Priyanka Chopra: In India, ‘you’re prettier if you’re fairer… I’m, like, dusky’

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Priyanka Chopra covers the latest issue of Glamour Magazine and… I actually liked this interview. You know why? Glamour sent an Indian-American reporter to interview her, and they ended up talking about some Indian-girl sh-t, which appealed to me (as an Indian-American girl). They talked about colorism in India, the idea that Indian-Americans are sometimes seen as or called “the model minority,” the fears of not fitting within white spaces, all of that. Usually, Priyanka tends to avoid those questions, or who knows? Maybe no one bothered to ask her those questions. She’s currently promoting the Baywatch movie (she plays the villain) plus she’s promoting her ABC show Quantico. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She appeals to everyone: “Kids from all over—not just Indians—come talk to me. I met this Dominican girl the other day who said, ‘Everyone tells me that I look like you.’ She gave me a hug, and said, ‘You gave me the strength to stand up onstage and give a presentation in school on where I came from.’ ”

When she first got attention for her looks: “After 15… it was great for my ego. Before 15, I had a lot of self-esteem issues. I was very conscious of the color of my skin. I was very conscious of being, like, a super-gawky, skinny teenager.

Self-conscious about her skin color: “[In] India, because there, you’re prettier if you’re fairer…. I’m, like, dusky. A lot of girls who have a darker skin hear things like, “Oh, poor thing, she’s dark. Poor thing, it’ll be hard for her.” In India they advertise skin-lightening creams: “Your skin’s gonna get lighter in a week.” I used it [when I was very young]. Then when I was an actor, around my early twenties, I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities. And when I saw it, I was like, “Oh sh-t. What did I do?” And I started talking about being proud of the way I looked. I actually really like my skin tone.

Wary of being “too Indian” in America: “Well, first off, I don’t think a lot of people understand what Indians are. And that’s our fault, a little. We tend to forget our roots a bit. As kids [we think], If I’m too Indian, I’ll be put in a box, and people will think of me as different. They’ll think I’m weird, because I eat Indian food or my name is difficult to pronounce…. You’re scared of those things. We’re afraid of letting people see the glory of who we are.

The idea of the “model minority,” of being quiet & acceptable: “And trying not to make a ripple. Staying in your lane—I heard that so much. I want to make my lane! And yes, it’s an extremely scary time. Maybe I, being on the platform that I am, can say this louder than the kid who has to get on the subway and go to school: You don’t need to be afraid of who you are. I don’t want any kid to feel the way I felt in school. I was afraid of my bully. It made me feel like I’m less—in my skin, in my identity, in my culture.

The stereotypes: “I did not want to be the stereotype of either Bollywood or what Indian actors are [usually offered]. The exotic, beautiful girl, or the academically inclined nerd. And I wanted to play a lead…. And I’m playing an FBI agent on Quantico. I didn’t settle for less.

She call herself “exotic” but you can’t: “Right. We can call ourselves that. You can’t call us that. When somebody else calls you exotic, exotic is a box—it’s the stereotype of snake charmers and face jewelry. You’re just that stereotype. But I don’t get offended anymore. I used to get offended by things that were said to me, or how I was seen. Now I educate. If I get pissed off, I’ll educate in a sassy way. Other times I educate in a Gandhi-like way. You know—I have my moods.

Whether she’s single: “Me to know, and you to find out. [Laughs.] I’ve always been someone who’s kept my private life a little private. When there’s a ring on my finger, I’ll talk about it.

[From Glamour]

I’m half-white and half-Indian, and my Indian aunts always praised me for being so “fair” while still looking Indian. It’s a thing in India, likely a remnant of the Empire days or who knows? But colorism runs deep in India and Indian women still face a lot of that bulls–t to this very day. The thing is, I would say that Priyanka IS “fair,” which is why she was chosen to do those skin-lightening commercials in India. At least she realized (after the fact) that it was a huge mistake. Also: I kind of love what she says about the word “exotic.” I’m going to borrow that – I can call myself exotic, you can’t.

