks to fair and lovely fairness cream that helps her get the job. The girl skips out of the interview, job offer in hand basking in her new found fairness.
A majority of Indian men and women thus grew up believing in the supremacy of the fair skinned, while most of them are naturally on the darker side of the scale. And when such media is shoved down the throats of the masses that have barely had any education and are surrounded by similar minded folks, who is to tell them that girls are not to be judged in marriage solely because of their skin color. Hence, it isn’t surprising that there exists an entire market thriving solely by creating complex among the masses and is valued around $450 million (according to 2016 statistics) and growing at the rate of 18% per annum.
Conventions of beauty have always moved according to what the west believes to be beautiful. For a long time, skinny was considered beautiful, and it’s not like their native people haven’t suffered from it. Cases of anorexia and bulimia are on the rise till this day and millions of people are afflicted each year in the quest to be accepted and considered beautiful. The photo shopped magazine covers are now being bashed and people are speaking up against them, but mere tweeting about such causes isn’t going to help the girl who weighs herself everyday and survives on the least possible amount of food.
While women of African countries were made to feel unworthy for their full lips and naturally curvy body structure, since the rise of the Kardashian-Jenner clan who has actually capitalized on such and made billions of dollars out of such, they were finally given some validation by the supreme authority. However these ladies have constantly been criticized for cultural appropriation, also because each of them has a huge amount of followers they can leave lasting impressions on.
On a smaller scale, people from the west travel to India for search of some culture, meditational practices and general well being and take back to their own countries superficial words they don’t understand like aligning their ‘chakras’ and wearing the rudraksh around their wrists to appear like they have attained all enlightenment there was to attain. If you can’t appreciate a culture, you can’t appropriate it either. You can’t use someone’s actual cultural practice to make yourself appear cultured and make money out of that.
Social media has had a major role to play in throwing out death and rape threats to people hiding behind the veil of anonymity. Everyone can bash a single reporter who criticized the cringe pop “Bol na aunty” as being sexist and hurl abuses at Gauri Lankesh. We can collectively hit sad reacts to a post regarding the merciless rape of that Delhi girl and be laughing at memes the next second- because we’re in a better position than them. Sure, we face sexism and are asked to fit in gender defined stereotypes, but it could be worse.
What’s the huge hype around the word feminist anyway? We just want equal rights for everyone, beyond the realms of gender. So why are we told that we don’t need feminism-because at least we are privileged enough to get a good education and aren’t married off early? The woman who cleans your house everyday was married when she was 10 and hasn’t had a chance at education, is told she doesn’t need feminism because at least her husband doesn’t hit her and she’s really lucky, things could be worse. The woman who is constantly raped by her husband is told that she doesn’t need feminism because what she is going through isn’t rape- its love.
Things could be worse.
I’m left wondering why anyone doesn’t see a very disturbing pattern here.
Img src :google.