You have the power


by Sunny
23rd July, 2007 at 3:00 am    

Remember this post made in April? Remember we asked you to register your disgust with that piece of advertising? Guess what Zahed saw last week…


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  1. Family Christian Bookstore

    Family Christian Bookstore…

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…




  1. funkg — on 23rd July, 2007 at 9:56 am  

    i saw this on on a bus, i was quite shocked by it so im glad others clocked it too.

  2. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 23rd July, 2007 at 9:56 am  

    Wow. The world is a better place.

    TFI

  3. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:07 am  

    Evil beyond words and currently doing the rounds in Haringey, North London. When will we as black people going to learn that this kind of self loathing isn’t right?

  4. Kesara — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:21 am  

    I remember the days when us Third Worldies had to rely on Tippex for this kind of transformation…

    Oh Wacko Jacko….where are you now…

    :(

  5. Leon — on 23rd July, 2007 at 10:38 am  

    I’ve mixed feelings about this, on one hand I think yay small steps and all that but another part of me thinks whats the big deal, they’ve only changed the wording, the cultural stigma attached to darker skin still exists, they’re still in business (and I assume) and doing well…

  6. El Cid — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    The Dude
    That’ll be when white people stop loathing their pale skins and seek out the rays, when afro caribbean women start to love their afros, and when blacks people’s idea of beauty stops being almost exclusively one of light brown loveliness.

    There is a serious point to all this, but there is also a frivolous one.

    P.S.
    When you say Haringey, I assume you mean the London Borough of Haringey, which includes Tottenham, Highgate, Hornsey, Finsbury Park, and Wood Green and NOT Harringay, which is slap bang in the middle and my birthplace.
    We Harringayans are very touchy about the spelling.

  7. Leon — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    Yeah I know I once made that mistake in an email to someone from that borough, never again…!

  8. David T — on 23rd July, 2007 at 6:11 pm  

    Oh yeah – I saw this on a bus last week.

    Really really weird. Do you know anybody who actually uses this stuff? It can’t be people who have grown up in this country, surely?

  9. Soso — on 23rd July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    May I just point something out that may be percieved as racist, but which may serve to put this in perspective.

    Would Sunny have objections to an ad campaign featuring suntanning lotions that promise a “deeper, darker” tan?

    Many such ad campaigns exist.

    White women have a propensity to curl their hair and to darken their skins. That’s why they frequent both beauty and tanning salons. Is this obsession with “italianite” tresses and a mediterranean complexion a hold-over from the Roman occupation? Is it a lingering attempt, unconscious and subliminal, to bag that proverbial Roman legionaire….the potent symbol of the Empire’s power-dominance?

    Who knows.

    Who cares.

    My question is this; if white women can darken’n curl at will, then why shouldn’t…say…Afro-British women have the right to straighten their hair and lighten their skins without all the nasty aspersions about imitating the beauty ideal as defined by the dominant white power structures?

    Why do we only question the motives of darker-skinned women, and never those of whites gals, when it comes to altering epidermal tone?

    Soft racism, that’s why.

    Some white people so hate their complexions, they’re willing to undergo the risk of early ageing, melanoma and even death in order to look darker.

    And some white women will curl their hair with corrosive chemicals until they’re damn near bald.

    Yet, no one ever says anything about it.

  10. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 9:50 pm  

    If white women want to toast themselves with skin cancer under the tropical rays of a sunbed, that’s their business. Screw the frivolous! I prefer my desi babes, desi and my black girls, black. As for white girls….I prefer them ALIVE and white NOT DEAD and dusky.

  11. justforfun — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    I’ve wondered if the “tall, dark, and handsome” ideal for men in Western countries is actually a result of Roman times

    I think this comes from folk lore based on the small bands of Iranic/steppe tribes that came through Europe as the Roman empire collapsed – Alans, Vandals, Franks Samatians etc – All were tall dark horsemen and feudal in their outlook, so imposing feudalism onto Europe, where the tribe belonged to the leader and the legitamacy of the tribe flowed from him. So to be ‘hitched’ to the leader was every girls romance.

    The Romans were not that tall compared to the Gauls and Germanic tribes of the times. Hollywood has made them taller.

    Justforfun

  12. Sunny — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:53 am  

    Would Sunny have objections to an ad campaign featuring suntanning lotions that promise a “deeper, darker” tan?

    Lord save me from stupid questions like this.

    And some white women will curl their hair with corrosive chemicals until they’re damn near bald.