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Photos courtesy of Glamour.

 

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83 Responses to “Priyanka Chopra: In India, ‘you’re prettier if you’re fairer… I’m, like, dusky’”

  1. kNY says:

    One of my sisters is a tanorexic and she would look at her and think “Pfffffft. If I were that pale, I wouldn’t go out.”

  2. Kata says:

    I think it’s beause it used to be a sign of wealth. If you were fair, it meant you didn’t have to work outside.
    It was the same in Europe. Even now, sometimes it feels like white people need to be tan because it means they have the money to travel and be outside and not look sickly and pale because they work in offices.

    The same thing happened with weight, etc. Pretty much everything to do with human beings in the end boils down to money.

    • Ennie says:

      I read many people around the world refer the colorist to Western influence, but I have also read that it comes from way before. In Japan or China, being fairer=prettier comes from their own history, from being inside the castles or mansions, being catered to, and not having to work out in the sun, being a farm hand or else.
      All over Asia you can find the whitening products, people going around with umbrellas.
      Same happened to Europeans themselves, long ago when they even powdered their faces with talc.

      • Nina says:

        Yep, it’s totally independent of wanting to look “Western.” I lived in Korea for a while and got really caught up in avoiding the sun and using an umbrella. It’s funny to think about that now. Not so funny to think about skin whitening creams which were also everywhere – what is even in those? It can’t be safe.

      • Ennie says:

        I started having melasma problems and I understand trying to make my skin at least an even color, but it is too much to try to whiten it to be appreciated by family or at work. that must suck.

      • tigerlily says:

        My daughter in law is from Vietnam and it is same there. Her family would tease her about being so dark and nag her not to allow herself to tan. When I was there for a few weeks (in 40+ degree C heat and incredible humidity) I was appalled at all the local women wearing long pants (jeans!) and long sleeved turtlenecks to avoid any tanning, while I sweated in shorts and tank tops. DIL also told me that there are lots of salons where women go to bleach their skin and I too wonder what caustic ingredients might lurk in those potions. I have also noticed that Shiseido (Japanese) makeup uses “vanity” labeling on their foundation and powder. I am very fair skinned and usually take lightest yellow toned shade. All the Shiseido “ivory” shades are brown on me. WTF?

        Now that she lives in Canada I think (hope) she is more accepting of her dark skin having seen how much Canadians pay at tanning salons to look darker!

    • DystopianDance says:

      I was thinking about my Puerto Rican family and their proclivity for eugenics. Seriously. Every woman was “commended” for breeding with a “white guy” to lighten the children. I’m not the smartest of my siblings, nor the most industrious, but I have the most status because I was born with the lightest hair & skin.

  3. Kove says:

    She definitely isn’t fair, and she used to be much darker, look at her younger photos.

    • Jegede says:

      I was gonna say.

      London is a melting pot, and Chopra would NOT be considered ‘fair’ by the standard of Indian girls here in Blighty.

      I mean using Nigerians as an example, Sade Adu is fair (yes she’s biracial, but there are non-biracial Igbos/Yorubas who are as fair as she is); however Kerri Washington’s hubby, Nnamdi Asomugha is brown but would be considered on the darker-skinned spectrum.

      • teacakes says:

        Accurate. She wouldn’t be considered fair in India either, so irrespective of what non-Indians perceive her as, she’s been seen and treated as a darker-skinned woman in her own society so she knows of what she speaks.

        Side note – I didn’t realise Sade Adu was THE Sade!

      • Elsa says:

        Nigerians are mostly darker skinned. Like the majority are his color and darker. Most are not anywhere near sades skin color who is biracial, and I dont know why Nigerians want to insist on that? It’s bizarre.
        Most Indians are a dusky color. Freida pinto has a similar complexion to priyanka.

      • Jegede says:

        Erm, Nigerians insist on what exactly? That fair skinned Nigerians exist – especially within a certain tribe??? That’s the truth. And who stated that light skinned Nigerians are a majority?

