All Hearts are dead except those with knowledge... All those with knowledge are asleep except those who perform good actions... All those who perform good actions are deceived except those with sincerity... And all those with sincerity are in a constant state of anxiety... [Imam Shafi'i]

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fair and Lovely?

Assalamualaikum all,

Just today I was having a conversation with a friend on this topic. About how much our society is obsessed with fairness and skin colour. I found an article on this which u mite wanna read. It was quite interesting. It's called Indian Women Criticize 'Fair and Lovely' Ideal. I have 2 admit, I do use the cream fair and lovely. Initially it started off with me actually feeling bad because of my colour and soon I was using it on a regular basis. But now I tell people that I use the ayurvedic ones only because they honestly do keep ur skin smooth and pimple free. But I think still bhitore bhitore I do use it for the colour :$ although the other factors mentioned above are a reason too.

It is often a really common situation in BD (well i've witnessed it a lot) that when someon asks another person abt a girl's looks, its either "meyetar gayer rong dudher moto shada" or "khub forsha", even the term "shundor" has the connotation that the girl is fair. But if the girl is shemla often the reply to that question is "meyeta shemla kintu chehara sweet". Thats what i've heard from a LOT of people abt me. It sounds as though being shemla a terrible thing and even tho chehara is ok, the shemla-ness remains a big 'but'.

Islamically, we arent supposed 2 judge people based on their colour. But the stereotypes that r in place now, every1 is doing it. Plus abbu was telling me that in the arab countries the arabs look down upon us curries (i.e. indian, bangladeshi, pakistani, sri lankan.....), perhaps not because of colour but because the majority of curries there are working in low class jobs so many arabs immediately assume any dark person they see as a low class person. Once again, this goes completely against the teachings of the prophet (SAS). So y does ppl do it? Does any1 know the origins of such ideology? It wud be intersting to find out. I always thought it was because we always thought that the bideshi's were 'up there' so we wanned 2 b like them. Is that y? Enlighten us please... any1.....


Blogger ashes2ashes said...

I don't understand that attitude either- comparing skin colour...BDeshi's do it and so do the arabs. When an arab friend of mine told me I was quite fair compared to other SEasians she knew...I was totally disgusted. She thought she was "complementing" me- but I was quite offended... I mean I am happy the way I am (ahl) and no one has the right to assume that I want to be any fairer!
I don't know the solution to solving this inferiority complex that BDeshis have i.e. they feel that they need to be fair in order to look beautiful...I just don't understand it. I haven't experienced it myself - except a few comments people made in BD ...but I think I shut the up pretty quickly! I can't stand narrow-minded people I tend to brush them off.
My advice, ishii, don't listen to people's's not worth it.
P.S. I don't understand what flaws people see in your skin colour, its beautiful :) me!

5:58 pm

Blogger Emu said...

i guess fair people have always been considered more beautiful. but of course that doesn't mean that darker skinned ppl are ugly.

in bd, i think this whole issue of wanting to be fair arises from indian media - films, ads, dramas. i was over at my bangali neighbour's house a few days ago for dawat. the time we went there were some 'eid special' natoks (funny term there) on in some bd chanel, and they had planned to watch them. so we sat there talking while the ads played b4 the natok. someone was switching b/w bangla and indian chanel and some of the ads in the 2 chanels were prety much identical ... and guess what, they were for some skin fairness cream.

i read a bit of that article. i was surprised to find that they banned a couple of ads on fairness creams. i remember watching the ad mentioned while i was in bd about the "father had lamented not having a son to support the family". i thought it was pretty pathetic but didn't know it was an indian ad.

ditto at ash's p.s. beauty is int he eye of the beholder.

6:43 pm

Blogger ashes2ashes said...

Wise words emu...ever thought of making a career move and going into philospohy?
P.S. Fuzzball wants to play game- had to shorten the comment!

7:03 pm

Blogger -iishii- said...

As much as the attitude sickens me, I do get influenced by it. I guess what i mean abt getting influenced is, ok this is stupid, but the only thing i do that would be considered getting influenced is, competing with anika abt who is whiter :$ There i said it, lol.

