- Pickled Politics - http://www.pickledpolitics.com -

Fair and lovely…

Posted By Sunny On 26th September, 2007 @ 8:36 am In Humour, Moral police | 175 Comments

Over across the pond, when the issue of skin lightening or anything inter-racial is discussed at [1] Sepia Mutiny, it’s a guaranteed flame-fest of over 500 comments. Clearly, the Punjabi dominated British Asian nation does not get as worked up about the issue as the South Indian dominated American-Indian nation. Anyway, I thought I’d point you to this article on [2] BBC magazine yesterday.

One of Bollywood’s biggest film stars is being criticised by Asian campaigners for promoting a skin-lightening cream - a product that is now on the shelves of British shops.

They’ve quoted me and, unsurprisingly, I’ve totally dissed Shahrukh Khan. That’s enough to get me killed in India (by his fans, not mullahs, dammit!). The story on SRK reminded me of this campaign [3] we ran recently.

And to our paler readers: no I’m not biased against white skin either and neither is this reverse racism, so let’s not go over that again please. Can you just let us brown people fight over this one? Thanks…


175 Comments To "Fair and lovely…"

#1 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 9:20 am

The second image definately has more colour it in, the first is completely washed out.

Is it me or is Shahrukh Khan a minger?

TFI

#2 Comment By Kesara On 26th September, 2007 @ 9:31 am

I hear the folks in Burma need a bit of support…perhaps we could have a Fair & Lovely Fundraiser? :P

#3 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 10:17 am

they had rani moorthy on yesterday talking about her play…i was also talking to some people from the African community and apparently this is a huge problem in their community too. The presenters on the beeb were talking about this as comparable to white ppl tanning, but I think this is totally different. White ppl are not tanning because someone has told them they wont find a suitable partner because of their colour etc etc.

#4 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 10:23 am

Yeah I saw that, and yeah it grates when people make that false comparison too.

The historical roots of this ‘fashion’ should really be brought to the fore and challenged every time it’s brought up.

#5 Comment By elaine On 26th September, 2007 @ 10:31 am

I must endorse Kesara’s mention of Burma. Given that India is one of the main suppliers of weapons and military training to the Burmese junta (because of India’s depedence on Burma for energy ), this should be a very hot topic for discussion and perhaps calls for protest. Is anything happening in India or on the web?

#6 Comment By Kesara On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:11 am

Alls quiet on the Western Front!

I guess folks are still dealing with the Great Indo-Pakistani Cricket War fallout. Give em a bit to wake up to Burma…

#7 Comment By Nyrone On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:20 am

I just don’t get why SRK, a practising Muslim who appeared to be quite intelligent and humble in that documentary made about him recently would endorse a product as blatantly offensive as this.

As anyone else visiting India will tell you, King Khan and the other celebs are gods out there and getting them to approve a product like this, is saying ‘it’s ok’ to the millions of people that follow his every footstep.

SRK should have been far more responsible, I’m dissapointed.

Here is the full trailer:
[4] http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-3C9hkCuZv0

#8 Comment By Kulvinder On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:24 am

White ppl are not tanning because someone has told them they wont find a suitable partner because of their colour etc etc.

Well perhaps not explicitly, but its fairly demonstrable that the nature of fashion exists to make yourself ‘desirable’ to someone else. I don’t think the fashion industry exists as a centre of highbrow culture. I don’t see why its far ‘worse’ for someone to say ‘dark brown skin’ is unttractive as opposed to someone else implying ‘pasty white skin’ is ugly.

All you’re doing is highlighting the instigator in each example, you’re not showing how one is ‘worse’.

All that aside im happy with everyone doing what they want. Its the nature of humanity to be unhappy with your lot, the white people going brown would be going white if they were brown, and the brown people going white would be going brown if they were white.

#9 Comment By Kesara On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:24 am

To forget about the pesky protests in Burma for a min I’m glad they called it Fair & Lovely and not something PC like ‘WHITE POWER™’!

#10 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:27 am

“Can you just let us brown people fight over this one?”

I think this issue should be discussed in a broader sense: people who are slaves of trends, who do not feel adequate about their own body, and who abuse their bodies to attain a standard of beauty. In this context, it is shameful that actors and companies indulge in promoting dangerous products which harm people physically and emotionally. Not that the West doesn’t do the same, but Indians do it raw and unshamesly. And I believe the Indian government should act on this one.

Having said that, I don’t see much difference in women (and men) changing the colour of their skin or hair, by either lightining or darkerning. One could say that both Indians and Whites are trying to get the same colour of skin, no? And unlike the race-obsessed crowd in Sepia Mutiny, I see little evidence that Indians want to be white. It is not like the hordes of westerners want to be Indian or latino when they tan themselves.

#11 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:30 am

All in all, the ads are pretty much Bollywood crap. Superficial and ridiculous.

#12 Comment By Kulvinder On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:31 am

Alls quiet on the Western Front!

To use the wiki argument. Write an article then!

One of my flatmates at uni was from Myanmar (she rightly got upset if we referred to it as Burma or forgot its capital’s name is Yangon not Rangoon); neway she tried explaining the situation but all i could understand was

‘lots of ethnnic groups, they’d all kill each other without a strong hand, you don’t know what you’re talking about youignorantwesternman’

I think her father worked in the government. Apparently though it isn’t like North Korea and its perfectly possible for people to visit the country. So my pragmatic suggestion would be everyone going to burma on holiday and opening the country up.

#13 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:36 am

Kulvinder, it’s about why the brown skin is deemed ugly…is it because it makes ppl look unhealthy, which is why white ppl tan…because they think it gives them a healthy glow…this of course can turn into an obsession which is a topic all of its own. People bleaching their skin to look whiter, is completely different. They are doing it because society tells them that it makes them look more attractive, will get them further in life, get a better partner, and somehow denotes purity..
I am not simply highlighting the instigator but showing the two things are not equally comparable, as one has more societal repurcussions than the other. Possibly the only thing comparable will be health repurcussions..i.e of tanning beds and bleach in the creams.

#14 Comment By Tim Worstall On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:51 am

Good Grief! (Yes, I know as one of the paler ones where the freckles don’t join up I shouldn’t butt in here but…)
It’s about social status!
For whatever reason, (perhaps the caste system, perhaps that for some 1,000s of year India has tended to be ruled by those paler than those at the bottom of the status system…and no, I don’t mean just the Brits.), whether rightly or wrongly, paler skin is seen as bestowing more social status.
As in Britain, a tan bestows more social status: it shows, most expecially in winter, that one can afford to go and get one. Given that 50 years ago this was a very expensive thing to do and is now cheap we might see that changing.
As, indeed, we saw it change a century (perhaps two) or so ago. A tan then meant that you worked outside: pale skin that you had the social status not to have to do so. Read some Jane Austen…worries about going out in the sun without a bonnet, leading to freckles and unmarriageability.
If you’re going to start off your analysis without remembering that a) human beings are status seeking animals and b) that status is differently determined in different societies (it being a human construct, after all) then you’re never going to get anywhere.

#15 Comment By rupahuq On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:52 am

I’ve got a student dong a disseration on the skin-whitening cream trade in Jamaica. People are getting cancer because of bleaching their faces there. Will point all this out to her.

#16 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

Tim yes it is about social status, but again generally speaking white women will not be ostracised from communities because they are not tanned…dark brown women are being given less opportunities and are often shunned socially because of their colour. This has a direct impact on their economic future and self confidence.

#17 Comment By Kesara On 26th September, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

“To use the wiki argument. Write an article then!”

Ain’t got the time…ain’t got the moneeeyyyy…

#18 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

“dark brown women are being given less opportunities and are often shunned socially because of their colour.”

Can you prove this assertion? Are they deprived of health care, school and job opportunities because of their skin colour? I don’t think so. In fact, the most prosperous and literate states are indeed in the South, and there lies most of the dark browns.

#19 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

“Tim yes it is about social status, but again generally speaking white women will not be ostracised from communities because they are not tanned…”

You are suggesting that women are ostracised for being dark-skinned by their communities… but aren’t their communities dark-skinned in the first place?

#20 Comment By Jai in CSI: Chelmsford On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

*Jai coolly takes off his sunglasses and speaks in a deep voice very slowly*

Over across the pond, when the issue of skin lightening or anything inter-racial is discussed at Sepia Mutiny, it’s a guaranteed flame-fest of over 500 comments. Clearly, the Punjabi dominated British Asian nation does not get as worked up about the issue as the South Indian dominated American-Indian nation.