        Stating the fact that the Igbos and Delta are a fair skinned Nigerian community/tribe – WITHOUT being biracial like Sade Adu – does not mean anyone is inferring that all of Nigeria is light skinned.
        (And Adu’s mixed race heritage was already referenced in my original post)

        Try going to the South-South, the Rivers region, Delta, Asaba, where Sade Adu’s colour is not an anomaly.

        And no one said implied that a majority of Indians were fair either, we instead focused on what is classified as ‘fair’ and Chopra is not it.

        You seem to be misreading and then projecting what you choose on this topic.

      • Elsa says:

        Yeah, I’ve had a lot of Nigerians insist on that and it reeks of internalised colorism and insecurity around color in general. Anyway, most Igbos etc are not light skinned or anywhere near it. The tiny minority that are however seem to get brought up quite a lot which again reeks of insecurity.
        The thing is, Nigerians are beautiful which is why it is especially sad.
        Anyway. I won’t bring it up again because if it is one thing I have learned, it’s that people hate when others see through them and point out their sensitivities.
        Have a nice day, Jegede.

      • Jegede says:

        So after your complete and total mis-interpreting the original discussion points on Indian & Nigerian colourism, its now time to use anecdotal evidence to shore up your claims right? OK then.

        If, as you say, you’ve heard “a lot of Nigerians” insist on this (?) then maybe that’s cause it’s what their functioning eyes see esp if they live in Edo or Rivers, and not them solely trying to front to you .

        That Igbos/Asaba/Delta are fair has long been the case. And it was only pointed out here to highlight the issue of colourism in the country, because most of the girls from these regions used to dominate Naija beauty contests in the past. (And this is probably likely the same for India.)

        Your claims that “a lot of Nigerians” insist on this – not because the census, the demographics, or the differences in pheomelnain distribution due to different regional states make differing skin tones in Nigerian states, especially in the South, a fact – but, according to you, a way for Nigerians to sate their ‘insecurity’ / deal with internal issues, only confirms once again your own deeply personal projections on this topic. Deeper than I thought. Stay well.

    • Zaratustra says:

      There are some non-white people in acting who got fairer skin but never seem to admit it. #Halle

      • Elsa says:

        First of all, fair means beautiful. I find it curious that people use it exclusively to mean lighter skin.
        Anyway…halle is biracial, and guess what? Those with darker skin can tan. Brown skin is not some static color that never alters like human skin depending on Weather.
        I think a lot of people are jealous of her and others with darker skin who are considered beautiful and attempt to shame them and accuse them of plastic surgery or in this case, skin bleaching when that is not the case.
        People in India do not bleach their skin because they think white skin is oh so beautiful. They do so because sometimes it’s life or death. It can change your livelihood and either improve it or ruin it. No one wants to age like a white woman. And you do the lighter your skin is.
        We live in a world where youth is admired in women so no, no one is bleaching because they think white skin is more beautiful. White skin however has status and privilege.
        Oh and many were darker as kids because we used to play outside in the hot summer sun and not use spf.

        Another aspect many seem to ignore is men of colors inferiority complex which they project onto their women.
        Many men of color feel conquered and self loathing because they can’t compete with white men who are the most powerful men on the planet as of now. Instead of competing, they take it out on women and try the next best thing which is gain status by the white man’s seed. It’s a deep and complex issue but in reality it has little to do with women of color.

  4. Jegede says:

    It’s the same in Nigeria, Japan, and many other places.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      There’s also a trend sometimes in fiction from different Asian countries of female love interests always having lighter skin than their male partners. It seems to go along with what I hear some people from outside of the US saying about how in other countries, light skin is partially about feminine beauty standards instead of just racism.

  5. Brea says:

    I think she admits to using a skin bleaching creme, that’s why she was playing ” the girl with insecurities” in that commercial. I really liked this interview, it was very refreshing and honest.

  6. fiorucci says:

    She looks very nice here. I like her with the younger styling and I think more natural makeup than usual. And obviously, so pretty.