U no wat, emu, i didnt no that the ads were indian. I thought they were b-deshi. Honestly! And speaking of natoks, nabila was telling me abt this natok called "ek jonaki" abt a girl who cant get married coz shes black :S:S:S:S:S:S:S

7:04 pm

Blogger HijabiPrincess said...

oh oh oh my all time favourite topic!!!! okay, u guyz at least didnt get a comment like i used to get... "bilat jonmo hoiyao gayer rong eto moila keno"... hhahaahaa. o my god, i remember crying over this comment when i was a child... someone from dadubari said that... now understand his lack of education and understanding made her say that.. but this is a widespread disgusting attitude about deshi ppl.. my ma used to do a lot of ghotkalis, and trust me, these guyz in their late 20s willing to get married would come upto my ma and talk about their preferences... "lomba forsha"!!!!
forsha... u know one reason i detest fair and lovely is becoz this cream implies "fair" is a synonym to "lovely"!!! how does that work? and the comment u talked about... "meyeta shemla KINTU sweet"... this kintu... ughghghhghh....
ami eta niye bashae fatai feli, but i know baire amar chot pat bondho karon naturally, kalo hoye to ami kalo deri okaloti korbo right? :P.

historical context: i will hereby include some of the historical context of this forsha/kalo/lovely/moila battle... i did some reading (ahem.. dont ask... did that long before, when i was absolutely traumatized over my skin colour *sigh*. now i love my skin colour... only hate any pimples trying to grow). Anyway, the history...
In our Indian subcontinent, the native people were called "Dravidian"... they were dark skinned-light eyebrowed-flat nosed-short people. The purest form of Dravidians can still be seen in the southern part of India and SriLanka.
Anyway, then thousands and thousands year ago, people from Europe migrated there who called themselves "Arjo" (Ariyan). They were light skinned talk people people with thin nose and thin lips. They had knowledge of better technology and hence started dominating over the native Dravidians and started saying all kinds of things like they r intellectually upgrated, God's apostle and stuff. Guess what, Dravidians believed them and from then on started the caste of India... the Arjos being the highest class and Dravidian--shudro people the lowest.
I guess the prejudice basing on skin colour dates back to that. Then there came the Arabs, who the native people thought were better in every ways (and eventually expected their religion Islam, but couldnt cure their own mind!).

I guess Arab people got this prejudice since when they started getting African people as their "slaves". Dark skinned people meant low status and inferior heritage!

SO yeah... this who skin colour thing has some complicated history. :). But looks like everywhere in the world the light skinned people got to dominate over the dark skinned ones like us leaving us in absolute inferiority complex. :-(. I wish we had proper Islam among us regarding this matter.
--(BBA) Bangali Black Activist :P

9:39 pm

Blogger HijabiPrincess said...

her* lack of education.. lolz. I guess i am a pretty enthusiastic and excited BBA. :P.

9:42 pm

Blogger HijabiPrincess said...

light skinned *tall* people (not talk). huh!

9:44 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

The sad thing about all of this is that all these "schemes" and "scripts" (psych terminology) that people hold about certains groups, classes or subclasses of people are not going to go away.

Stereotypes and what's termed "implicit associations" are a part of our neurological make-up... apparently. People may think that they will go away, but not for a looooooong time... as in 3/4 generations... as in, 100-200 years.

On the flip side of the coin- you cannot simply claim that stereotyping is natural (we learnt it in psych!) because ultimately human beings have been given FULL capabilities to choose what course of action to take, ie- whether they're going to act upon their prejudices or adopt a tolerant behaviour.

And Ishi! FOR THE BILLIONTH TIME! HOW can you possibly concern yourself with such fruitless, superficial, artificial, man-made & utterly USELESS pursuits??!!
I don't understand it when people tell me that they "feel bad" or that "it hurts" to have others talk about your skin colour... what is that about?? WHY would you let such narrow-minded, worthless imbiciles make you "feel bad"? What hold do they have over your emotions? Why give them the power to govern your emotional state??

ARRGH! It frustrates me SOOO much to know that I've told Ishi this millions & billions of time, and yet, each and EVERY time, she'll give me a reply like: "Oh, we're not all like you, TC..."
Well, duh! Understatement of the millenium... nobody was asking you to be "like TC"... (in fact that would be a BAD idea)- I only want you to STOP USING THAT STUPID TUBE FULL OF CHEMICALS THAT CANNOT HELP YOU IN ANY WAY!! (And there's no way you can convince me otherwise!)

Whew! This topic always gets Flynn started on one of her frustrated tirades...
I'd better leave it there, but Ishi, seriously- STOP using that vile lotion thing... if you MUST, then use some simple, all natural product (without the label "Fair & Lovely" attached to it).