And unlike the race-obsessed crowd in Sepia Mutiny,

Clearly. They’re freaking demented about all this over there. I mean, when was the last time anyone here actually heard anyone use the word “Scythian”, for God’s sake ?! (Particularly Punjabis, who seem to be the most frequent targets of the lynch mob on SM).

I don’t see why its far ‘worse’ for someone to say ‘dark brown skin’ is unttractive as opposed to someone else implying ‘pasty white skin’ is ugly.

Unfortunately the latter is something that happens quite frequently amongst SM’s increasingly South Indian-dominated commenting population, and the double-standards was a point I raised myself numerous times when I used to participate there. Not good. Quite a few previously-regular northie commenters have quietly slipped out of the party via the back door as the vibe over there has changed during the past year or so.

“dark brown women are being given less opportunities and are often shunned socially because of their colour.”

In the subcontinent or in the UK ? If it’s the former then that assertion doesn’t make sense as the vast majority of the population reside on the darker end of the spectrum (broadly speaking, although obviously one can make generalisations from north to south and east to west).

A disproportionate number of Asian women in the UK are markedly lighter than their counterparts “back home” (for various obvious reasons, ie. British climate + north Indian/Pakistani dominance of the UK Asian population), but I wasn’t aware of them generally being “shunned socially” unless you’re talking about idiocy towards from some of the older generation along with difficulties sometimes encountered in dating Asian guys. But “ostracisation” ? Too strong a word, I think.

*Jai coolly puts his sunglasses back on and moves out of the camera frame. Roll the credits*

#21 Comment By soru On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

I suspect the degree to which the anglo cultural preference for blonde hair is/was ethnic/racial is often forgotten. This is a country conquered by Scandanavians a thousand years ago, who went on to be the land-holding upper class for most of that time. Look at Boris Johnson, Heseltine, Diana and her sons: all natural blondes.

No need to mention the Nazis and their blonde stormtroopers.

The fact that hair colour can be reasonably safely and reversibly changed is _why_ one is a matter of fashion, and the other identity - it’s not that the history is so different.

#22 Comment By sonia On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

yes we know there is a big problem with wanting to be fair in our indian sub-continent based communities,* and stupid seeing as most of us are pretty dark. (what a self-hating thing to do.) A single glance at marriage ads shows this to be the case, (wheatish anyone?) in any case we ALL know what its like.

the underlying problem in any case is not one simply of ‘colour preference’ so much - in a purely aesthetic way - but the fact that is tied in with access to marriage - which in the traditional indian society, as we all know - makes or breaks a woman seeing as it is her route “into” a home - and means of securing an income. ( yes these are the bottom lines) and given you can’t help the colour of your skin, it is ridiculous when you are at a disadvantage thanks to your ‘complexion’. Things are changing slowly and for well-off city women, (or if you were a high-caste landowner’s daughter in the old days) - it doesn’t make that much of a “serious” difference, and they probably get used to shrugging off aunties’ comments.

so for me - its part and parcel of treating women as commodities, as something to be ‘examined’ - very similar to the fact that chinese women had to have bound feet because if they weren’t dainty enough, that affected their ‘market’ value.

{watch how asian woman scrutinise each other)

that’s the fundamental problem. you’re a poor brown low-caste woman, you’re fucked. so its very much tied up with being female. if you’re a man and you’re dark - its nowhere near as ‘insurmountable’ or commented upon problem. Why is it that brides are caked with white foundation on their wedding day? and the men can sit there looking how they naturally do.

and nowhere better to start than in our own homes and with our parents and rishta aunties who demand fair skinned brides.

if more people were willing to practice what they preach and not listen to momma when she wants a fairer daughter-in-law/(and for women, demand one when they become a mother-in-law) then..

#23 Comment By sonia On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

and you know why its so fucked? because it maintains the divide between the reality of attraction, and the conforming to the ‘marriage ideal’. so indian men are perfectly happy to mess about with some attractive ‘dusky skinned woman’ but maybe not so sure she is ’suitable’ as a prospect. ‘if only she’d been lighter mother would have been happy’.

that kind of bullshit. what kind of a man can’t take his girl home to momma because she’s too brown? an indian one.

#24 Comment By sonia On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

and also - seeing as i’ve got started - its all tied with the crap of being tied to momma’s apron strings.

if we look hard enough - at the bottom of all unpleasant things - like forced marriage etc. - is the hidden strong hand of the fascist family unit. and this business of ‘ooh we must be traditional and stick to our Community’. our elders are wiser and better. don’t be like those disrespectful goras!

#25 Comment By sonia On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

as far as i can see, Pickled Politics is mostly a race-obsessesd crowd too Jai.

#26 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

Sonia, you da girl.

TFI

#27 Comment By Kulvinder On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

People bleaching their skin to look whiter, is completely different.

Yeah because its completely different when men/women who are ‘white’ are shown magazine images of ‘glamorous people’ living ‘glamorous lives’ that they should aspire to or that will help them become ‘more attractive’ and get ‘better partners’. Theres a special white gene that makes people react to social pressure in a different manner.

yes we know there is a big problem with wanting to be fair in our indian sub-continent based communities,* and stupid seeing as most of us are pretty dark. (what a self-hating thing to do.)

White people hate themselves??

I’m unsure how many different ways i can point out the nature of the fashion industry is the same the world over. All you’re doing is highlighting the specific marketing ploys that are used to make people buy whatever crap is on sale in a certain part of the world; whilst completely ignoring the fact the marketing campaigns may be different but that doesn’t make one morally worse than another.

Saying anyone who moves from colour X to Y is a self hating idiot whilst those that move from colour Y to X are only doing it ‘to become healthy’ is absurd. If you want to be consistent with your arguments you may as well say asian girls who get highlights or dye their hair are self hating cows since all asian hair is dark brown.

There is no difference in the impulse that drives anyone to change their appearance, it is all broadly about social one-upmanship. Women who try and fit into size 0 clothes in britain aren’t doing it ‘to get a healthy glow’.

#28 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

the hidden strong hand of the fascist family unit.

The Fascist Family Unit sounds like a book title…

#29 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

the hidden strong hand of the fascist family unit

I was wondering why my family were wearing swastika armbands and saluting a portrait of Mussolini last Sunday…

#30 Comment By Sunny On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

I’m unsure how many different ways i can point out the nature of the fashion industry is the same the world over.

the bias towards lighter skin has been around in India for longer than the fashion industry Kulvinder. I’m more inclined to agree with Tim Worstall that it’s about social status. But increasingly it’s also about what ‘looks good’.

So for example, girls are discouraged from going out in the sun because they’re told that no one will want to marry them then.

#31 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

But increasingly it’s also about what ‘looks good’.

Who ever came up with the line beauty is in the eye of the beholder must spinning in their grave…

#32 Comment By Jai in CSI: Basildon On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

*Jai steps out of his Humvee and examines the dead body*

as far as i can see, Pickled Politics is mostly a race-obsessesd crowd too Jai.

Not even remotely as much as the SM crowd has become in recent times.

And God help any guys over there who say anything complimentary about the attractiveness of any Asian model/actress/whatever who happens to be fair-skinned or (horror of horrors) indicates that they have ever gone out with — or is married to — one of the lighter types, without including all kinds of apologetic caveats to justify their actions. They’d get slaughtered by hordes of angry South Indian (and to a lesser extent Bengali) women along with irate members of the “TamBram” mafia.

If you want to be consistent with your arguments you may as well say asian girls who get highlights or dye their hair are self hating cows since all asian hair is dark brown.

Let’s not forget green contact lenses. Used to be quite common amongst many Asian girls when I was at university back in the 90s. In fact these days it’s becoming increasingly frequent in Bollywood films and TV soaps too.

*Cut to tinted-lense shot of tropical Basildon skyline*

#33 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

The argument about the comparison between white people tanning themselves in salons or on a beach is slightly different because it’s easier for them to alter their skin colour than it is for brown skin to turn lighter. Half an hour in the sun or whatever turns white skin brownish. It’s tough for dark skinned people to lighten themselves without using creams (which don’t even work at all) and even then unscrupulous people selling creams with dangerous chemicals in them.