    Exotic is not a word I use, in any way but I’ve been aware that it’s offensive to WOC for a long time. I am sorry that some WW use ignorant terms like this as a (backhanded?) compliment, and otherwise OTHER WOC about any of their unique features/beauty/hair.

    So in India is being lighter skinned as valuable (as an “attraction commodity”) as being thin? Or maybe there are mainly thin/ fit ladies there anyways? If you have darker skin what’s the outcome, you’ll marry a less wealthy man? Just curious how it plays out. What happens if you use lightening creams, does your skin age faster, any bad side effects?

    We should talk about the tanning industry /beauty standards too. Mainly because it must be more of a costly health issue and we’re all going to pay for that🤦🏼‍♀️ Lots of parents wont have the various resources to prevent their daughters and some sons from tanning.

    • teacakes says:

      @fiorucci – it’s not a hard and fast rule but in the case of a prospective bride who’s on the darker side but looks like Priyanka or Deepika Padukone, is well educated (that includes going to the ‘right kind of schools’ wherever you grew up) and has a wealthy/”respectable” family …… let’s just say that those things are seen as ‘compensation’ for the not-so-ideal skin tone.

      Oh and very few men are willing to marry a woman who’s darker-skinned than they are, especially if it’s an arranged marriage.

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        Sorry to ask, but what is an “ideal skin tone” in India? How fair/light should it be?

      • LokiGal says:

        Not just in India or the NRI either, I’m south East Asian and the same applies here. You can be beautiful, brainy, make bank with good bloodlines etc and yet being darker skinned would still be a ‘flaw’. Ranging from No way in hell is she going to be my DIL, to eh, at least she’s X,Y,Z even if she’s dark., Predicated on how dark you are, some families who pride themselves on being modern or tolerant may even see it as proof they are beyond colorism, except that it is still being remarked upon.
        Extreme cases include the dowry being calculated lower, (here the girl gets the dowry instead of giving it) than if she were fair.

      • fiorucci says:

        Thank you tea cakes. Interesting that the man will usually be the darker one. This may make it hard for fair men!

      • teacakes says:

        @Pumpkin Pie – the lighter, the better. That’s how colorism works. I’ve given a few examples below, of people who have that kind of skin tone -surely you can get a picture from that?

        @fiorucci – lol you’d be wrong, because fairer-skinned men normally get to be as picky as they like re: literally everything about a future (arranged marriage) partner’s appearance, if they’re going that route. It’s a horrible thing but there it is.

      • me says:

        @ fiorucci

        Hard for fair men? LOL nope. Not only were they born the “preferred gender” and the apple of their parents’ eyes for simply being born male…but to be a male and fair skinned is the best thing an Indian man can be. He will get many marriage proposals and will literally have his pick. It’s so dumb, but that is the reality.

    • me says:

      My cousin recently went to India to “look for a bride” and he only wanted a light skinned girl. I was shocked because he grew up in Canada and I truly thought he was past all that nonsense…plus his mom and sister are on the darker side. With regards to being thin, yes it matters as much as your skin tone. Heavy girls who are also dark skinned have very little change of a good marriage proposal…which is sad (but to be honest who wants to marry into a family that only cares about that sh*t anyways !). To be honest, with the amount of gendercide going on in India, there will be only males left anyway…no girls to make feel like sh*t for not being “perfect”. Damn I really hate my culture sometimes.

      • fiorucci says:

        Since your friend grew up with lots of hot tan and darker ladies (I assume) it seems like more a status thing than physical attraction (unless he really has a specific type which is rare) Almost like he’s making a huge decision about a life partner, and taking into account something so inconsequencial as to what his cultural community (probably not his whole social life is with these people) will think of her appearance, the fact that they will say “you’re fair ” on the wedding day. Kind of different from western culture , men care about appearance but mothers in law probably not so much

      • me says:

        It’s my cousin and he grew up in Canada around a lot of white people for the most part.