    Yet, no one ever says anything about it.

    No one’s stopping you from saying something about it. Start your own campaign. Why are you wasting my time with idiotic questions?

  13. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th July, 2007 at 2:36 am  

    El Cid,

    “…afro caribbean women start to love their afros, and when blacks people’s idea of beauty stops being almost exclusively one of light brown loveliness.”

    Brap! Brap!

  14. ChrisC — on 24th July, 2007 at 8:09 am  

    I was about to say, the same people will then sell you their fake tanning product…

  15. sabinaahmed — on 24th July, 2007 at 10:43 am  

    The big problem with these creams was that they contained high levels of mercury, which is absorbed through the skin into the blood stream and is harmfull. But I think now that these creams are being sold openly in Europe, they must have modified their contents, to comply with the drug safety act.
    It has also become a contentious issue in India where its use has been widespread before.Recently the film actor Shahrukh Khan was widely condemned in the Indian press for promoting these creams in an advertisment.
    These creams also have ingredients which can even out the complexion, like age spots etc; and pigmentation marks on face and hands. Hence the new popularity. But famous japaneese beauty manufactures like Kenzo,and and others top beauty manufactors Estee Lauder, and SK11 also have creames with the simillar properties, which have been on the market for ages.But are not sold as just “whitening creams”.

  16. Preet — on 24th July, 2007 at 11:36 am  

    NEWSFLASH! The cosmetics industry relies upon people’s insecurities! The shock of it! It makes business sense for estee lauder , Revlon et al to flog their whitening creams on the subcontinent and their tanning lotions in Northern Europe; that’s not to say that it’s right to sell these products.

    What really irks me is a Bobbi Brown campaign at the moment where they have taken a white model and tanned her to the point of being so brown she could easily be Asian/ mixed race? What is the point?! Hire a brown girl!

    As an aside, I feel L’oreal (in spite of their dubious hiring policies en france) have perfected the beige of the beauty industry by hiring Beyonce/ Ashwaryia and tanning their white girls (Scarlett/ Mila) to fall in line with their matching colour scheme. Indistinguishable!

    I think that’s enough exclamation marks from me…

  17. Ravi Naik — on 24th July, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    “Would Sunny have objections to an ad campaign featuring suntanning lotions that promise a “deeper, darker” tan?

    Lord save me from stupid questions like this.”

    Why is it so stupid to compare both? Why should white women becoming darker not a big deal, but dark women wanting to become lighter, OMG a racist thing? To be honest, this bothers me a little bit more than Indians and anyone else going to extreme lengths to fit a particular standard of beauty. Indians do have an obsession with skin colour, but to bring up all West struggles, past and present, with race and colour, is in my view a big mistake.

  18. Katherine — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    The difference, Ravi, is the reason why women would want to do this. Some white women who go for tans aren’t doing it to look asian or black, but so it looks as if they can afford expensive overseas holidays.

    I assume, from Sunny’s highlighting of this, and other people’s outrage, that the desire of some Asian women to look lighter is because of an historic, colonial assumption that light/white skins are “better”?

    The former is not about race, the latter is. Hence they are different and not terribly comparable.

  19. The Informer — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    I think perhaps Ravi Nanak and others are correct.

    Would not some Asian women wish to be ‘lighter’ rather than ‘white.’ This to mimic the paler skin of the elite (who were there long before the Europeans turned up), those not compelled to work outdoors in the sun and sweltering heat. Just as many women in the UK wish to be ‘tanned’ to effect an appearance of wealth and holidaying in the South of France.

    As always, people have more in common than sets them apart.

  20. Katy — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

    Some white women who go for tans aren’t doing it to look asian or black, but so it looks as if they can afford expensive overseas holidays.

    I don’t even think it’s that. Speaking as someone who is very, very fair-skinned (red hair, blue eyes, freckles), if you have the slightest blemish on white skin it really really shows. If you are tanned or Asian or black, on the other hand, your skin looks much smoother and less flawed because things like thread veins and birthmarks and moles are just less visible.

  21. Soso — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

    The difference, Ravi, is the reason why women would want to do this. Some white women who go for tans aren’t doing it to look asian or black, but so it looks as if they can afford expensive overseas holidays.

    Catherine, why do we always describe a deep tan as “healthy”, and why is being pale associated with being sickly?

    White people who get tanned aren’t attempting to look African or south Asian, they’re simply tying to look darker becasue a darker complexion is considered more aesthetic.

