Sailaja N. Joshi

Fair Boy, Fair Girl. What’s the Difference?

In Anthropology, India, Presentation of Self, Social Change on July 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm


Fairness Creams in India

So it’s no surprise that Indian women are obsessed with fair skin. India has a long, rich tradition of believing that fair is lovely. But thanks to globalization, or perhaps the woman’s liberation movement, it seems that the tables are turning in India and fairness is no longer just for women.

After my last post, Fair for Facebook, I got some great press via Global Voices and comments which got me thinking, What’s the difference between a fair [Indian] boy and a fair [Indian] girl?

Well to start, a fair girl is lovely. She represents the values of her family. It’s an asset for her to be fair. In the past this meant she was the top pick in the arranged marriage lot. Times however are changing in India. While arranged marriages are still popular, Indian women have a choice now.

And that choice has given birth to the fair boy.

Now the fair boy is not lovely. He’s smart. He also knows that if he wants to get married, to a nice girl from a nice family that it’s going to take more than just an engineering degree.

He has to look good too.

Gone are the days when men could rely on their Visa status and degrees. Indian men, whether it is because of globalization or shifts in population, must look good. And that looking good requires them to be fair.

So, in other words, in order for Indian men to find a ‘suitable match’ they must have fair skin.

My, how the tables have turned.  Ladies of India, enjoy your power.

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