  7. Goldie says:

    This is one of the best interviews I’ve read from her. Perhaps being interviewed by an Indian American woman helped put her at ease.

    • Original T.C. says:

      +1

      I was offended at her other interviews where she attempts to separate herself from other women of color or at least issues that all non-White women face. But perhaps she didn’t trust the Caucasian interviewers to properly convey her message or didn’t want to bring it up to someone outside her group. There are some things you just keep to yourself about struggles your community deals with. For example based on the disappointing comments regarding natural hair products and female self-esteem in the black community, most Black women would only discuss that topic with a Black journalist who knows the weight of the issue. Ditto with light skin or biracial women being more favored in the Black community. Even your White friends you don’t bring up the topic because it’s hard to understand why it’s important if you haven’t faced the issue personally.

      I’m happy to know I was wrong about her. Great interview.

  8. teacakes says:

    nah, Kaiser – maybe she’s fair by standards applied to western WOC, but I can state for a fact she’s considered “dark ” or “dusky” here in India, both at the start of her beauty pageant career and now.

    By Indian standards ie the standard that has actually applied to her through most of her life, she’s definitely “dark”, as is Freida Pinto etc (even Deepika Padukone is considered dusky, or def not ‘fair’ anyway). And they may not be perfect people, but they’re not lying about coming up on the wrong side of colorism.

  9. mazzie says:

    Yup. Shadism is also common in the West Indies.

    • Moneypenny says:

      Yep, I think it is true of all black cultures. My Bajan grandmother dislikes me because I’m probably the darkest grandchild (I’m about Beyonce’s coloring). Too dark for her tastes.

      Definitely true with African-Americans as well, though I’d say publicly it is shown as more of a preference for lighter skin.

  10. seesittellsit says:

    I did a little research, and although colonialism was a factor in modern colorism, colorism in both India and China turns out to go back much farther. I don’t understand it in China, but in India it appears to go all the way back to the Indo-Aryan invasion dating back to pre-historic times (??? I don’t know how they can know this but it’s what I found). The caste system predated the Empire, and appears also to have its roots in that invasion:

    “The Origins of the Caste System. According to one long-held theory about the origins of South Asia’s caste system, Aryans from central Asia invaded South Asia and introduced the caste system as a means of controlling the local populations. The Aryans defined key roles in society, then assigned groups of people to them.”

    I’m only putting up what I found here – I’m no expert but was curious to see what I found.

    • A says:

      I was just about to address this. I’m Indian myself, and I also want to point out that the history of colorism within India is something that has its roots in its history, and is justified by it just as much.

      I can’t speak to how much the historical idea of colour was impactful within Indian society. My guess would be, given the dearth of literature in a variety of different languages, that while yes, being “fair” was equated to a specific standard of beauty, it wasn’t the overriding one, in that it superceded all else and was preferable to all else. There are tons and tons of references to historical figures, figures in literature, in common mythology and folklore, in religious mythology etc, that had dark skin. This is explicitly stated in the context of the literature/reference. And if you look into it enough, my guess is that dark skin was not always thought of as not being beautiful, or even tied into issues of caste or class. It just was, in the way that fair skin was. And if you were beautiful with dark skin, you would be described as such in the literature. But it wouldn’t be something that diminished your beauty, as it was described.

      I dunno if what I wrote makes much sense, but the idea of light skin being preferable, in all of its loaded terms as we see it today, is something that came about in the advent of British imperialism in India. The start of imperialism and colonialism directly ties into the Atlantic slave trade and the justifications for it. I’d mark that as the point at which modern conceptions of colourism & racism really began, and that’s the overwhelmingly predominant form of discrimination and prejudice we see in India today. That’s likely what Priyanka Chopra is referring to in her interview as well.

      tl;dr, this stuff is really complicated and it can really take you down a rabbit hole. But these are from my cursory observations. In fact, it’s really surprisingly when you delve into historical Indian literature (even before the Mughals & the British) and look at some original texts (instead of regurgitated television interpretations), because a lot of characters that are popular today were described as dark. And it’s actually amazing just how many different, poetic ways authors described skin colour in their works.