    Similarly, South Asians and Afro-Brits who lighten their skin aren’t trying to look “white”, just lighter-skinned becasue being lighter-skinned is considered more aesthetic.

    I think it’s most unfair to saddle the South Asians and Afro-Brits using these products with accustations of harbouring neo-colonialist sentiments

    Sunny is attempting to take the simple issue of aesthetics/cosmetics and turn it into something with….um….’dark’ political undertones.

    South Asians and Afro-Brits have as much right as anyone else, provided these products are safe, to make simple adjustments to their appearance without being accused of kowtowing to “neo-colonialist” standards of white beauty.

    Sunny’s virulent opposition to these creams is starting to give EVERYONE a complexe about the way they look!

  22. Jai — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    Reasons for the fair-skinned bias in Asian society, particularly in relation to women:

    - Historically linked to higher class, as explained in post #21. This was also common in many other parts of the world.

    - To some extent it’s probably because a lighter woman visibly stands out in a population of darker people.

    - Apparently lighter skin in non-white women is linked to youth & higher levels of female hormones/fertility (do a search on Razib’s posts on Sepia Mutiny for more details). There may indeed be some truth in this; I personally know Asian women who became very noticeably lighter during pregnancy, along with others who are becoming darker as they progress through their middle-age.

    - No doubt it also has something to do with certain historical Asian imperial rulers being lighter, at least in the case of the Mughals, whose rule not only brought an influx of Middle-Eastern people into the subcontinent, but also the associated ideas of beauty.

    - Personally I don’t think these attitudes have much to do with British colonialism, because a) the number of people concerned were much smaller, b) their influence on Indian culture and ideas was relatively less pronounced, and c) the average Indian didn’t have much contact with expatriate British women, so it’s unlikely he/she would have used this as a frame of reference and comparison for female beauty.

    Disclaimer: The information above is purely for clarification, and should not be interpreted as a preference either for or against light skin on the part of the author, who has learned from bitter experience on Sepia Mutiny that it’s a very good idea to keep one’s mouth shut when this subject rears its head. Some Asians can get very weird and paranoid about this whole topic, particularly over in the US.

  23. Jai — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

    Similarly, South Asians and Afro-Brits who lighten their skin aren’t trying to look “white”, just lighter-skinned becasue being lighter-skinned is considered more aesthetic.

    I can’t speak for black Brits but the statement above is actually correct for South Asians, rightly or wrongly. It doesn’t have much to do with either colonialism or white people, although it may well be partly due to the historical/cultural/social legacy of Islamic rule in the subcontinent as I mentioned in my previous post.

  24. Rumbold — on 24th July, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    Jai:

    “No doubt it also has something to do with certain historical Asian imperial rulers being lighter, at least in the case of the Mughals, whose rule not only brought an influx of Middle-Eastern people into the subcontinent, but also the associated ideas of beauty.”

    Yes. However, the Mughals came from Central Asia, and their influence was much more Persian than Middle Eastern/Arab. Persian was the language spoken and written at court, early Mughal art copied Persian styles, and the Mughals (pre- Shah Jahan; i.e. pre-1625) looked to Safavid Iran, rather than the Turko-Arab Ottomans. A minor point in this context, as light skin was prized by both cultures. I think that you are right about the British impact (or lack of it) in India.

  25. Rumbold — on 24th July, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    Pre-1627 I meant. Sorry.

  26. Jai — on 24th July, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    Rumbold,

    I regard Persia as a part of the Middle-East, hence my previous comments (and I’m aware of Persia’s heavy cultural influence on Mughal India, especially its aristocrats). But your post is accurate nevertheless.

  27. Rumbold — on 24th July, 2007 at 4:10 pm  

    In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Shia Persia and the Sunni Middle-East (Ottoman-run) are deadly enemies, continously fighting one another. They have some things in common, but consider each of to be heretical states. Therefore, at that time, and even now, Persia should not be considered part of the Middle-East.

  28. Katherine — on 24th July, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Catherine, why do we always describe a deep tan as “healthy”, and why is being pale associated with being sickly?

    Soso, who is this “we” of which you speak? You certainly won’t find me doing so. Your statement is irrelevant to what I was trying to say.

    Discussion about why some white women wish to turn their faces darker are not necessarily relevant to why some Asian women to turn their faces lighter.

  29. Katherine — on 24th July, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    PS It is Katherine with a K not a C, Soso, as you can see by the simple expedient of reading my name and replicating it.