#34 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

Sorry if any of this has been covered already, but as someone who carries adverts for skin-lightening creams in my magazine, here’s my thruppence:

• While the editorial policy says ‘be brown and proud’ the kind of person who buys skin lightening creams are beyond what a magazine tells them. The insecurity is deep rooted and comes from the community they live and breathe

• These aren’t women like the ones you relate to. They live for the family function and the thought of going to a wedding only to be bullied by an aunt about her dark skin, seeing the shame that casts over her mother and the nods of agreement as its voiced she’ll never get a good husband, is what drives these girls to go and buy these products

• There ar a lot of dangerous varieties out there. I justify running the ones we do by the fact that they are not as bad as the ones out there in the black market (ho ho)

• The notion that a magazine perpetuates the myth that fair is lovely is bollocks, just as much as the whole size zero model or real women (how patronising to skinny women that phrase is) is bollocks. Fact: people who buy women’s magazines like looking at skinny, fair-skinned women. No, you’re wrong.

• Being fair is somethings that’s ingrained in a huge number of Asian people and will stay this way as long as they define ourselves by our roots (I’m talking about people who ask where you’re from and want to hear Pakistan not Birmingham) – and this means fair = status. Your family has always been too rich to work outdoors in the heat

• A lot of Asian people, especially Bollywood stars, are really, really fucking racist

#35 Comment By fugstar On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

its a marriage made in hell, voluntary hell if there can be any.

1) an industry like bollywood, making money from making indians and others stupid, titillated, entertained, petty, captive, lewd and unrealistic about human relations.

2) a product that degrades the very glory of being brown.

why didnt they think of that before. Our Indian Capitalism, light years ahead of the western kind in the complex exploitation.

#36 Comment By Kulvinder On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

the bias towards lighter skin has been around in India for longer than the fashion industry Kulvinder. I’m more inclined to agree with Tim Worstall that it’s about social status. But increasingly it’s also about what ‘looks good’.

Thats just an argument about semantics though. The fashion industry developed from people with social status deciding what looks good. The entire point of a tan was you could afford to holiday in exotic locations.

#37 Comment By sr On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

Skin colour is definitely linked to status in India. Someone with darker skin is automatically assumed to be from a lower caste or very poor. This almost certainly developed due an ingrained stigma associated with manual labour.

While darker skinned people are not ostracised as such in India, they are certainly discriminated against. These attitudes are prevalent all over India, not least in the south. Dark brown people discriminate against darker brown people just as much as light brown ones discriminate against slightly darker ones.

I certainly expect British Indians to have similar attitudes, particularly as most of them emigrated from India when social attitudes and practices were less liberal than they are now. Things are improving in India, with wider education and exposure to liberal values, but it won’t be quick. Ads like these don’t help as they reinforce these old prejudices and that’s why i think they are abhorrent.

#38 Comment By Kulvinder On 26th September, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

There ar a lot of dangerous varieties out there. I justify running the ones we do by the fact that they are not as bad as the ones out there in the black market (ho ho)

Really? I thought it was because the ones you choose to run paid you :p

#39 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

• A lot of Asian people, especially Bollywood stars, are really, really fucking racist

Even Shilpa Shetty? :P

#40 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

Thank you Sonia..when I talk of opportunity, I did mention marriage..which is inextricably then linked to future economic stability…i.e you could have two sisters..one light one dark…then you have rich man looking for wife…plz don’t tell me he’ll go for the dark one…cuz thats a load of bollocks.

#41 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

Sorry Kismet but I think you should take a stance and not run those adverts then. Seriously.

#42 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

Kulvinder, yes it’s true they pay, but it costs a lot to advertise. Cheap = dangerous.

Leon, dunno. I think her time with Jermaine Jackson probably helped her change but I can’t see her gobbling black cock in a hurry

#43 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

and Kulvinder, not all asian hair is dark brown…i have cousins who are blue eyed and blonde haired..and they is allllllllll Indian…no hydrogen peroxide or fake blue contacts in sight

#44 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

Kismet, LOL!

#45 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

Let me put in a nutshell.

I publish a magazine for people who buy it.

I tell them ‘be brown, be proud’.

But as any one who can keep a magazine running will vouch, it isn’t what you say that counts, it’s how well you can give what the reader wants that matters

As an estimate, I’d say 80% of our queries that come to our beauty editor is about how to get fair skin

They buy the magazine

#46 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

So why not take a moral stance on the issue? Would it hit your revenue so much that you can’t afford to not run the ads?

#47 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

and yes Indians are racist, prejudiced and everything else they expect white people not to be. I’m sorry Kulvinder but I just cannot accept that tanning vs bleaching skin are equally comparable. You find me a bunch of white mothers chastising their daughters for being too white and not being able to get a husband.

#48 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:11 pm

Kismet, i think that’s a lame ass excuse.

#49 Comment By ZinZin On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

“And to our paler readers: no I’m not biased against white skin either and neither is this reverse racism, so let’s not go over that again please. Can you just let us brown people fight over this one? Thanks…”

Sunny, The above makes me cringe. I can’t remember anyone saying that you are anti-white (no-one intelligent anyway), so why put that in?

#50 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

Jagdeep,

You’re missing the point you hippy hearted lovely. Insecure women will get these products whether we run them or not. I think it’s much better to run adverts for companies that pass the industry standard (lightenex for instance is available at chemists).

You’ll never see these products reviewed in the mag or articles that say anything but ‘wanting to be fair is a sign of insecurity’

That’s the agenda that I can set

But beyond that, magazines reflect, not dictate I’m afraid

#51 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

Sofia, it’s ultimately pointless arguing with me because I agree with you but you don’t buy my magazine…

#52 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

People accused Sunny of being motivated by hatred of ‘white people’ for contesting this issue before ZinZin, because in their eyes it looked like he didn’t want people to ‘become white’. Certain individuals.

#53 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

Certain individuals.

Who?

#54 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

Naaah I don’t buy it Kismet. I understand if you’ll lose loads of money because the advertising revenue can’t be replaced, but I don’t buy the reasoning for knowing something is wrong and then being complicit in it by legitimising the products by accepting their adverts.

#55 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

Kismet, reflect vs dictate? what about social responsibility? we go on and on about the fashion industry and how terrible it is…but they obviously think that we all want to see size 0 models…if they didn’t they wouldn’t have them on their magazines right?? so does your magazine only cover fair skinned models because that’s what girls are aspiring to be??? where does your “reflection” begin and end?

#56 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

Kismet, i only subscribe to one magazine..and it isn’t a fashion/beauty one…i have enough insecurities to allow myself to be force fed more fucking shit.

#57 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

Leon

Amir said it back then, and his doppleganger The Friendly Infidel just commented on this post in the British Minority Ethnic thread just now:

Indeed, but remember that Sunny has a tendancy to see issues in Brown and White. See his comment on “Fair and lovely…” where us “paler” types can sod off! Feel that progression … mmm … its like a warm blanket.

#58 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

Sofia, the magazine industry is a very shallow industry kept alive by people with very superficial needs: wearing what’s in season, the right shade of rouge and all the fluff and bubblegum that goes with it

Of course they are padded out by pulitzer winning articles from time to time and exposes very real issue but they don’t sell

Even the biggest selling magazines dare not take risks. You’d think it’d be popular for a mag like Vogue to say ‘we oppose size sero, here’s a fat girl on the cover’ but they don’t

The worst mistake a publisher can do is to think he’s somehow more important than the market

It’s the market that provides the shoes the reader wants to step out in. We just shoot the pictures

#59 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

“Kismet, i only subscribe to one magazine..and it isn’t a fashion/beauty one…i have enough insecurities to allow myself to be force fed more fucking shit.”

I rest my case. You don’t buy the magazine. The people who do don’t see how they feel as an insecurity. They see it as a way of beautifying themselves

#60 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

Kismet, would the advertising revenue be irreplaceable if you refused their cash?

#61 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:29 pm

Jagdeep, do you mean that Amir is tall and good looking to!?!

TFI

#62 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

Jagdeep, where does it end? Take out all the frankly scary black magic adverts we run too? Say no to all the ones that promote liposuction and electrolysis and cosmetic surgery? aren’t all these things also adding to the mass insecurity?

Please understand. Fashion magazines are for people who think the right shade of lipstick will make them successful and the right killer heels will bag them the man of their dreams

#63 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

I have to say I think people are being a little hard on Kismet, hate the game not the playa!

#64 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

(*person of their dreams)

Men’s mags pander to male insecurities in equal measures

#65 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

I dunno TFI never saw Amir but he came across as more small and angry than anything. I remember when he insulted a lady once who used to comment here and had her picture on her myspace, he looked at her picture and insulted her for her looks. That lady doesn’t post here anymore, I always thought she might have felt bullied and upset by that low behaviour of a small and angry man.

#66 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

Bless you Leon. I can take it…

:-)

#67 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

“you could have two sisters..one light one dark…then you have rich man looking for wife…plz don’t tell me he’ll go for the dark one…cuz thats a load of bollocks.”