    • anon says:

      The whole Aryan thing is a myth, because the Brits and westerners could not accept that native Indians, whom they enslaved were capable of such an advanced civilization. Ergo, enter the white/european invaders. After all, coolies couldnt have created Harappa, could they:-)

      Also, I think colorism is new in India. All our Gods and many of our Goddesses are dark and we refer to their beautiful black/blue skin..

  11. Ramy says:

    Deepika padukone over her ❤

  12. Myrto says:

    I don’t understand all the outrage about lightening products. If Japanese, Korean and Indian women want to buy them, it’s really not our place to tell them they’re wrong. It’s their culture and it predates Western beauty standards. I’m pretty sure the “fairer the better” exists everywhere and has nothing to do with the West. The world doesn’t revolve around us Westerners.

    • Ghost says:

      Would there be an equal stigma about tanning products? Why and why not?
      And I’m not talking about lightening products in the West. I’m talking about whitening products in the East vs tanning products in the West?

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      IMO, light skin in South Korea is the least of their “beauty” worries. South Korean women are really into skin care, hence the famous 10 or 20 skin-care steps, but then many of them alter their facial bone structure, eye-lids, even calves, through surgery. And the industry is HUGE and attracts foreigners as well. I saw this news report about Chinese women going to SK to get plastic surgery,and they were issued documents that certified they underwent surgery in order to show them at immigration control when they returned home. Because they were unrecognizable. It’s extreme and mind-boggling.
      I am white but my ultimate girl crush is Lucy Liu. I think she is gorgeous.

    • Tata says:

      skin lightening is harmful!!!! You are BLEACHING your skin! it is NOT SAFE. People have died or suffered horrible complications from skin bleaching.

      Also you need some vitamin D exposure. you can develop rickets if you don’t get enough through sun exposure or diet.

  13. Ellie says:

    Forms of colorism exists among whites too. Look at the preference for blond hair and light eyes. I think it’s not just about wealth but about religion and the focus on light over dark taken to the extreme.

    • fiorucci says:

      Well I think we like blonde hair because it makes out skin look darker. And light eyes are ok but again they look more interesting the tanner you are. I have medium blue grey eyes and would choose a darker colour if I was getting contacts, light eyes with light skin is not exciting! I dye my hair blonde, which is the colour I had as a toddler and don’t need much make up. If I leave it dark ash blonde (mousy basically) it’s natural but I won’t look fresh with a no makeup pale face. (“Are you sick?”) Just trying to say, a lot of people choose blonde for aesthetics not culture / elitism / racism or what have you.

    • Kitten says:

      Eh. Sure, it’s true that blonde hair and blue eyes has always been considered the quintessential “American” look but that stuff goes in and out like fashion.

      When I was in my twenties everyone wanted blonde hair and a fit bod like Brittney. But then the Kardashians became a thing and raven hair and a curvy body became the new sought-after thing.

      These days I see a pretty good mixture of both. Some of that has to do with our country becoming more diverse but it also coincides with newer and more diverse standards of beauty.

  14. Pumpkin Pie says:

    Fair skin is a completely unattainable goal for many Indian women. The fact that fairness is a standard for beauty and success in a country where I guess is safe to say there are overwhelmingly far less fair skinned women than dark skinned women is vile. What is fair enough, pun here.
    I have seen this family once, I’d say they were Indian rather than Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi, they were so dark that I had to take a second look, their skin was almost as dark as a coal. So what what will that little girl – she was maybe 8yo – “worth”?

  15. G says:

    I’m not sure about India but in China, the idea of being fair equating to beauty stems from the rich and wealthy not having to work in the fields and farm or perform manual labor.
    The daughters of the wealthy never lifted a finger and maintained this fair porcelain skin and was shaded from the harsh sun. The laborers were dark and considered ugly. It’s also where foot-binding showed that you came from money as well. You’d have maids and ‘handmaidens’ literally support and carry you as you walked since you had to do nothing but sit and look ‘pretty’. Crazy how most of Asia still consider the fairest skin to be the most beautiful. My mother in law used to think I was nuts when I went to the beach to get a tan!