10:13 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

Whhops... that was a RECORD!
Much Sorryness for the extensive blabbing.

10:14 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

Great debate guys...just one thing HP- when you say Bangali "Black" are also falling into the same trap- my point of view is that we should be against any type of labelling i.e. there shouldn't be any black/brown/white/yellow/green categories to put people into. We are ALL people - doesn't matter of what color,shape, etc we happen to be.

11:18 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

ooooops...that last comment was made by me - ash!

11:19 pm

Blogger »|n|i|r|a|« said...

I was just about to write a long lecture on the 'Ariyan' business until I saw HP's comment. Basically, it was a way to divide and conquer. I don't know if you heard a while back there was a mass conversion of the 'Untouchables' or 'Shudhro' into Budhism because Hinduism did nothing but degrade them. I remember thinking, why didn't they just come to Islam?

Anyways, I remember one Fair and Loverly ad from BD. It goes like this: ek rajkonna tar biyer dine choto bonke golpo bolche: rasta diye ek rajputro jai motor bike-e kore, rajkonnar pash diye jai kintu kohono fireo takai na. Rajkonnar to dukkho rakhar jaiga nei. Tarpor shey khoj pelo Fair and Lovely-r and jonmer moto dui gale makhailo. Tarpo rajputro to tar theke chokh feratei pare na! Emon obostha je motorbike ulta giya asar khete baki! Chotobon borer dike angul diye bole "ei bujhi tomar rajputo?" Did anyone else see it? For some reason I always found the ad hilarious! Now that I think back, it had all the hallmarks of an Indian ad, like ema said.

Btw, I wouldn't encourage everyone to use fair and lovely. Afifa began using it on someone's recommendation (was it you iishii?) and nearly ruined her skin. So, you gotta be careful whether it suits your skin or not.

11:35 pm

Blogger HijabiPrincess said...

to tell u the truth, I started using "fair and lovely" under ishi's influence once she convinced me into thinking that totally gets rid of the pimples and blemishes in one night (sorry exaggeration... but it was meant to be a quick cure). Anyway, I used that for what a week or so and totally gave up on that... hahaha. amar eto dhorjo nai... hahaha. alhamdulillah, my skin is much better now as i use some simple face wash.
ash apu, i know, BBA isnt the right way to think either. But u should see me get into "one of those" fights with my prejudiced (greater) family. Its frustrating. How can people be so narrow minded? Its the people who are just one shade lighter than me... even they r regarded as more "forsha and shundori" than me... it was in Bangladesh. So the way I started fighting for the people of my speceis... it started to look a bit like i am a black activist. But yeah, i know that defies the whole purpose.. i was just joking when i said that.
I reckon this one good thing about Australia/any western country... the concept of beauty changed... skin colour doesnt play a major role. Alhamdulilalh its not like in bangladesh!!!

12:39 am

Blogger flynn.t said...

Ash- WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Why is Ash using MY login name??

9:40 am

Blogger »|n|i|r|a|« said...

I was wondering the same; how did ash get flynn's password; I can see a lot of sisterly sharing there!

btw, iishii, I changed my template. Let me know if it loads quicker now.

10:21 am

Blogger -iishii- said...

HP: ooooo, so I was rite, the shada europeans got this stereotype in us that white means beautiful! And i was so shocked 2 find out (in yr 10) that it was these aryans that introduced this caste system into the hindu religion.

LOL @ BBA. Jazakallah for the insightful history lesson :D

Flynn: Manusher shamne amake boke shanti peyechen :P OMG, i told u that i use this cream coz of other things as well, not just forsha thingo. Plus call me a FOB if u will, but bideshi creams dont work on my face. Its only the bangladeshi ones that do. So my skin is made for such creams. 4 some reason it duznt work on any1 elses face :S

Nira apu: Yup i can c it yay! alhamdulillah :D


Its so strange coz ammu always tells me that in her family, every single person was forsha but her. So ppl wud always complement her sisters but not her. She was so sick of hearing things like that. But she was determined 2 get an education and a career. So it wasnt until she was an established and educated careerwoman that every1 began looking at HER and admiring her. Y shud one colour of ppl have 2 work harder 2 reach the same level of another colour. But i guess the benefit was that she was respected for all the right reasons unlike her sisters, lol.

