1 Mar 2007


I wrote this article around two years ago because I was really angry with those fair and lovely ads and one of my classmates who said, "shut up, i'm an aryan, you're a dravadian. we chased you to south india. i'm far more superior to you because i'm white and you're dark."

when I read my article today, I thought it was really sweet. I liked my strong opinion of things then, which shows that I'm growing up to have a mind of my own. This usually gets me into fights with my dad who thinks I don't listen to or respect of other people's opinions. well, I do listen to, and respect opinions from others, but that doesn't mean I have to agree to what the majority think or what he thinks [ his idea of respecting opinions is agreeing with them]. like I said I have a mind of my own........

My name is Rheaa Rao. I’m an eleven year old girl studying at Dhirubhai Ambani International School. The article you are reading now is not about me. It is about my biggest problem, people differentiating between skin colours. Always favoring the white and pushing the dark skinned to a corner and making them feel humiliated.

All ads about beauty creams have the same irritating, unfair saga. A dark skinned lady applies for the airhostess post, they reject her because she is dark skinned, a few days later she puts a cream and becomes fair, she goes for her job interview and men jump out of their pants of awe and immediately give her a job. Are these ads trying to say that fair is lovely and dark is ugly, aren’t dark people beautiful or handsome, aren’t the fair skinned ugly?

Why are dark-skinned always meant to be felt small, and of a low caste? And why are the white meant to feel big, handsome and superior? Is it because the British who took over us were fair skinned? Is it because the white were the Aryans who overthrew the Dasus or dark skinned people and pushed them to South India? And what are they called now? South Indians. People mimic the way South Indians talk, but I think they speak good English; they only have an accent that’s Indian and that’s perfectly fine. But what about the Americans? They speak terrible English and mispronounce every word because of their scrawny, airy accent. But they aren’t mocked; they are followed just because they are ‘white’.

White means heaven, white is pure, clean, superior and black is shown as dirt, scum, filth, dust, devil. That isn’t fair.
In addition I don’t think that the ads should put wrong things in people’s heads. They show a dark skinned girl as a poor girl, with a sweaty face, and icky oily skin, dirty teeth and grime, they make the audience feel revolted and swear that they will never give a job opportunity to any dark- skinned person. Then comes the magic cream, she undergoes the change; they show her coming as a fair skinned person, with lovely soft pink and white skin and pearly teeth and lovely clothes and dainty heels and a beautiful smile. It makes everyone want to abandon their teddy bear and cuddle her instead. I don’t think creams should be made to make a dark skinned person a white-showy one; they should instead be made to improve the complexion.

We are Indians, come on, we are dark skinned, that’s our original skin colour, we will earn nothing following the West and behaving like them. Development and progress is good, but on the account of totally trying to cut yourself from your roots; forcibly putting on an accent and desperately trying those useless creams to turn 'FAIR AND LOVELY'.

Come on, we have our own riches, our country, our ways of dressing, behaving, talking, reacting, we have our special Indian accent, our own slang, our own unique personality and most of all, our skin colour. I’m dark skinned, but I don’t care, I’m feel beautiful and intelligent and I’m proud to say I’m a South Indian.


Adding to this, look at all the sucessful actors and actresses, Kajol, Bipasha, Rani Mukerjee, Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi, Johnny Liver, to name a few, who are dark skinned, but very good at their jobs [ and sucessful too]

We're learning 'Roll of Thunder, Hear my cry', by Mildred D. Taylor which talks about a coloured child, Cassie's trials and tribulations in a white dominated society. its a really sad book, with lots of gory scenes and sad truths, taught to tell us spoilt brats how safe and privileged we are in our society compared to the Logans [Cassie and her family].
A must read for all you folks who liked this article.


David said...

Well said Rheaa, good for you. Yes, we unfortunately have this hangup over fairness. Hopefully one day we will mature and grow past this nonsense. I too hate the Fair and Lovely ads - they are such an insult to our intelligence. In any case, I am pretty sure that there is no cream or potion that can change skin colour. Some creams have a bleaching effect that harms the skin in the long run, but cannot affect the melanin that gives the colour.

Rheaa said...

i'm glad you liked the article. unfortunately, some people judge others on the basis of their skin colour. i consider this totally impractical and immature. its shocking to see that even some educated people have this mentality.