Please, Sofia, you are making a crude caricature of Indians. Are you saying that people are so incredibly shallow that the only aspect for choosing a partner is the shades of brown?

“The argument about the comparison between white people tanning themselves in salons or on a beach is slightly different because it’s easier for them to alter their skin colour than it is for brown skin to turn lighter. Half an hour in the sun or whatever turns white skin brownish. It’s tough for dark skinned people to lighten themselves”

Not really. Not all whites are able to tan, they simply burn. And Indians are able to get lighter in the same way whites can - by staying out of the sun. Which you shouldn’t, because living in the UK means you need to get as much sun as you can, or you will get severe deficiencies in vitamin-D.

“The notion that a magazine perpetuates the myth that fair is lovely is bollocks, just as much as the whole size zero model or real women (how patronising to skinny women that phrase is) is bollocks. Fact: people who buy women’s magazines like looking at skinny, fair-skinned women.”

Your fact does not refute the assertion that the media perpetuates a standard of beauty. It is not that they have created it, but by wanting to play safe with the same formula, they are indeed part of the problem, in my view.

#68 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

Kismet, yeah, if you feel strongly enough that it exists in that way you should refuse the skin lightening products. What would it cost you if it did?

#69 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:38 pm

Leon, you just said in the Burma thread that ‘we are complicit’ in Burma. If you carry the ads surely you’re complicit in the perpetuation of the whole thing too.

#70 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

Jagdeep, you still haven’t answered my question. I f I took out skin-lightening creams, should I take out the ones about liposuction and electrolysis and cosmetic surgery in general?

#71 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

I’m not saying that Sunny is “being motivated by hatred of ‘white people’ for contesting this issue … because in their eyes it looked like he didn’t want people to ‘become white’. Not at all.

I think that it is an interesting issue, especially when it is tied up to the caste system last time this debate was mention I learned a lot.

What I am commenting on is this:

Can you just let us brown people fight over this one? Thanks…

I’ve checked in the mirror and I may be of Italian descent and recently back from holiday, but I’m excluded from this debate because I’m not ‘brown’ … mmm … progressive

TFI

#72 Comment By Jai On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

TFI,

Indeed, but remember that Sunny has a tendancy to see issues in Brown and White. See his comment on “Fair and lovely…” where us “paler” types can sod off!

Er, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen any photographs of Sunny or video footage of him being interviewed, but from an Asian perspective he’s very much at the “paler” end of the spectrum himself. Darker than most northern/western Europeans, of course (albeit not necessarily some of the Mediterranean types), but it’s quite an assumption to state that Sunny harbors some kind of animosity towards “pale” people or that his article on the other thread was motivated by such prejudices. Again, by Asian standards, Sunny would not personally be adversely impacted by the bias against darker skin — it doesn’t apply to him.

#73 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

TFI, maybe it’s just that you don’t have to “fight” over this debate. You can just roll your eyes and pity a bit…

#74 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

Small and Angry? That cut deep Jagdeep *sniff* I may never post on here again.

MUMMMY!!!!

*floods of tears*

TFI

#75 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

Sorry Kismit, I hear you, but I’m in a sulk.

BTW I think that you are right about what you say. Unless people are getting cancer from these products or its affecting their health, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be left to it.

TFI

#76 Comment By Leon On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

Leon, you just said in the Burma thread that ‘we are complicit’ in Burma. If you carry the ads surely you’re complicit in the perpetuation of the whole thing too.

I was speaking about a whole country (tbh I kinda regretted using the word complicit the minute I hit submit), this is one person! I see your point your making but can also see the depressing economic reality Kismet is working within.

#77 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

But Kismet, haven’t you stated that the skin lightening issue is qualitatively different from liposuction or electrolysis because of the cultural implications that are more pernicious and acute. All I’m saying is that if you can afford to not accept their adverts would it hit you so hard that you wouldn’t be able to replace them? If so, they must have a mighty dollar, but I’d do the same thing probably — at the end of the day you have to get paid.

#78 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 26th September, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

True say Jagdeep. Yes I have to get paid. But I don’t feel like I’m sucking satan’s cock. And I’ll leave you with my reason why:

It would be alarmingly arrogant to assume that just because you are a liberal person that’s read Karl Popper and enjoys bruschetta with Jewish intellectuals or what have you, that you are somehow a better Asian than those that go to Soho Road to buy a lengha for cousin Pinky’s wedding

I work for them. I’m not going to patronise them by saying their needs and wants are not worthy

#79 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

That’s a noble sentiment Kismet, and in the past,in the face of much squealing, we’ve discussed here on PP, clinking together our symbolic glass of whisky and pints of Kronenbourg in a metaphoric Southall Glassy Junction, our opposition to those pompous arses who look down on working class bhangra-bollywood desis who just get on with their life and don’t sniff the pages of the Guardian and wank over them and live like Gungadins with their noses in the air when they see another Indian. That discussion excited me so much I wanted to metaphorically kiss you especially because the Gungadins were affronted by our almost homo-erotic ethnic unity and class warfare.

But I think you could at least think of not accepting them, if you could still do it without getting paid.

But I understand you accepting them if it means you’d lose income if you didn’t — and at the end of the day you must get paid, because snorting cocaine off the naked ass of a Brazilian hooker in a Park Lane hotel penthouse isn’t cheap these days. In that case, I’d not only accept the adverts of the legitimate and kosher and safe skin lightening creams, I’d accept the dangerous ones too, after all, as I say, bathing six Japanese and French courtesans in Cristal champagne as you wait for your Colombian contact to deliver your powder can put a dent in your wallet sometimes.

#80 Comment By Sofia On 26th September, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

Ravi I was not just saying this about Indians..i just said light and dark sisters….it could be Indian, Pakistani, bangladeshi..whatever…also if you want crude caricatures turn on sony/zee/venus or any other racist Asian sky channel

#81 Comment By Sunny On 26th September, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

I can’t remember anyone saying that you are anti-white (no-one intelligent anyway), so why put that in?

I get accused of it every time I start a thread about the bias towards light skin in Asian cultures! have a look at the thread I linked to… and the original story where I condemned the above ad. It’s the same every time.

The irony that this pale person, who condemns bias against dark skin, is being condemned for thus harbouring secret bias against pale skin! The mind boggles.

#82 Comment By Sunny On 26th September, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

And Kismet, sorry mate I know you love defending your magazine but the idea that Asian mags don’t perpetuate this rubbishness… is bollocks.

#83 Comment By TheFriendlyInfidel On 26th September, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

And Kismet, sorry mate I know you love defending your magazine but the idea that Asian mags don’t perpetuate this rubbishness… is bollocks.

Is that mixing up correlation and causation?

Besides I don’t feel that you have a secret bias against white skin, only that you often divide the population that way.

Personally I don’t think that is a useful or constructive thing to do. It certinaly isn’t progressive. We are all pink otherneath and all that.

TFI

#84 Comment By Don On 26th September, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

Kismet,

You run scary black magic adverts? And I’m guessing we’re not talking chocolates here. We need to see some examples.

Mind you, it’s an interesting point to compare electrolysis with skin whitening. Do we hear voices condemning cultural preferences for women without visible facial hair?

And of course TFI isn’t Amir. He employs an entirely different selection of logical fallacies. Just kidding. Seriously, Amir was often annoying but I hope he is ok. Poor guy was seriously falling apart towards the end.

#85 Comment By Nyrone On 26th September, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

I think your honesty is great Kismet, and at least you sort of acknowledge the ethical rammifications instead of pulling out a self-delusional gun and trying to play it to the crowd and yourself..

Man gotta get paid, it’s the bottom line here..but surely it’s a little soul-destroying to know that you are playing a key part in putting this crap out there…

It’s your decision to make, and you’ve made it…but I don’t think you can argue that somebody else will fill the gap if you stopped doing it, ppl who believe in the thrust of what they do ethically lose out in the short-term anyway, and often in the long-term too:)

#86 Comment By Bruno On 26th September, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

I don’t agree with your use of the expression “reverse racism”. I think it’s more appropriate to talk about “anti-white racism”. the “reverse racism” expression actually promotes racist stereotypes against white people. Saying “reverse racism” implies there is a “norm” in racism (white people’s racism toward other racial groups) and that racism is, somehow, a “white thing”, which is wrong and prejudiced.