10:50 am

Blogger Chimichanga said...

When I was in NY, I learnt this.And I love this. Repeat after me, ok>. loudly, LOUDLY!

"Say it LOUD, I am Black, I am PROUD."
So, for SE Asians, you can customize it and say, "SAY IT LOUD, I AM BROWN, I AM PROUD."

Believe me, it makes you feel a lot better. Make sure you say it LOUD... :)
HP: You are right that in the Western world SHADA chamra is not that big of an indicator of beauty. However, racism still prevail in larger scale. Would you ever hear in Bangladesh that someone didn't get the job because he was dark skinned? Or the dark skinned person didn't get the loan? But it happens EVerYDAY in the united States. So, which one is worse. I don't care if people think I am ugly or beautiful, (for beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and as long as I please my own eyes, what does it matter what people say?). But I need that job, or I need that loan. Don't turn me down because I am black. now, what do you think is a bigger problem? Western or Eastern world, it doesn't matter where you are. World is unfair. Don't complain, get to work! I was taught this great lesson by my uncle. I used to nag/complain a lot about how females have a lot more difficulties than males do. ANd he told me "shut up and work to make things better." lol

3:54 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

shut up and work to make things better."
See, Ishi?? Now, apply this philosophy to your use of Fair & Lovely... just shut up about it, stop using it... and it will make things so much better!!

Thankyou PA, I LOVE simple philosophies!

6:33 pm

Blogger -iishii- said...

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH USING AYURVEDIC, meaning HERBAL STUFF, and the onyl fair and lovely product i use is the herbal 1, so stop complaining flynn :P Plus, i'm in no obsession 2 get fair. I was but i'm not anymore alhamdulillah. So c, its ok, i use ot 4 other reasons not fairness!!!!

7:27 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

There is DEFINITELY something wrong with using ayur-whatnot for your face, but then again... my saying so hasn't stopped you so far.
You may be able to convince the gullible people that this "herbal" stuff is actually herbal, but the day you convince me shall be the day I walk around with PINK hair extensions!! I DETEST the stuff... PERIOD!

7:37 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

Once a kumquat, always a kumquat.

Let's see if anyone can figure what the subtle message behind the statement above.

It'll be too weird if Emu figures it out first.

7:42 pm

Blogger HijabiPrincess said...

Thanks PA for your nice philosophy. :-). But you see, when I complain and choose to retreat, suffer from inferiority complex, then its doing nothing and being harmed instead. But when I complain trying to raise awareness, that is doing something, right?
Flynn, how could I not care about what the "mindless" people say? If ishi's mother aunty didn't care, then she couldn't get as far as she did. You have to care in ways that their shallow mindedness give you power, rather putting you off in real terms.
Alhamdulillah, I am free of all kind of prejudice now. But let me tell you, the seeds of prejudice had been sown in me even before I learnt to talk. I had a cousin who was half irish half bangladeshi... but she didn't look bangladeshi at all, rather south-eastern European or so. My big bro was the cutest baby boy, fair skinned and chubby. My cousin was the same age as my bro--a year or so older than me. You know what they used to do? My bro and that cousin would gang up together on me and close the door leaving me outside (they were only 3 then!)... when I really wanted to get in, my cousin would shout--"go away you blackie!"
Hahahhaa. I know she was just a child then. I know they were children, my cousin must have learnt from the British society to undermine the "black people"... I know it was a long time ago. I don't care anymore. But apparently, as my mother says, that traumatised me as a toddler, I knew I was not being liked for the way I looked and I had adverse reactions in many different ways.

I can act as if this problem does not exist and be too disgusted to talk about something so shallow. But this problem does exist. I will complain about it as long as I can! :-)

7:44 pm

Blogger flynn.t said...

And simply complaining about it will help nobody... except perhaps your own emotional/psychological well-being.

See, this is where we part ways... If you "care" about what people say(and note HP, we're probably defining the term "care" in different ways), then at least be aware of the fact that, for everything you do & for everything you are- there's someone out there who's going to put you down for it.

And just for the record: "Alhamdulillah, I am free of all kind of prejudice now."... NO- You're not... NONE of us are. And, not to be offensive, but it's far, faaar better to be aware of the fact that you DO have prejudices (maybe not very strong ones). At least, when you're aware of the fact, you're also aware that you can act AGAINST any negative stereotypes (prejudices) you have, and try to get rid of them.