  30. Jagdeep — on 24th July, 2007 at 8:57 pm  

    “…afro caribbean women start to love their afros, and when blacks people’s idea of beauty stops being almost exclusively one of light brown loveliness.” Brap! Brap!

    Bikhair, I hope you do not hide your Afro underneath a hijab — don’t suppress your African beauty with Arabic diversions don’t oppress your hair Nubian Queen!

  31. The Dude — on 24th July, 2007 at 11:17 pm  

    Jagdeep

    ……and amen to that!

  32. Sunny — on 24th July, 2007 at 11:32 pm  

    Thanks Katherine, you’ve made my points for me.

  33. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

    “Discussion about why some white women wish to turn their faces darker are not necessarily relevant to why some Asian women to turn their faces lighter.”

    Why shouldn’t it? It follows the same desire to fit a particular standard of beauty, and very few are stupid enough to think they would change their race or belong to the white race by applying some cream. The chinese and japanese, who are also light skinned, do not like the sun as well. And they were not subject to white colonialism as we were.

  34. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    “Apparently lighter skin in non-white women is linked to youth & higher levels of female hormones/fertility…I personally know Asian women who became very noticeably lighter during pregnancy, along with others who are becoming darker as they progress through their middle-age”

    I don’t buy this theory. You would expect women to become lighther during their fertility period every month, not while they are pregnant. The fact that they are lighter during pregnancy is easily explained though: they would stay at home, hence less exposure to the sun, and thus less tanned.

    Going back to the subject of this thread, what I see is a case of projection: we feel so insecure about our brown skin (possibly because of our colonial masters, and because we are visible minorities in the West) that we feel outraged that anyone would use a cream to lighthen their skin.

    I rather see the big picture: people of all ethnic backgrounds going to extremes to change their appearence, and ruining and damaging their bodies in the process. Honestly, there is nothing like the real thing, no matter how far off it is from the so called standard of beauty.

  35. sonia — on 25th July, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    has anyone else noticed how we all end up saying the same things all over again on all these threads, i’m starting to have deja vu here…

  36. Soso — on 25th July, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    I assume, from Sunny’s highlighting of this, and other people’s outrage, that the desire of some Asian women to look lighter is because of an historic, colonial assumption that light/white skins are “better”?

    The former is not about race, the latter is. Hence they are different and not terribly comparable.

    Yep, so white women have the option of changing their skin-tone whereas non-white women who do likewise are behaving all “uncle Tom” and colonised.

    The double standard is breathtaking and very patronising…..as though Non-White women are simply too daft to *really* know what they’re doing.

    Katherine, though, appears to always know exactly what she’s doing, and is now ready to move in, like some latter-day Joan of Arc, and “save” darker-skinned third-world women from their uncontrollable neo-colonialist reflexes; the simple purchase of an anodyne skin cream.

    We’re back into the territory of “negro week” on the Corny Collins Show, here.

    Both choices are mere questions of aesthetics. How would Sunny *know* what *really* motivates, say, South Asian women to buy these products? I mean, do I, as a white male, really know what motivates caucasian women to have their lips thickened? For all I know, questions surrounding the current fondness for the “fish-mouth” look should be addressed to anglers.

    Tweaking your phenotype, for both Whites and Non-Whites, is nothing more than the latest trend, and it’s a trend that has emerged, not because of a pernicious wave of neo-colonialist sentiment, but merely because of progress in the medico/pharmacological field.

    Consequently, we can expect to see more of this.

  37. Sunny — on 25th July, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

    How would Sunny *know* what *really* motivates, say, South Asian women to buy these products?

    Because I’ve seen tons and tons of examples in Asian families where fairer skin is seen as “better” and if girls get darker skin they’re told no one will want to marry them.

    Now, do you have any examples to back up your assertions?

  38. Soso — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    Because I’ve seen tons and tons of examples in Asian families where fairer skin is seen as “better” and if girls get darker skin they’re told no one will want to marry them.

    Well, if that’s the case…and I’ll trust your word here…. then it is the attitudes prevalent in some South Asian families that need to be *banned*, and not the skin cream.

    I’ll concede that racism may have a role to play here, having sometimes seen personnal ads placed by South Asian males seeking “lighter-skinned” women.

    That said, I just don’t understand why a lighter complexion is considered more attractive.