-tolerable, tolkien-like teen

Anonymous said...


Aish said...

All Americans have an accent- it is an American accent, that's all. Like an Indian accent; Indians also mispronounce words one in a while, Americans also have a right to do so. It is not the Americans fault that they are followed, it is the Indians fault that they folllow them. I have many American friends who are completely against racism- therefore it is unfair to insult Americans and the way they speak.
However, putting this aside, I agree with the basic nature of you article, but don't understand why people actually promote these ads and put these skin creams in the limelight. Such creams shouldn't be sold, I feel sometimes, because it puts down dark-skinned people. People's skin colors shouldn't be a put-down. Skin color is actually an indication of where you come from- darker skinned people usually come from warmer areas. People with fairer skin are less likely to be able to survive in these areas. I have a lot more ideas, but I think I'll put them in a paper of my own. Thanks for the inspiration!

Rheaa said...

i don't mean to insult americans. indians have their own accent and so do americans. i want indian accents to be accepted too and not mocked. everyone is in awe of the 'american accent' and everyone wants to copy it, why can't everyone respect our accent too.
that's what i meant. i certainly didn't mean to offend anyone.

-tolerable,tolkien-like teen

Aish said...

Well... when you put it that way it does make sense...
Okay. I know you didn't mean to offend anyone, and my friends will be happy. Some people don't agree with me and Americans, though let's not get into that. All I think is that it isn't fair to bring in foreigners into the picture, when the problem's roots itself are in India. If Indians themselves are not sure whether they are worth it or not, well, that's where the problem starts. Indians have to learn to be more self confident.
By the way, were you surprised with the hits you got? I certainly was. You're famous! Well, not exactly. But close!

ServesYouRight said...


So much clarity in your words!

(IMHO) If its not skin color, its something else. In general, India probably represents the most underdeveloped beauty product market. In Bombay, I walked into stores filled with 'Fair and Lovely' type creams. Here, I walk into stores with fake tanning creams that promise I will glow like the summer. Ha ha.

Coco Chanel is known to have said, "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty.
But at fifty you get the face you deserve." Hmmm...

just me... who else?? ok, come on, guess. who else is mad enough to type their name like this? aish! said...

P.S. we have our own *amazing* temples 2!!!

Aish said...

P.S. I think Indians are wonderful.

aish said...

I LUV RHEAA'S BLOG- u shud have bumper stickers that say that. I'm sure they'd sell like hotcakes.

Aish said...

More stories?? :(

Brilliance_Personified said...

1) Im a Tamilian. I talk perfectly good English, and if I have an accent- too bad.
2) Im not fair. Nobody cares.
3) This proves we ARENT crazy over fairness. Fair and lovely was LONG ago. and now they come up with sun tan lotion and other wierdo stuff.

sorry, rheaa. dont agree with this post. devinas fair, plenty of boys like her. aalia isnt exactly, but the same guys love her! vrinda- dark. all the guys love her.
accents growwhen youre in a certain place. im sure if i shifted to london or new york or even Transylvania, I'd be talking like them, for the simple reason that it grows on you. I spent 2 days with two american boys, and at the end, i had a bit of an accent! hearing people makes u talk like them.

Skin color differs even in India. And there are plenty of Afro-Americans who are treated fine.

Nobody Ive met, classifies me on basis of my skin, except my grandmom.
Skin creams TEMPORARILY enhance the skin, and they make you continue buyin it, otyherwise, WHATS THE POINT???????

Sorry rheaa. One post I dont agree in. Its written well n all, but the idea.. naaaah. Its my opinion.

Rheaa said...

i respect your opinion. you are completely justified from your point of view.
but, fairness creams show dark girls as ugly, underqualified people and white girls as beautiful swans. they are trying to reinforce the old concept in India as white over black to get their product selling. children of our age [maybe not in our school] are guillable to such things and will soak in this concept and practise it when they grow up.

If you remember I had also written that many sucessful people are dark and they're doing well in their fields and are respected. I'm only upset about the fairness creams showing the dark skinned in bad light, which is racial discrimination too.

Nithya said...

that is true, but bad lighting is another fact to consider. ;)
but anway, i do agree with you in a way, cuz there was one ad, where she was an apiring actress, and no one cared until she used *surprise* fair and lovely, and rakes roshan looked at her and went nuts.

which is stupid.