But please, don't any of you let yourselves become arrogant enough to think that you don't hold prejudices- YOU DO.

10:59 pm

Blogger Chimichanga said...

Flynn: Yes, all have prejudices. I do too! But I am not sure right now. Let me think: blonde=dtizy women, no brain and an instrument for men's enjoyment. It doesn't have to be true but the way this society's media goes, you can't but begin to think like that.

No, your complaining is NOT raising any more awareness about the problem because guess what? Everyone knows it. Again, beauty lies in th eyes of the beholder. You can write a book about which color of skin is prettier, and you know what? Different people have different taste. Most my Muslim white girlfriends wnat to marry a dark skinned guy for some reason. They are simply fascinated by the darker shade of skin. Yes, like people from India and Asghanistan are simply *hot*, according to them. Is that not unfair against the white people? Yes it is! Does anyone complain? NO! Hence that's NOT a problem. When a blonde woman is ALWAYS dehumnized to the level of a sex-toy, I think it's a much bigger issue than someone thinking someone is not pretty enough. However, it's not a problem, because no one calls it one. Nothing is ever a problem until it gets recognized. Once you start IGNORING what you call your problem, guess what? There is NO problem!

Want to hear medic stuff... Ash may help.
White skins are more liekly to get skin cancer, whereas the dark skin's extra melanine helps you against it. White skin is sooooo much more vulnerable to eczema and other crap. You are just substantially better off with a darkar shade of skin.

ALl right, enough said. I really don't like this topic that much because people do get pretty emotional here. SubhanAllah!
I hope you come across some open minded Bengali people to forgive them. It does sound like you were deeply hurt in your young childhood and I cannot ever resonate with you because I didn't go through that. Yes, I was deeply hurt by a lot of Bengalis in other aspects of life and hence I still hold Bengalis in contempt. But my experiences were not about skin color, so I will stop trying to pretend to know what you went through. But in this country, beauty is ALL about impressing a man, which in itself is simply denegrating and dehumanizing for a woman. In Bangladesh, most Bengali woman will be looking for "forsha meye" for their son! I want be anything but their daughter-in-law given that those poeple canbe so shallow. But guess what, me having a relatively lighter skin, I am at a greater risk at ending up with people that get infatuated with shallow things!
Do you follow me? I am not sure. I will write more later! But don't worry what people say. Specially most women, now that you are in your early adulthood, will be talking about looks because they want to hook you up with some idiots anyway. So it's better not to please their eyes, whom you wouldn't like in return!
I know I am saying politically INCORRECT stuff, but nothing can be more honest and truer than this.

12:32 am

Blogger Chimichanga said...

another thing. when I say, Bengali, I mean Bangladeshis, all of them, bengali, non-Bengali, inclusive. Since you all know I am not a Bengali, i thought you folks be thinking I am dissing *bengalis*. I was dissing all Bangaldeshis, including myself. Crazy crazy infatution with shada chamra. You know I was talking to this friend yesterday. She is a white girl, a convert and wants to get married. She found a desi guy, of course with the help of a wali. THe guy is interested to marry her but having extreme difficulties with his parents just because she is caucasian. SubhanAllah!
What saddens me is that Desis kill for "forsha chamra" but at the same time they would totally discriminate against caucasians. So they want the 'shada chamra' with a SouthAsian ehtnicity, which mostly doesn't exist! Our Prophet will never be with the people of Asabiyyah (nationalism)! It's so sad, it's so scary.

3:17 am

Blogger ashes2ashes said...

There is no immediate solution to this...but iA maybe the next few generations won't have such prejudices if we teach them the correct values...who knows!

P.S. I donno why people picked on you...mum always says you have are v. pretty and we all agree:)...I wish I could stop people from traumatising kids like that- it's inhumane!

2:54 pm

Blogger ExitOnly said...

ooh! let's not cry tonight, I promise you, one day it's through!

6:01 pm

Blogger kacha kola said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:35 pm

Blogger kacha kola said...

why do we talk about what these [in flynnic terms] "narrow-minded, worthless imbiciles" think about which skin colour looks better? just do what ishi's mum did - build urself a career, build urself up as a better muslimah and raise ur children up with the right priorities, which does NOT include arguing about who has what prejudices about what skin colour. (echoing ash here) that's how, insha Allah, we'll have a genaration which does not have these prejudices.

10:21 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home