  39. Katherine — on 25th July, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    Katherine, though, appears to always know exactly what she’s doing, and is now ready to move in, like some latter-day Joan of Arc, and “save” darker-skinned third-world women from their uncontrollable neo-colonialist reflexes; the simple purchase of an anodyne skin cream.

    Honestly, what the hell are you taking about? You seem to be delberately misrepresenting what I have said. My comment was disagreeing with yours that the two cases are comparable. That was all. Where on earth did you get the idea that I want to “save” anyone from anything?

    Read what I say, not what you think I said.

  40. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    Apparently lighter skin in non-white women is linked to youth & higher levels of female hormones/fertility…..I personally know Asian women who became very noticeably lighter during pregnancy, along with others who are becoming darker as they progress through their middle-age”…..I don’t buy this theory.

    I was referring to oestrogen levels, which increase during pregnancy; higher oestrogen levels are also linked to greater fertility, hence my previous comment, especially in view of some evidence which apparently correlates the impact of this hormone on a woman’s basic skin tone.

    Razib’s own extensive blog probably discusses the topic somewhere so I suggest interested parties plough through the archives here: http://www.scienceblogs.com/gnxp/ .

    However, for less patient people, here is a link to one of Razib’s posts on SM where he mentions the topic. It overlaps with some of the comments made by several individuals on PP, including myself:

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/001324.html#comment7447

    …..And an extract from his post:

    “* there is a fair amount of evidence that lighter than average coloration is a marker for fertility in females.

    * to elaborate, elevated basal levels of testosterone relative to estrogen tend to correlate with melanin production. men get darker at puberty, women often get lighter. as women age, and especially at menopause, their estrogen level drops and their testosterone increases, and the complexion of their unexposed skin tends to get darker.

    * so, within any given population ligher than average complexion is a good cue for ‘fertility.’ 1) women are lightest during their peak fertility years, 2) women who are light tend to have lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of estrogen and more likely to conceive.

    * i did emphasize the fact that this is a statistical tendency within populations didn’t i? the important point is that white women are not more fertile than black women because they are lighter, because their estrogen and testosterone levels aren’t that different, the lighter complexion among whites vs. blacks is a function of differences in genes that control for color. but within a population a fair amount of the variation of color is mediated by hormones. in other words, the “sweet spot” for color might actually differ by group, ergo, south asians prefer a “honey fair” rather than a “snow white,” etc.

    * these are all tendencies mediated by cultural preferences. no absolutes.

    * also, the neolithic revolution and social stratification changed things. in japan an empirical study does suggest that the aristocracy is ligher skinned than the typical japanese. geneological studies going back centuries suggest a pattern: extremely “beautiful” girls often married into the aristocracy. in japanese society beauty in females and pale complexion were synonomous. the suggestion here is that cultural preference for light skin resulted in selection for light skin among those who could be choosiest (high status males). whereas in 1600 the japanese aristocracy was lighter because they didn’t work in the fields, in 1900 after 3 centuries of tokugawa stability (so there wasn’t that much class churn) the aristocracy was lighter skinned because of the influx of women who could use their fairness as currency in the marriage market.

    * the common skin color terms in south asia were popularized during the mughal period. the ashraf (foreign) muslims used them to distinguish between themselves (‘white’ muslims) and the convert population (‘black’ muslims), which would btw have included punjabi muslims :)

    * there is widespread evidence that preference toward light skin predates european cultural hegemony in asia and the new world. i get a bit tired over all this ‘white people are imposing their beauty standards on us,’ since the most color preoccupied people are generally FOB. this can be contrasted with the vogue for brown hair in japan (japanese with brown air, likely from ainu ancestry, used to dye their locks black) today as opposed to the traditional idea in east asia that light-haired or eyed people were ugly trolls or witches. the persian canon of field beauty was i believe white skin, black hair, round face and dark eyes. basically, tall, thin and blonde is a social construction to some extent, but fair is not.”

  41. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:44 pm  

    The fact that they are lighter during pregnancy is easily explained though: they would stay at home, hence less exposure to the sun, and thus less tanned.

    They would have to stay indoors with all the windows and curtains closed for a very lengthy period of time in order to achieve the level of change in skin colour I’m referring to. This is obviously wildly unrealistic, especially as the lightening occurs in both tropical climates and (for example) during periods of extended sunshine in non-tropical countries such as the UK, including during the first 6 months of pregnancy when they are most certainly not staying indoors all the time.

    Also, anecdotally I have observed this to occur in both Asian and black women.