    • Millie says:

      Exactly. And it is the same in India and was the same in Europe. The reason royalty and aristocracy referred to themselves as blue-blood is because they were pale from not having to do any work in the sun that you could see the blueness of their veins popping through the skin.

    • fiorucci says:

      China and India are a bit different because china doesn’t have many people with naturally dark skin, if they avoid the sun/ use visors / sunblock they won’t be very dark, no harmful creams required. And it was never colonized (other than Macau and HK). India has a violent history with Britain and most of the people cannot be very pale without harmful creams (I don’t know how they are harmful just going from what people say here.) so for them its physically and perhaps psychologically damaging, whereas in China they’re mainly preventing skin cancer.

  16. Birdie says:

    Same in Korea, light skin is desired, all the idols get whitewashed. When they film something they put specific filters over it so they appear super pale.

  17. Ela says:

    I am of Indian descent but born and bred in South Africa and I am not going to pretend colourism doesn’t exist here but I learnt one thing. During apartheid, whether you were as light skinned as Kareena Kapoor or ‘dusky’ as Priyanka, it didn’t matter one ounce to the government, as long as you were classified as Indian, you were subjected to the same messed up rules. It’s sad that we forget how little your skin tone matters when people want to discriminate against your entire race.

  18. Cleo says:

    Just to contribute to the above comments, colorism in Bollywood is at the level where a bunch of white or half-Indian/half-white actresses keep getting hired to play Indian women. One of them (Amy Jackson) even used brown-face to become a “traditional South Indian woman.” There’s also a clear preference for using white female backup dancers when they can. It’s disgusting. And most of the actual Indian actresses they bother to hire are light-skinned as sh*t anyway, so….

    • me says:

      I know right? Sometimes they even dub their voices because the girls can’t speak Hindi ! It annoys me and is so unfair. The back up dancers is just insane. My mom yells at the TV all the time when you see a Sikh man in a turban singing with half naked white girls in the back doing “dirty moves”. It’s hilarious but at the same time sad. Men don’t have this issue for the most part…yet Garnier in India does sell whitening creams geared towards men.

    • Moneypenny says:

      That is very sad to hear. I spent a month in India 8 years ago and loved looking at the entertainment sections of the newspaper. Colorism was alive and well. I remember seeing actresses who had blue or grey eyes being very famous and considered beautiful, even though they were seriously, average looking at best. It made me sad, but this is even worse. The white people they’re using can’t even speak Hindi??? SMDH.

      • AsIf says:

        yeah, the former mentioned Amy Jackson didn’t speak a word and her lines had to be dubbed, but she learned pretty quickly. Katrina Kaif however reallyyyy took her time, plus there’re also a lot of speculations going on that she’s not half Indian and just made her Indian heritage up

    • Cobra says:

      This. Its disgusting. First they were hiring white women for backup dancers. Now its Heroine. And they have the convenient excuse of Anglo-Indian roots. Way to use the British rule for fair skinned women. You have to be very pretty and talented to get some sort of success in films if you have dark skin.

      Some movies do try to be politically correct when they discuss skin color. But mostly the dark skinned women are compared with the light skinned and put down. Meanwhile the Hero goes by the same world rule ‘tall,dark and handsome’.

      Tired of it. I’d like to think the younger generation are more aware. But who knows.

  19. Littlestar says:

    She falls into the acceptable brown for the US, where WOC have to fall into a shade that isnt too dark; WOC like Eva Longoria, Eva Mendez, J.LO, Thandie Newton, Halle Berry all fall into the acceptable skin color ranges. Rarely will we see WOC go darker, but it’s also facial features; all those women have to have less “ethnic” features. Here it’s racism with colorism piled on top.

