What Makes You Beautiful?

I was at my brother’s place and they have Foxtel which also have lots of Indian channels. According to Indian channels only “Fair is beautiful”. In a half hour of watching the TV, I saw more than a dozen fairness cream ads not only for the face but for the body as well and it is not limited to woman alone. They have special fair and handsome cream for men as well.

I do remember watching some of these ads while in Nepal and it seems like they don’t consider anyone with brown or black skin beautiful.

According to an article by Shantanu Guha Ray, sales are outstripping both Coca Cola and tea. Products with names like ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘White Perfect’ are selling by the millions, and men are increasingly getting involved. Only fair is beautiful in India. In a society obsessed with ‘white skin’, fairness is a benchmark for beauty, particularly in the case of women.

Look at some of the ads below and you will understand what I mean.

And it’s not just India, in Nepal as well as other Asian country have similar concept and fair skin is consider beautiful.

Most Nepali people consider lighter brown skin more attractive. If you’re a young Nepali girl running around outside you usually have an aunt, grandmother or an older family friend yelling at you to get inside “before you get too dark.” And if you do tan somebody is going to make a comment about it and note: it’s never positive.

Some ads from around Asia for whitening cream and lotions.

While talking about skin, one of my Chinese friends told me that the Chinese are obsessed with white skin as well. She said that skin colour is directly connected to class in China.

If your skin is dark it is like you work in the fields and working in the fields means you are poor. So a woman should always have fair skin otherwise people will think you’re a peasant

I am brown skinned and I have somewhat felt uncomfortable about my skin while I used to live in Nepal; especially when someone commented on it or compared me with my fairer cousins.

But it all changed when I came to Australia. Here everyone loves my brown skin. I get so many compliments on my brown skin that I am happy to be brown. It seems ironic given that many fair-skinned Americans and Europeans use tanning salons and fake tan cream to darken their skin; it’s a whole different world.

When I went to Nepal for my wedding, I received many suggestions from relatives to bleach the skin to look beautiful as a bride but I refused. I am comfortable in my skin and I don’t want to use chemicals on my skin.

I am happy with who I am and beauty is not just what you can see. I believe that you are truly beautiful if you are beautiful inside as well as outside.

There are many people like Waris Dirie, Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry, Gisele Bundchen who don’t have fair skin but are very beautiful.

So for the people from Nepal, India and China and other Asian countries where fair is beautiful, are the people I just mentioned considered not beautiful?

So why are people so concerned about their skin colour? Have your say.

Take care everyone and have a great weekend,

M from nepaliaustralia


You may also like :

*Varsha Thapa: First international fashion model from Nepal *Prabal Gurung : A Fashion designer from Nepal *Aastha Pokharel representing Nepal on Asia’s Next Top Model

35 responses to “What Makes You Beautiful?

  1. I am about as white as you can get; With freckly skin and reddish hair to add, but my beautiful daughter, whose dad is from the Caribbean, has black hair and goldenbrown skin. Whatever the color of your skin; it’s only skindeep. What matters goes far beyond the surface. To paraphrase from the wonderful book The little Prince, by Antoine St Exupery: “Here is my secret. It is very simple: one sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.”

  2. yes it’s really disappointing..its non of our fault to born brown but ppl treat as if we r trash/..we r nt worthy…i just cant stand someone looking down on me jst becoz m not white…and if we discuss dis thing in society,even our parents just suggest us to “neglect these word,”.but its difficult to really neglect these words..it hurts alot..people should consider every one beautiful be it white,brown or black
    Here in nepal white gal is considered beautiful..no matter how gud a person is they r just treated on the basis of colour..
    Everyone is born with their own identity and every gal is beautiful..Actually m happie with my colour but people passing rude comments on me makes me helpless…wen it comes to my colour my confidence level goes down to zero n its a serious problem..i am helpless and cant understand how to reply to these rudeness.n i start thinking something may be lacking on me…
    it hurts m dying and there was a tym when i started hating myself..i was afraid to face the comments of ppl regarding my colour so i prefered staying in home most of tym…
    Situation is a little gud now..
    they say beauty comes in every shape size and colour..
    so m waiting for that moment when ppl consider brown n black gals beautiful here in nepal..hope one day mentality of ppl will change

  3. It’s the exact same thing amongst the Indians and blacks in South Africa. I knew people here were superficial but that first advert was absolutely disgusting. I didn’t even think that actress was dark-skinned the first time around. What sort of message is that sending to young people in India? Shocking.

  4. Skin color does not dictate beauty. At least not for me. I think those countries should really get the notion that beauty is more than just the various hues of skin. True beauty is not skin deep. Anyways I thought I’d stop by! Hope you’re doing well 🙂

  5. Don’t forget the Philippines, my own, in the list. *sigh

  6. I’m half Mexican and my other half’s Indian family comments on how light I am. One of his neices is on the darker side and her mom saw a picture of us the other day and said, “look, black & white!” I just cringed and thought how hurtful that must be for her. I wish people would accept that everyone is beautiful, no matter what color.