  42. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    PS. Apologies to any Asian women reading all this who are being made uncomfortable by commenters analysing and surgically dissecting the topic. Personally I don’t like to dwell on the subject either, although it is of course an established fact that there is indeed a bias in Asian culture for fair skin to the extent that even someone whose facial features aren’t exactly stunning is exalted to allegedly being highly attractive purely by virtue of being noticeably lighter than average. (This happens much more in India than amongst the 2nd-Generation Asian population in the UK these days, though). It can get more than a little ridiculous sometimes.

    I don’t intend to participate on this thread any more than I have to, unless it’s necessary to set the facts straight.

  43. Sunny — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

    Soso: then it is the attitudes prevalent in some South Asian families that need to be *banned*, and not the skin cream.

    You want to *ban* prejudiced attitudes? How do you propose to do that?

    No one said the skin cream should be banned. We expressed our disgust at it helping to perpetuate racial prejudices.

  44. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

    “Yep, so white women have the option of changing their skin-tone whereas non-white women who do likewise are behaving all “uncle Tom” and colonised.”

    I agree with you. I don’t see any proof that our obsession with light skin comes from our colonial past, or that women use it to be of a different race.

    However, I do find it outrageous how Indian society, movies and TV try to enforce the same image of beauty. In that sense, it is not so different from West, however, in India, the message is not subtle at all: your happiness, relationships, your career is determined by the way you look. It is difficult not to feel disgusted by that advertisement where a young woman could not find a job because she was dark, and the father gets her this wonderful cream, and she suddenly transforms herself into a beauty, and gets herself the job. I don’t find it racist, because race is not determined solely on the basis of skin colour, let alone a few shades lighter, but there is something really wrong in exploiting people’s insecurities. But then again, we already know that India is a third-world country.

  45. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    “I don’t intend to participate on this thread any more than I have to, unless it’s necessary to set the facts straight.”

    Let’s get one fact straight: what you’ve described is not a fact, but an unproven theory. And according to this page on pregnancy, it seems to suggest that an increase in estrogen can lead to an increase of melanine, in conditions such as cloasma and hyperpigmentation.

  46. Jai — on 25th July, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

    But then again, we already know that India is a third-world country.

    Yes, one can expect nothing better from those barbaric natives.

    How tragic that what was, until this point, an eloquent and highly-accurate paragraph was poisoned by such a patronisingly dismissive remark about an entire nation. Quite unnecessary.

  47. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

    “And you’ll forgive me if I don’t take the contents of some obscure website”

    Google “hyperpigmentation” and “pregnancy”, and you will find thousands of sites that state the opposite of what you were saying: that an increase of oestrogen during pregnancy can lead to an increase in melanin.
    And feel free to choose one site that you find more reputable.

    “How tragic that what was, until this point, an eloquent and highly-accurate paragraph was poisoned by such a patronisingly dismissive remark about an entire nation. Quite unnecessary.”

    The really tragedy, Jai, is that such disgusting advertisements, which we agree have a profound impact in the way our young women and men see themselves, go unchallenged. And I do apologise for using the term “Third-world country” to describe India… how politically incorrect of me.

  48. j0nz — on 25th July, 2007 at 9:56 pm  

    Was this advert in India?

    I’m glad there’s no caste system anymore!

    Obviously to have lighter skin is disgusting Sunny. Glad to see you’re still fair and balanced!

    How about if I comment on white people desperately trying to emulate black people. What if I used the word disgusting?!

    Yup. Hyprocrisy stinks!

    Toodle pip!

  49. Ravi Naik — on 25th July, 2007 at 10:40 pm  

    “How about if I comment on white people desperately trying to emulate black people. What if I used the word disgusting?!”

    Yes, I am sure this is a popular topic in white racist forums, the discussion about wiggers,and the sort. Very boring stuff.

    Though, I wonder, j0nz, is there any meaninful discussion among white conscious folk about this trend of getting deep tans, and wanting to be brown? Do they consider this to be the end of white civilisation?

  50. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:49 am  

    Jonz,

    Obviously to have lighter skin is disgusting Sunny.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of Sunny’s own appearance, but he’s very much at the lighter end of the spectrum himself where Asians are concerned. Therefore, I doubt his stance is motivated by “disgust” at his own colour.

    The only issue where I disagree with Sunny is the notion of skin-colour prejudices amongst Asians being racist; it’s actually more to do with aesthetic ideas (even though there are indeed some factors to do with the last 1000 years of Indian history which obviously influence the matter, as previously discussed). In this sense, it’s not actually that different from some white British people disliking their own natural colouring if they regard it as “pale and pasty” and therefore getting artificial tans if they think this makes them look more physically attractive.

