Dark is beautiful movement takes on unfair India
Indian actress Nandita Das is fighting to overturn the all-pervasive 'you need to be fair' message in India. Nandita Das is the new poster girl of the 'Dark is Beautiful' campaign. Looking to find a husband, make friends, and get ahead at work? Then you need to have lighter skin.
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. In May, Das became the face of the Dark is Beautiful campaign, launched in 2009 by activist group Women of Worth to celebrate "beauty beyond colour".
Her backing has helped to generate increasing debate in the media, but the response has underlined just how ingrained the preference is for fairer skin, which has long been associated with higher social classes and castes. Some wanted to commit suicide because they couldn't be fair," she said.
Das found her own photograph had been lightened by a newspaper even for a feature on the campaign. Amid such pressures to be pale, India's whitening cream market swelled from $397-million in 2008 to $638-million over four years, according to market researchers at Euromonitor International.
Skin-lightening products accounted for 84% of the country's facial moisturiser market last year, their report shows. The bias facing darker-skinned women was raised again in September when an Indian-origin woman, Nina Davuluri, won the Miss America contest in the United States.
Last year, a commercial for an "intimate wash" to whiten vaginas emerged, showing a young Indian woman who uses the product to successfully regain her boyfriend's attention.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Mail & Guardian