Please see my page : [5] reverse racism Vs anti-white racism

#87 Comment By Jai in CSI: Slough On 26th September, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

*Jai stylishly takes his shades off again*

Crikey Sunny, 85 posts in one day on a thread about skin-colour amongst Asians — you’re giving Sepia Mutiny a run for their money. Now all we need is more indignant South Indians ranting about “Aryan Invasion Theory-obsessed Punjabis with Scythian delusions” in order to take this to 400+ posts. Sonia’s already reprazenting the Bengali contingent.

I can’t wait for the comments about how “pasty Angelina Jolie” is far less attractive than that “authentically-brown curvaceous Lemurian cinnammon hottie with the mouthwatering kundi” in the cubicle next to them.

No offence to any Southies here, I’m just kidding around ;)

*Jai stylishly puts his shades on again, gets back in his Humvee and drives off. Fade to black*

#88 Comment By tfi On 26th September, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

I’ve friends who work with the MOD. Kismits dilema is no different.

TFI

#89 Comment By Rumbold On 26th September, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

Sunny may be a muesli-eating, Guardian-reading leftie eco-hippie who is psychologically unbalanced due to the fact that he does not eat meat, but he is not anti-white.

Some of Sunny’s best friends are white.

89 comments and nobody has blamed the whole thing on the Mughals- well done.

#90 Comment By Ravi Naik On 26th September, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

“I can’t wait for the comments about how “pasty Angelina Jolie” is far less attractive than that “authentically-brown curvaceous Lemurian cinnammon hottie with the mouthwatering kundi” in the cubicle next to them. “

I see you are responsible for the 400+ messages in SM. :) Fortunately, this crowd is more mature. And for your information, I did meet a gorgeous girl from Kerala, who in my view, was much better looking that Angelina Jolie. I am not a southie or a northie, but from the West of India… so I am impartial. :)

#91 Comment By Jagdeep On 26th September, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

89 comments and nobody has blamed the whole thing on the Mughals- well done

I was just about to mention them actually

#92 Comment By A N N A On 26th September, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

Crikey Sunny, 85 posts in one day on a thread about skin-colour amongst Asians — you’re giving Sepia Mutiny a run for their money.

For someone who does not deign to comment at SM, you certainly mention it a lot.

Now all we need is more indignant South Indians ranting about “Aryan Invasion Theory-obsessed Punjabis with Scythian delusions” in order to take this to 400+ posts.

Your need could be met in seconds, but I doubt you really want it. And “delusion” is the correct word to pair with “Scythian”. We didn’t invent that term or use it first; one of your Punjabi brethren did, on our site, in a stunning display of ignorance, stupidity and self-hate.

I can’t wait for the comments about how “pasty Angelina Jolie” is far less attractive than that “authentically-brown curvaceous Lemurian cinnammon hottie with the mouthwatering kundi” in the cubicle next to them.

Ah, so you lurk, but don’t comment. That sentence proves it; “Lemurian” is a very recent meme. And I resemble that remark, so I’ll take even more offense, if you don’t mind, thanks.

You know, Jai…I respected you so much. I did nothing but praise and defend you on SM, from sundry idiots who may have actually had a kernel of truth buried in their rants, which you are still apparently bitter over, since you’ve referenced them in this thread.

I had you up on this pedestal, for your brilliant writing, your wit, your kindness. I randomly come to this post, after months of wondering what ever happened to one of my favorite commenters…and lo, I have found an answer that I would have been happier without.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a busy evening wherein I must fret over race as well as how uncivil south asian blogs/communities can be- I’m a darkie, South Indian with American citizenship, so the former is apparently a duty according to you lot and the latter, well, Jai, you were once a generous gentleman- let your last kindness to me be such an allowance.

#93 Comment By The Dude On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

I’ve just watched the full trailer on You Tube….unfucking believable! Now I know why I hate Bollywood movies so much. I’ll stick with the porn….it’s healthy for mind, body and soul.

#94 Comment By The Dude On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:05 pm

It’s the 21st century and we’re still peddling this shit. Fuck! When are we as a people going to grow up?

#95 Comment By BevanKieran On 26th September, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

I saw an advert on Zee TV by Pharmaclinix and it looks like they have switched the name from Lightenex to Scar Repairex; I don’t know if the trade descriptions act applies to the seller wholly and not the purchaser who may intend the product for a different use.

When I have mentioned this issue at work, the arguments against it tend be health and safety; this is based on the (big) assumption we have largely dropped the colour prejudice of the sub-continent. Michael Jackson is a case of what can go seriously wrong with the use of this type of cream, and re post 17, if more evidence comes to light about the cancer causing properties then presumably it would be banned or have a warning label like cigarettes do.

This issue can get diluted by the fact that everyone seems to be using cosmetics of some sort. More and more men are buying into the whole beauty management thing, even hookers (a Rugby playing position) who by right should be among ugliest people on earth, are taking it up.

[6] http://cafe.azul.raindrop.jp/images/dmitri.jpg

#96 Comment By Rohin On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:36 am

I wish to return to Kismet’s point. I actually support him. I agree it’s ludicrous to blame magazines for creating or popularising beliefs like fair is good amongst Asians. Come on, this is such a deep-set belief it could almost be genetic.

Here’s [7] my post from last year rounding up the world situation of skin-lightening.

You know that awkward feeling you get when two of your mates have a tiff and you don’t really want to take sides? Yeah I kind of feel it between Jai and ANNA. Ummm…er…cup of tea?

#97 Comment By Sunny On 27th September, 2007 @ 1:58 am

Yeah I kind of feel it between Jai and ANNA. Ummm…er…cup of tea?

this DHAAL is fantastic yaar!

#98 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 27th September, 2007 @ 10:04 am

“And Kismet, sorry mate I know you love defending your magazine but the idea that Asian mags don’t perpetuate this rubbishness… is bollocks.”

Eloquently put Sunny.

It’s not dangerous. We don’t condone it in the editorial body that defines the mag. Women buy it. So we run the adverts.

You know saying things that sound right-on isn’t a reflection of the real world. You know that right?

#99 Comment By Sofia On 27th September, 2007 @ 10:17 am

Kismet..so how many “darkie” models do you have on your magazine…?? or do we just tan up the white ones

#100 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 27th September, 2007 @ 10:49 am

Not as many as you’d like to see but a great deal more than there are in Pakistani and Indian magazines. Go figure

And seeing as I’m in a hormonal mood today, I may as well be antagonising. Stop being racist towards fair skinned and thin people. It’s your insecurity. Not theirs. Keep it “real”!

#101 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 10:53 am

“It’s not dangerous. We don’t condone it in the editorial body that defines the mag. Women buy it. So we run the adverts.”

But Kismet, shouldn’t there be some responsbility on the part of the editorial body inthe kind of ads it puts in the mag? Isn’t there something you would object to? Or the real world works like a whorehouse?

#102 Pingback By Robert Sharp » Blog Archive » The Contradictions of Beauty On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:11 am

[…] Politics has a 100 comment debate on the politics of skin whitening, after Bollywood superstar Shakrukh Khan endorsed a product (h/t […]

#103 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:23 am

“Ah, so you lurk, but don’t comment. That sentence proves it; “Lemurian” is a very recent meme. And I resemble that remark, so I’ll take even more offense, if you don’t mind, thanks.”

Sepia mutiny, in my view, is too divisive in terms of North and South. Which is really amazing considering that the Indian diaspora should be above this petty divide. Rather than focusing on what we have in common - and I would say a lot, many of the posts seem to over-analyse the writings of anonymous racists, who as you say - show a stunning display of ignorance, stupidity and self-hate.

Unless this display of stupidity and ignorance is prevalent among certain types of indians, why indulge in the stupidity and self-hate of a few? This only increases the divide and resentment.

#104 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:27 am

Rohin,

Yeah I kind of feel it between Jai and ANNA. Ummm…er…cup of tea?

I know, mate. Dear oh dear.

#105 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:27 am

ANNA,

Nice of you to drop by. I was wondering if you were lurking here and were going to voice your objections, particularly in response to my own deliberate referencing of SM.