    The latter would of course be somewhat complicated — and be viewed as a potentially dodgy course of action — if, for example, Europe had fallen under African or Middle-Eastern rule for several centuries until recently, and Europeans therefore related dark(er) skin to their previous rulers. If you can understand this analogy, you’ll get a better idea of why the idea of skin lightening is quite a loaded issue amongst many Asians and has certain negative connotations.

  51. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:08 am  

    And feel free to choose one site that you find more reputable.

    Ravi, I’d rather speak directly to qualified medical professionals about the matter or people who have an extensive academic background in this subject. However, if you prefer to refer to the unregulated internet via Google as your sacred text for all matters medical, then by all means please feel free to do so.

    And I do apologise for using the term “Third-world country” to describe India… how politically incorrect of me.

    Politically incorrect ? Try arrogant, supercilious and condescending.

    You will of course deny this, and it’s amusing how you’re attempting to deflect attention away from the fact that you know damn well you were making a huge generalisation in order to dismiss an entire country based on the deliberately disparaging tone of your remark. Calling India “third-world” certainly wasn’t an innocent reference to its economic status in comparison with wealthier Western countries, and you know it.

  52. Ravi Naik — on 26th July, 2007 at 11:32 am  

    “Ravi, I’d rather speak directly to qualified medical professionals about the matter or people who have an extensive academic background in this subject”

    Yes, you should talk directly to qualified medical professionals, and ask them if hyperpigmentation in preganancies, and medical terms like cloasma, are just
    an internet conspiracy to crash your big ego.

    “Calling India “third-world” certainly wasn’t an innocent reference to its economic status in comparison with wealthier Western countries, and you know it.”

    That is absolutely correct, I thought the sarcasm was quite obvious. A country’s worth is not how much money it makes, or it’s military might. It is how it takes care of its people, and in particular providing physical and psycological confort to its weak. Feeding and distributing food among the poor is important, but there is so much more. And when you see these disgusting advertisements, you have to feel that India is still a third-world country in many respects.

    And you can keep your false indignation to yourself. I don’t really give a damn, Jai.

  53. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

    Now now Ravi, there’s no need to get prickly. I see that your extensive participation on this blog still hasn’t dulled your pathological tendency to patronise everyone you speak to here. I think it’s your own ego you should be more concerned with. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.

    Yes, you should talk directly to qualified medical professionals,

    Don’t worry, I will. Given the fact that my father is a doctor, as are large numbers of my social circle, including the Asian women whose examples I gave with regards to their colouring lightening considerably during their own pregancies, speaking to medical professionals isn’t particularly difficult for me.

    I don’t really give a damn, Jai.

    Good for you. I’m sure your false concern for the people of India is giving you ample fuel for your already-inflated self-righteous sense of superiority.

    Particularly in relation to other Asians, if your behaviour on Pickled Politics to date is anything to go by. I don’t know what’s driving that, but let’s make one thing very clear indeed: Just because you’ve adopted Christianity, it doesn’t actually make you any less Indian (or better) than the rest of us. Don’t ever forget it.

    Since you clearly enjoy being blunt towards other people whilst spouting your “opinions” (and using it as an opportunity to cold-bloodedly, snidely insult them, as your considerable track record on PP demonstrates), let me take this opportunity to be blunt in return: You’re the only commenter here on PP whom I genuinely, viscerally dislike. This is not a recent development, and I do not have such a negative opinion of anyone else on this blog, including the handful of individuals I’ve occasionally disagreed with quite strongly. You repeatedly talk down to other commenters — something I’ve quietly observed for a very long time — and although the points you make are frequently correct, the manner in which you deliver them leaves a great deal to be desired. At least Mazumber was funny, and also took care to (mostly) pick genuinely deserving targets.

    No doubt you will throw your toys out of your pram again and retaliate with some kind of “don’t give a damn” remark, or indeed attempt to criticise me in return; frankly, I already have a sufficiently low opinion of you to expect little better from you. But if you have any sense of self-awareness, it would be worth your while to consider being less abrasive, patronising and rude towards people you disagree with on any given discussion topic, rather than continuing to be the arrogant son of a bitch you obviously are.