  7. its just sad how our society feels about dark skin..I am brown and proud ❤

  8. Overall personality of a person makes him or her beautiful. It’s completely lies in the eyes of beholder and the way they respond to others. I think so. 🙂

  9. I want to blame our culture for creating hype about skin color and complexion. I mean, it’s been started from Veda and our religious books where no beauty is described without fair ness!! Color of lord kaali is only black and that too because of anger and it’s described that being white and fair is epitome of elegance. Remember some parts of swasthani Katha !!! I mean, now it’s our turn to change the mind set up and hope after 2 and/or more generations it’s hype will eradicate from our south Asian society as well. Also, education and social class system creates impact in setting up these standards. This is the best post I’ve read so far . Kudos.

    • Thank you gal. We are brain washed from the early age that fair is beautiful and we should try to be as fair as possible and most kids believe that while growing up. Such a bad way to educate the kids. Definitely need to change the mindset..

  10. The man on the third ad is a Filipino actor, model and business man named Jericho Rosales :)…This is a great post di, I want a fair skin coz mine is pale from my Chinese and Spanish ancestors 😦 Every summer i tan my skin to no avail coz they just turn red>pink and a little brown or pale again.

    • I was surprised that man are so into fairness cream and other similar product. That is exactly some of my while friends here told me. Their skin doesn’t go tan but goes red in sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen lotion sis 🙂

  11. Thanks for bringing this up. I am one of those person who is against whitening and fairness products. I am brown skinned as well and I am proud of it. I have made it a point to never buy any fairness related products. But here is Thailand being able to do that is not so easy. Only last week, I ran out of my day cream but to my dismay I couldn’t find any day cream without the whitening or fairness label in it! It was a struggle, my only choice was to buy expensive products like Clinique and Clarins which I’m not a big fan of anyway!! All I wanted was a universal product like Nutrogena and they didn’t have a Nutrogena day cream without the the fairness whitening bullshit….it really is frustrating!!

    • I actually saw so many whitening product while I was in Thailand and Vietnam that I was surprised. Most of the people in these countries are not even dark but light brown or fair so I didn’t see the need for all that product. Kudos to you for sticking to your principle. Take care gal..

  12. It’s a never ending story here in India. Indian couples now even consider IVF with a Caucasian so their child will have light skin and therefore be more ‘marriageable’.
    It gets to the point of when I try and find a cream, I cant find one without it saying “fairness cream”, I am half chinese/Australian and I am considered light skinned here..such a weird feeling when in Australia I am more olive toned.

    • I am not sure why some people are so obsessed with fair skin. IVF with a Caucasian is too extreme. Seriously, some of the ads in the Indian TV are just ridiculous like the one where the guy reject the gal because she is dark skinned while he himself is so dark.

  13. I’m so tired of these judgements. Today I saw a story on thigh gap as a new consideration for young women. Skin colour, thigh gap, ugh. We are diverse. We are all worthy. Humans really need to stop being so judgemental of one another, so interested in making everyone the same. Diversity is wonderful.

  14. I am wondering if the issue of “fair” skin pertains to finding a mate? I have fair skinned friends as well as dark skinned friends. The issue of skin color never comes up. We are who we are. That’s what makes us all unique. The same goes for whatever nationality we are. We can’t help where we come from and what color of skin we are born with. So why change that? If someone looks “down” upon me for my skin color or where my ancestors come from, then I don’t need to have those people in my life. I can walk away from any person that doesn’t like me for those reasons. It’s sad to me that there are people in this world to put those types of restrictions on others. What someone might think is ugly, there are others that think is beautiful. I say surround yourself with people that think every thing is beautiful no matter white, brown, purple, green! It’s what makes us unique. And the world should embrace that!. ❁ ✾

    • You are so right. But in countries like India and Nepal, where arrange marriage is still practice till today, they always look for fair bride no matter how dark the grooms are. I have noticed that with lots of my friends pics as well. They make the dark skin women less valuable when matching for marriage. This is so ridiculous and it still happens in 21st century.

  15. did you see this article on The Guardian (UK)? it kind of captures the complexity of the issue of preferring whitish skin.

  16. interesting post. I think it helps to see the cultural juxtaposition in order to question prejudicial concepts of what’s beautiful. I live in the US and I have very fair skin. This can be looked down upon by Americans because I do not have a tan. I do not really tan well, only burn so i don’t want to sit out in the sun and harm my body. One Mexican American guy that I dated told me that I would be really beautiful if only I got a tan. Then an Indian guy that I dated told me that I was more beautiful than the Indian women that he knows because of my fair skin. Crazy!

    • That is exactly my point Pua Nani. Isn’t that annoying that people are judging by your skin not your personality. Hope this is go away so people can see real stuffs, not skin colour of your skin.

  17. There’s a school of thought that believes “beauty is only skin deep” and hence so much of fuss in skin color.
    There’s a school of thought that believes in beauty within and I guess they don’t offer much attention to such ads
    And there’s Yatin who promotes
    Beauty lies in the eyes of beer-holder!!

  18. I remember being told to avoid a tan, and relatives worrying over the fact that I got tanned during an Australian summer! Sigh…

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