I think you’re missing a couple of fundamental points. Firstly, I was specifically referring to sections of your commenting audience on SM — not any of the Mutineers and certainly not you specifically. Secondly, it was an observation based on the gradual transformation in the overall vibe on your blog over a long period of time, and although I was indeed partially referring to one of the most demented, arrogant idiots I’ve ever seen on any South Asian discussion forum (incidentally, an individual you referred to as “one of the more sensitive commenters on SM” a few months ago — another reason why I pulled the plug on my participation on your blog), I was also speaking much more generally, because — as Sunny also remarked upon in his article — these topics come up on SM time and time again and spark hundreds of comments from your fellow American-based South Indians. Sunny’s statement about how, by comparison, the north Indian-dominated British South Asian crowd don’t become so irate about the issue was right on the money, and as you may recall I made the same observation several times myself when I used to comment on SM. I know you’re very proud of that blog, and in some ways justifiably so, and I’m sorry if this unintentionally hurts your feelings as a result, but it’s absolutely correct to state that large sections of your commenting audience are absolutely obsessed with racial issues in general along with matters concerning South Asian skin colour in particular, and the hypersensitivity is a stark contrast to the attitude amongst British South Asians on PP and in the United Kingdom as a whole.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I also made it very clear indeed that several of my comments on this thread were in jest, particularly the 3 “red font” paragraphs you’ve quoted in your post. Now you can take that personally, and you can become “even more offended” as a result, but a) it’s a complete misinterpretation of the tone which was blindingly obvious to everyone else here, and b) it’s a very self-centred response. I can’t believe you’re offended by my good-natured humorous imitation of the jokes some of the South Indian guys on SM make about “Lemurian” and whatnot because you actually think it was somehow a barbed insult aimed at women resembling your appearance. It’s called satire, and not the nasty kind either. Not everything is about you, Anna, and I’m saying that as a friend, not in a malicious way.

Your comments are even more inappropriate considering that we on Pickled Politics already had a related discussion a few weeks ago where several of us, myself included, stated emphatically how unfair this attitude is within South Asian society and towards women in particular. I see that you’re unaware of this, and the irony is that you’ve fallen into exactly the same trap that you’ve warned new/sporadic commenters on SM about, namely that one should beware of firing off indignant remarks or presumptious accusations if one is not aware of the overall history behind the accused party’s thoughts and the wider context of their conversations on the blog concerned.

I’m sorry Anna, but you’ve just proved my point. The hypersensitivity, paranoia and belligerence about this entire issue is endemic in some quarters of SM — which you seem to have absorbed yourself to some extent, and it’s a noticeably different response to the more balanced, calm and objective attitude on your part which I was previously more familiar with (I’ve observed that gradually happening to some long-term commenters on SM too). I don’t know if the South Indian contingent on your blog is indicative of what southies in the US are like as a whole, but many of those on SM clearly have a massive, massive problem towards North Indians and — to use the cliche and somewhat outmoded term — people of so-called stereotypically “Indo-Aryan” appearance (especially women who look like that), there is some serious prejudice towards Punjabis in particular (and dragging out obscure wingnut comments about “Scythians” certainly doesn’t help, as it just gave the lynch mob yet another excuse to tear into Punjabis — and yes, I know that you were the person responsible for writing that article on SM), there’s a staggering amount of hypocrisy and double-standards where people (rightly) object to derogatory remarks about “dark” South Asians yet they simultaneously think it’s perfectly acceptable to make deliberatly-insulting, flippant sideswipes using terms such as “pasty” etc, and excuse it with bullsh*t about “colour privilege” and so on.

The irony is that, historically, expressions of racial and cultural prejudice & superiority towards southies by the northie commenters on SM have been very rare indeed; unfortunately, the reverse is not the case, especially in recent times as a result of the noticeable influx of new South Indian participants. At times it feels like your core audience there is trying to turn SM into some kind of South Indian supremacist website. It’s driven a lot of people away, including me, whether you are aware of it or not or even whether you admit it or not.

Now you can acknowledge this as constructive criticism with more than a “kernel of truth” in it, and you can apologise for coming onto Sunny Hundal’s blog and ranting at me as a result of wildly misinterpreting the context of my comments, or you can carry on assuming yet again that I’ve been referring to you personally and you can continue to unjustifiably insult me. It’s up to you.

#106 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:40 am

Sepia mutiny, in my view, is too divisive in terms of North and South. Which is really amazing considering that the Indian diaspora should be above this petty divide. Rather than focusing on what we have in common - and I would say a lot, many of the posts seem to over-analyse the writings of anonymous racists, who as you say - show a stunning display of ignorance, stupidity and self-hate…..Unless this display of stupidity and ignorance is prevalent among certain types of indians, why indulge in the stupidity and self-hate of a few? This only increases the divide and resentment.

My point exactly, Ravi buddy. Thank you.

#107 Comment By Jherad On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:52 am

I’d agree with Tim Worstall’s comment about skin tone reflecting social status, but think we have to look a little harder at the *reason*.

In the UK, the fashions of skin tone have been about wealth and health - whether you had to work outdoors or not, more recently whether you’ve spent a few weeks in Benidorm, and during a certain period, a tan was perceived as being healthy.

The lightening of dark skin, whilst it may convey social status, does not do so because the person may have been on holiday, or spent more time working indoors. It simply makes them look more like a white person. This is a worldwide trend - in Hollywood, the black african american female playing the role of a pretty heroine or love interest generally has straight hair (god forbid afro) and light skin.

#108 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:55 am

kulvinder’s point in no. whatever it was is a good point - fashion and social pressure exist everywhere.

i think there are similar patterns around the world, things have been changing at different periods.

the tanning thing is tied up with being off to ‘exotic’ and glamorous far-off places. and what is fashionable has morphed from the old days, when a peaches-n-cream complexion was the vogue ( because it showed you obviously weren’t a peasant running around outside getting leathery skin and freckles. similar to being a lady of leisure with the luxury of being in the shade in the indian subcontinent.)

intriguingly, apparently there is now a similar shift happening in china. for centuries they’ve had a similar dynamic of ‘prizing’ dainty females sitting in the shade with milky complexions, over the weather-beaten sun-browned “peasant”look, and now tanning salons are apparently very popular for young Chinese yuppie equivalents, because it shows disposable income, consumerism, foreign holidays etc. etc.

#109 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 11:59 am

“It’s driven a lot of people away, including me, whether you are aware of it or not or even whether you admit it or not.”

The pasty flight? ;)

#110 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

anyway the whole point is really that it doesn’t matter what colour of skin is in vogue, or what fashion, where. its about being able to examine the social dynamics that are set up -which is interesting, and very revealing about our social psychology, groups, and expectations of conformity.

#111 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

and yes - all those things apply to all of us, regardless of race, obviously race is itself a social construct and an example of how we understand groupings as an exclusive thing.

#112 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

Ravi,

Here’s the thing

Skin lightening creams may well be for insecure women, but ultimately they are women who want to use a product to feel better

The preacher says: no, strong woman, you do not need this. You are beautiful fat and hairy

The mag says: Oh, here’s a must-have

Don’t you get it? Say no to skin lightening cream because it’s superficial, then say no to make-up because it’s superficial. Hell, say no to stupidly expensive shoes and accessorries and haute couture and fashion altogether

WOMEN DON’T NEED ANY OF THIS STUFF

But they want it

It’s arrogant and downright up one’s own arse for anyone else to suggest they’re shallow because of it

#113 Comment By s-i-m On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

Well…. I have been reading these comments and i’m sorry but I can’t help being thinking, that this guy (Jai) is full of hate and prejudice himself. I read both SM and PP regularly and i know that apart from an isolated hate-monger (or two), the vast majority of posters and commenters in both places are a tolerant bunch.

Sunny: “South Indian dominated American-Indian nation”? Why do you say that? Do you have numbers to back this claim up or was this just an off-the-cuff phrase?

#114 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

“It’s arrogant and downright up one’s own arse for anyone else to suggest they’re shallow because of it”

But that’s not the point, is it? It is about who perpetuates insecurities. I am not naive to say that magazines are all to blame, as I believe parenting has a lot to say in this matter. But my question was whether magazines work like whorehouses, anything goes to highest bidder, regardless of the consequences.

Good marketting is about making us buy things we don’t need, and it feeds on our insecurities, fears, and so on. I am just wondering if you believe that the media has some responsability, and whether there is a line that should not be crossed. For instance, do you agree that cigarette ads should be shown? After all, it shows a product that people want and make them feel better…

#115 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 27th September, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

Cigarette ads wouldn’t be used because it’s not legal. If it’s legal and not dangerous and in demand, it’s only fair to run it

The whorehouse analogy is a bit extreme – the print media runs on the wheels of the advertising engine and while there’s no doubt that is powered in some way by satan – the only way a magazine can be ethical and moral is to drive the point home through their editorial content

Which is: be proud of who you are. (in sotto voice: And if the cosmetic adverts don’t appeal to you, good for you. They’re there for those who need it)

Bottom line: magazines reflect society. If they don’t they go out of business. Society, and in my niche that means the fashion & beauty minded Asian woman prefer the image of a tall, thin, fair-skinned woman. It’s what’s known as aspirational

The fact that you don’t aspire to it is neither here nor there

#116 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

magazines reflect society.