  54. Ravi Naik — on 26th July, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    “I don’t know what’s driving that, but let’s make one thing very clear indeed: Just because you’ve adopted Christianity, it doesn’t actually make you any less Indian (or better) than the rest of us. Don’t ever forget it.”

    I didn’t adopt Christianity, I was born into a religion my ancestors have been practising for centuries in India. Why would you assume I “adopted” or that I would feel any different for being Christian? This shows your religious bias, not mine. In any case, I spoke as an Indian who has lived all his life around the globe, who goes to India every year, who has lots of family in India, and is very passionate about India.

    Your last post is flame bait at its worst. I must say I expected more from you, and you should be ashamed of yourself for bringing up people’s religious beliefs just because your opponent disagrees with you in a matter completely unrelated to religion.

    “You’re the only commenter here on PP whom I genuinely, viscerally dislike.”

    Life is too short to be consumed by such negative feelings, specially by my 5p that I throw from time to time whenever I can. You need to grow up, Jai.

  55. Jai — on 26th July, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

    I’m certainly not “consumed by negative feelings” where you’re concerned, Ravi; don’t overestimate your own importance.

    Life is not too short for you to develop some basic manners, especially when conversing with people you disagree with (or who disagree with you). The only person here who “needs to grow up” is you; your consistently dismissive tone towards others is a subtle form of bullying.

    Have some more courtesy and consideration towads others in future. It’s the mark of genuine maturity.

  56. sid — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:06 pm  

    Jai, don’t you ever for a minute think that just because you’ve adopted Sikhism, you have more body hair than I have.

  57. Ravi Naik — on 26th July, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    “Have some more courtesy and consideration towads others in future.”

    Towards others? Did anyone appoint you to speak on behalf of others? If you felt hurt that I said “I don’t buy your theory” (#36) and god forbid, brought some form of proof to the debate, then speak for yourself, don’t pretend like you care about the welfare of others.

    And I have a clear conscience: never did I write here in bad faith, or came up with cheap shots about your personal life, religious beliefs or even your history here in PP. That would be disrespectful.

  58. El Cid — on 26th July, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    I was about to say Ravi, that the Japanese and Chinese WERE exposed to and affected by European colonialism. It just wasn’t a carbon copy of the Indian experience. I could go on, but we seem to have been sidetracked….

  59. Ravi Naik — on 27th July, 2007 at 12:26 am  

    “I was about to say Ravi, that the Japanese and Chinese WERE exposed to and affected by European colonialism. It just wasn’t a carbon copy of the Indian experience.”

    My original statement was indeed inaccurate as the southeast part of China was indeed colonised by the Portuguese and the English. And you are right that there was a strong European influence in both China, and even more in Japan during the Meiji restoration period.

    However, I feel that fairness as an attribute of beauty in Asia predates European influence. And even today, when the West loves the sun, the East still prefers to stay in the shadow (with notable exceptions from both Japan and the more westernised regions in China). So, I don’t believe that India is any different, but I would like to further investigate whether the concept of beauty in India changed radically with its new colonial masters.

  60. Ravi Naik — on 28th July, 2007 at 2:29 am  

    “stands up to them on their own behalf and intervenes on behalf of others”

    You are quite a character, Jai, and you obviously have a very high-opinion of yourself, as you are now painting yourself as the protector of the masses against a big bad villain like myself. Spare me the cheap bollywood drama. I suspect these others you keep talking about are nothing more than the various avatars of your many egos. ;-)

    “In future, if you’re going to disagree with someone”

    In the future, my dear Jai, I will keep on writing as I have: politely, to the point and about the ideas without getting personal. And if I disagree with you again, I will let you know, even if you act like a spoiled diva.

    Funny how you say your daddy is a doctor, yet you still haven’t asked him whether hyperpigmentation in pregnancies is an internet myth. Anyway, this concludes this pahetic conversation, unless you have something new to add about light-skin in pregnancies, which is quite obvious you won’t after the amount of evidence to suggest otherwise.

  61. Sunny — on 28th July, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    Easy now guys! Both of you, Ravi and Jai, are quite intelligent and articulate, and look broadly on the same side of the political spectrum. I can’t even tell what this argument is about.

    The really tragedy, Jai, is that such disgusting advertisements, which we agree have a profound impact in the way our young women and men see themselves,

    Which is why, I think we can all broadly agree, is why I highlighted it the first time around.

    Some see the attitude about aesthetics, some about racism or castism. Whatever it is, I think it is disgusting.

    (jonz’s sillyness aside..) end of discussion?

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