  20. Arabella says:

    She has a little bit of an Eva Mendez vibe here

  21. Kitten says:

    OT but I really want to see Baahubali 2. Although, I should probably see Baahubali (the original) first.

    Music sounds AMAZING.

  22. Millie says:

    I am pretty sure Colorism in India dates back to the caste system before the colonialist came but the colonist sure knew how to work it their advantage. Same shit different day with colonialism.

  23. A says:

    I don’t want people to compare colourism within India, specifically as it exists today, with historical forms of colourism in different parts of the world. I’ve seen the comparisons to China in the comments, and I want to caution people who use that to demonstrate that colourism “predated” British imperialism. It’s never that cut and dry, and it’s never quite that simplistic. Not even in India, where different regions have different cultures and different histories, and most importantly, different cultural understandings of themselves and their histories.

    And no, using “casteism” as a catch-all for the different forms of discrimination, especially as they relate to skin colour, is still incredibly reductive, not to mention very very insulting to people who are not higher caste. These kinds of shitty perceptions are casteist in and of themselves, so can we please not use that stuff to describe what’s going on here?

    I’ve mentioned this in a previous comment, but my understanding of shadeism/colourism, as it exists in the form that it does today, is unique and can be traced directly back to British imperialism. Was skin colour a preoccupation during historical India? Probably. Was it of the same form, where fair skin was prized beyond all else, in the way that it is today, to the point where economic opportunities are routinely denied to people who are not fair? Likely not. Did we carry the same standards of beauty for the entirety of our history? No. Has any of this ever stopped anyone in India from using historical accounts to justify their own shitty shadeism and prejudice, to the point where popular perception of historical figures who were EXPLICITLY described as being dark skinned were sidelined and forgotten within the span of a couple generations? No.

    To try and explain away colourism within the subcontinent by simplistically reducing it to something that’s a “historical carry over” is amnesia at best. Not to mention, it’s a bad, narrow-minded reduction of the complexities of Indian history and society that we don’t need right now. Especially not in the political climate that exists in India today, which relies on and fosters historical amnesia within its population to justify its own shitty policies. And I’ll go ahead and throw in a warning against people using the whole “outside worker/inside worker” dynamic as a way to describe shadeism in China/South East Asia as well. Things are ever rarely that simple, and something tells me that this is likely just another oversimplification that’s been bandied around to justify anyone actually addressing the real root of colourism in any of those regions.

  24. Elsa says:

    So why do Indian women accept this? Why should they be loyal to a group of men who wants to alter their skin tone? No wonder mindy kaling only dates white men. I am sure she find it relaxing not having to worry about staying out of the sun because she will always be the darker one of the two.
    This seems to be about MOC inferiority complex that they project onto the women of their group. They can’t compete in the global financial arena so they control their women and force them to look like the “winners” (white mens) trophies instead.

  25. Kath says:

    I would give my left butt cheek to be ‘dusky’. But then, I am a splotchy pale Australian who has never had to deal with colourism or arseholes commenting on my skin tone.

    • Lex says:

      Splotchy pale Aussie here too and people have made comments on how pasty pale I am my whole life. But it isn’t anything like thr discrimination dark skinned or non white people get so it’s no big deal to me. But it does go to show that people just looooove to criticise – nothing is ever good enough for everyone. People are offended that I refuse to tan, as if how dare that be my opinion. Skin cancer and wrinkles, no thanks!

  26. Indijersey says:

    Unfortunately, the fair skin preference isn’t something Indians have left behind. That sentiment is still prevalent among Indians in the US, even among 2nd and 3rd generations. My daughter is darker skinned and I’ve heard a lot of horrible things said to her, especially from family.

  27. Indian says:

    Typical Indian . Whine about racism in the states . don’t give a shit about Indian minorities. Why did she choose to brownwash Mary Kom, a world champion who’s not brown and comes from a racial minority?

  28. Pandy says:

    Wow, yet ANOTHER actress who was bullied. It’s an epidemic I guess.

  29. Guest says:

    She is establishing herself in Hollywood and winning a lot of respect

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