I agree with you that this is the bottom line. And that you believe that society is in no way reflected by the media and advertisers.

I believe that there is a cycle between society and media that feeds one another, and it is entirely possible for the media to end this cycle. Otherwise, you would not have ads, TV shows and movies of blacks and minorities in the US, because the majority of americans - who are white - would not like it. At least that was the discourse not long ago.

#117 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

“Sonia’s already reprazenting the Bengali contingent.”

i dont represent anyone apart from myself, thanks jai :-)( as i’m sure the bengali contingent would agree!)

anyway as far as i can see, any criticism that can be applied to Sepia Mutiny, can be applied to Pickled politics too. its simply a matter of relativity.

#118 Comment By Ravi Naik On 27th September, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

By the way, Kismet, I am not trying to antagonise you or anything. I envy your [8] line of work, and I think you are pretty decent guy. But there are lots of examples where the media has been shown to have an impact - negative and positive - on society.

#119 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

if people think SM is obsessed with north-south divide in india then methinks PP can equally be obsessed with another divide- white-asian divides. who’s to say whose obsession is right or wrong? this thread is rapidly degenerating into comments on people’s skin colour ( i dont see any relevance of bringing in various people’s complexion!!) and SM vs. PP as forums. who cares? different people go different places, let’s not have people up on their high horses on which group is better. !! ( how ironic)

#120 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 27th September, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

Ravi, the respect is mutual. I totally agree with most of what’s said here, but I make a point not to be a hypocrite in life. I’ve grown up a lot since the days of saying the right-on thing just to be popular

:-)

#121 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

Sonia,

i dont represent anyone apart from myself, thanks jai :-)

You know me well enough to know that I was just kidding there too ! Don’t you dare start having a go at me as well ;)

anyway as far as i can see, any criticism that can be applied to Sepia Mutiny, can be applied to Pickled politics too. its simply a matter of relativity.

Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree there, but as long as people understand that any criticism is intended from a constructive and objective point of view rather than being motivated by anything malevolent, that’s what matters. If one has a mature and reasonable mindset then one can take that on-board in the spirit that it was meant, if not then that’s regrettable but unavoidable.

*******************

Kismet,

I’ve grown up a lot since the days of saying the right-on thing just to be popular

I agree completely and have the same attitude myself. Which, to some extent, appears to be the cause behind some of the friction here and also the reason why I decided PP was a better home for me than a certain other blog I used to frequent. I’m not a believer in blindly repeating the party line just because that’s automatically expected of people. However, for a political blog, PP is sometimes a lot less unquestioningly politically-correct in some issues than one might expect. Which is generally a good thing because it allows a more honest discussion.

Anyway, bottom line on this thread’s main topic is that it’s a bad idea for SRK to be involved in that product because it continues to promote skewed notions of attractiveness (amongst Indian men in this case). However, I can’t imagine any Asian guys I’ve ever met here in the UK ever using this because generally they’re not particularly fixated on their skin-colour, frowns from disapproving brainwashed aunties notwithstanding.

On the female side, I’d expect concern (or arrogance) over one’s own skin colour is probably a bigger deal amongst “Sangeeta” who very heavily socialises with other Asians and expects to marry an Asian guy (either via dating or arranged marriage), rather than amongst people like “Kuljit aka Kelly” whose contact with the Asian crew is fairly limited and/or who plans to marry her live-in boyfriend Robert, so to speak. To use two extreme but generalised stereotypes.

#122 Comment By justforfun On 27th September, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

Jai - Do you fish? You should try taking it up, as you seem to be able to reel them in quickly. Just been over to the erm.. hem …- the other side for a quick looksee - and would you believe it - the first discussion I read is about the relative skin colours of the the two Gandhi children :-) and its not even a thread on skin colour, but rather the Nehru dynasty.

Anyway we know your broad Punjabi shoulders can take the strain so don’t get hung up about it. Just make sure you wear a glove on the hand which has tattooed HATE, but of course leave the one with LOVE ungloved.

Justforfun

#123 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

Anna,

This is to supplement my post #105: I have to stress that I have been speaking generally and my comments are based on observations over a long period of time. The negative behaviour which I perceive in some quarters of SM’s audience obviously fluctuates, and I’ve noticed a marked attempt by the Mutineers (Abhi and Ennis in particular) to steer SM back on course recently with the political, historical and general culture articles which SM has always been famous for.

You should not think I am dismissing SM outright or condemning the discussions therein as worthless; only that some Southie commenters are given too much leeway to make offensive remarks that go unanswered, and that discussions about race and skin-colour sometimes escalate wildly out of control (from a British South Asian perspective) and give some of your more prejudiced South Indian contingent far too much freedom to attack North Indians, particularly Punjabis, who (for some reason) regularly seem to be the villains de jour amongst some sections of your commenting population. Again, this comes from the commenters, not the Mutineers — although I would say it’s not a good idea to give the offensive parties yet another avenue to launch their bigoted views by deliberately posting articles on certain areas when, based on numerous precedents, you know exactly what will happen.

This doesn’t mean that certain contentious issues shouldn’t be discussed, but when such debates repeatedly become exploited as a forum for some parties to vent their bitterness and (more pointedly) prejudices without any constructive conclusions, then I don’t think it facilitates a positive and healthy discourse. And Ravi’s points on this thread about the divisiveness is spot-on. Again, this is something I stated myself during my time on SM, and another reason why I discreetly removed myself from the party, with the intention that this would be a temporary step until I felt the situation improved. In more recent times, the latter has indeed been the case, although I still think this is erratic.

I do appreciate your kind words, and I’m well aware of your repeated interventions on my behalf on SM, which I tremendously appreciate. You should not think there has been any negative change in my personality. I am aware that this issue affects many South Asian women very badly indeed — I have close female relatives whose lives are being impacted by this as we speak — and, to quote one of your own remarks to me on a related discussion on SM, “it’s hard for girls”. I know all about that, I have nothing but compassion for girls who are affected badly by all this, and I have never said anything nasty towards (or about) any of our darker desi sisters in my entire life.

I hope you bear in mind that the only reason I am taking the time out to write such a long message here in order to clarify things is because it’s “you”, and you know what a positive mindset I have towards you. In most other cases I would not necessarily have been this patient, understanding or polite, so I hope you appreciate that much at least.

#124 Comment By sonia On 27th September, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

heh jai, yeah i know you was kidding, no dont worry im not having a go with you :-)

interesting summing up of ‘debate’ as well.

#125 Comment By Don On 27th September, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

Didn’t know where else to put this, so

[9] http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2178553,00.html

#126 Comment By Jai On 27th September, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

Justforfun,

Just been over to the erm.. hem …- the other side for a quick looksee - and would you believe it - the first discussion I read is about the relative skin colours of the the two Gandhi children and its not even a thread on skin colour, but rather the Nehru dynasty.

Yeah I noticed that too, although I should mention that the two individuals concerned are great guys and not prone to fixations about race, skin-colour etc. *shrug* It was just a quick exchange between them anyway, although obviously it was a somewhat curious point to raise from our Brit Asian perspective. *shrug again*. Whatever.

Just make sure you wear a glove on the hand which has tattooed HATE, but of course leave the one with LOVE ungloved.

Bah, I don’t hate anyone man, I just don’t like it when people complain about prejudice towards them from certain parties when they simultaneously display the same type of prejudice towards those they are accusing of, er, prejudice. Or when people repeatedly complain about prejudice without really doing anything concrete to overcome that prejudice. Complaining is easy, but beyond a certain point it’s, well, pointless. Stepping one’s own game up is the hard part, but everyone has their own cr*p to overcome, one way or another. If it ain’t skin colour then it’s something else (looks/physique/voice/hair or lack of it/education/money/etc etc).

Let’s draw another analogy: A guy is short. Not Danny DeVito short, but Michael J Fox short. Like skin colour, this is one of the few things you can’t fundamentally change, beyond HGH injections in childhood. Which guy do you think has the better attitude: The one who frequently complains about the hassle he gets as a result of his (lack of) height and thereby keeps drawing attention to it, or the one who maximises everything else about himself and never mentions his height at all ? Who displays a more constructive, less insecure mindset ? Who will elicit a more positive reaction from people in general, including women in a romantic sense ?

I think you know the answer.

Now if you don’t mind, I have to think of a suitably witty CSI-themed remark. Look, I’m even already wearing my Horatio Caine shades 8)

#127 Comment By justforfun On 27th September, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

Jai - no worries about the “hate” - it was a meant as jest - Sims comment just was so absurd it provoked the absurd image of you as Omid Djalili in a string vest , but with HATE & LOVE tattooed accross accross the knuckles. Says more about me than you - but I had a laugh anyway.

I saw it was Razib on SM - I read his blog often - he was just pandering to the audience, but he often points out on his blog that skin colour is not a simple matter and that the Indian genome is not all that diverse (or did I see that elsewhere), so while he plays and understands the science, others take this sort of stuff out of context and don’t see the humour in his work.

Anyway what is about you Sikhs - Kulvinder is now being cyberstalked by another Anna?

Justforfun

#128 Comment By Nyrone On 27th September, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

Arrested? Shilpa Shetty was arrested???
Bloody hell, doesn’t India have bigger problems than Gere and Shilpa sharing a hug and kiss?
Do these people no longer watch modern Bollywood movies?

#129 Comment By Kulvinder On 27th September, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

Hard-line Hindus claimed that the action was in violation of the country’s anti-obscenity laws.

There wasn’t even a hamster involved…

Obviously the entire thing is pointless and idiotic.

#130 Comment By desi On 27th September, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

The issue at SM lately is that it has become a clique, like Jai eloquently mentioned there is a large divide and some regulars revel in the division. Although the authors are generally fair, some favorite commenters get away with murder and some noobies are uncermoniously chastised. There has been a flight of quality with long time commenters such as Jai and old authors such as siddharth and Manish abandoning the site.
There is an unhealthy obession with color and things which have stopped being relevant in other quarters 10 years back. I think this obsession says a lot of about the mix of immigrants in America compared to the U.K.

#131 Comment By Rohin On 27th September, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

I like the height analogy. I’m fine with my height so it’s something I never really think about. But I know other people who are equally-shorted and they bleat on about it the whole time.

What I find even lamer is tall people who LOVE to mention their height at every opportunity, especially when it isn’t anything to do with anything. Like people who respond to a discussion about skin colour with “well I’m quite fair but…”

I want to be a lone voice in agreement with Kismet, although in the last 30 comments or so he seems to have made people understand his point very well. Perhaps it’s cos I’ve edited a publication with a clear target audience as well, that I can see a few problems with the argument that Kismet’s magazine is guilty of tonism.

‘The media’ is not a homogeneous body, publications that exist to challenge the status quo and campaign for change are great (eg blogs) but one also needs a place for fluffier stuff. I’m sure you won’t take it as offence Kismet, to say that your magazine exists to cater to Asian women who want to look nice and be liked. There’s nothing wrong with that, and frankly people will always aspire to be something they’re not. We also should not conflate all the fairness creams together - the ads that Asiana runs are not for creams that have been shown to be harmful.

Sunny himself recently chastised me for saying Indian women (in India) were too busy having a good time to be pushing for equal rights, the phrase was something like “I object to the notion that women should continually be agitating for something”. Likewise you can’t criticise a magazine like Asiana for using models that look the way Asian women want to look.

Lastly, the mag does also carry articles that reflect other things Asian women want to be - successful, resilient, popular etc. No one would criticise that. It’s all part of the same mentality.

#132 Comment By Ravi Naik On 28th September, 2007 @ 11:06 am

“Likewise you can’t criticise a magazine like Asiana for using models that look the way Asian women want to look.”

The hell I can’t. Mind you this is not about Kismet or Asiana, and this is not meant to be personal. There is absolutely no doubt that magazines/media are a business, and they should try to maximise profit. But really, it baffles me that we are still debating whether media has an impact on society. Of course it does: marketing, ads are all about influencing people. How did smoking become so prevalent among young people? This is well documented.

The Indian subcontinent is incredibly diverse, but the media seems to be focus on one type of beauty, and I really don’t buy the idea that Indians are so shallow and full of self-hate that they would not buy magazines if these started reflecting this diversity.

The same happens in Bollywood. You see that they follow the same formula for over decades, and the reasoning is that they are just providing what people like. Which is to say, Indians are not sophisticated enough to appreciate an intelligent plot, or appreciate something different for a change.

#133 Comment By Ravi Naik On 28th September, 2007 @ 11:21 am

And I find it ironic, to say the least, that 3 of the most successful shows in the US right now feature dark south Indians: Heroes (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Lost (Naveen Andrews), and the Office (Mindy Kaling). I can imagine their chances in finding work in the myopic world of Indian media. Maybe when these type of shows air in India, then perhaps these perceptions of beauty will change.

#134 Comment By Jai On 28th September, 2007 @ 11:21 am

Rohin,

Like people who respond to a discussion about skin colour with “well I’m quite fair but…”

Well, it depends on the specific context. If they’re just using it as an opportunity to boast, then yes of course it’s lame. On the other hand, if they’re mentioning it in order to place their own comments into their proper context, eg. if they forcefully disagree with prejudice towards darker folk but want to emphasise that this is driven by compassion, not because they have a chip about the issue on their own shoulders (since it doesn’t apply to them personally), then it makes complete sense, especially if there is a history or risk of accusations of the latter on the discussion forum concerned.

Particularly when you consider that discussions across the internet don’t allow one to see what the other party looks like and (in this case) necessarily understand “where they’re coming from”, unless you have your own blog with photos of yourself on it. One of the issues with anonymous chats across the ‘net.

Our friend across the Pond still owes me an apology, incidentally.

#135 Comment By Jai On 28th September, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

I can’t believe I let this one slip by…..

And for your information, I did meet a gorgeous girl from Kerala, who in my view, was much better looking that Angelina Jolie. I am not a southie or a northie, but from the West of India… so I am impartial.

Tauba tauba tauba. Ravi, that’s got to be the most offensive comment I’ve ever read on any thread on any discussion forum in my life. Nobody is hotter than Angelina. Nobody. Shame on you for even jokingly making such a heinous assertion.

#136 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

“Likewise you can’t criticise a magazine like Asiana for using models that look the way Asian women want to look.” what like gormless pouting tanned white women?
As Gina Yashere so eloquently puts it, I don’t fink so…

#137 Comment By sonia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

i think asian women’s mags are slowly going for the mixed up look - there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have ‘white’ women in the mags - (what would we do if mainstream media refused to have “brown” people?) - and similarly no reason why they shouldn’t have the rainbow of colours that you find - everything from ‘wheatish’ to ‘mocha’ etc. saris look beautiful on all sorts of women, right

#138 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

Ravi, you forget parminder nagra, although she isn’t south indian.

#139 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

Sonia that would be fine if they had the dark models too..its hard enough for dark models to find high paid jobs as it is..let alone magazines that are catering the asian community to pander to pale skinned asian women…

#140 Comment By sonia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

ravi, i agree with your comment in 132- i cant also believe that some people are pretending media doesn’t have an impact on society. we only have to look at advertising revenue, and the fact that increasingly, and the fact that the media and politics are becoming very hard to disentangle - media personalities trying to become politicians and vice versa.

#141 Comment By sonia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

well i guess what i’m saying is that we need to encourage them TO find darker models. the problem is that media effects are not linear - either way - its more of a complex interaction.

what is interesting though is that im sure the asian media world has noted the fact that some successful asian models/faces who have made the cross-over - aren’t necessarily what we consider ‘fair-skinned’ models - but are dark by indian standards.

#142 Comment By sonia On 28th September, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

i think the difficulty is that it is like the chicken and egg question, which came first? and yes, lets not get personal about kismet’s magazine. its more than a straight 2 way street, its much more complex and subtle interaction and intertwingling. ( i love that word) asiana thinks well i want to sell magazines, what do women want to see? their short-term solution will be one thing. when they gauge a change, they’ll try and go with it. and so on and so forth.

#143 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

A ‘fair’ point that perhaps should have been made in ‘light’ of the subject matter (ho ho)

Shah Rukh Khan is dark

#144 Comment By Jai in CSI: Ilford On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

Shah Rukh Khan is dark

Dark by British Asian standards. He’s not dark compared to most of the population back in India.

#145 Comment By Sid On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

This discussion is so wrong on so many levels.

#146 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

sid please elaborate
I’m still really pissed at Asian magazines…we wanted a magazine that reflected something about Asian culture and the varied experiences of Asians in this country, and what do we get? nothing of the sort. As for Asians on tv…where are they apart from bloddy benders on bbc…with the same actors doing the rounds…nina wadia is everywhere…are there no other up and coming Asian actors?? I’m getting bored of Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal..

#147 Comment By Jai in CSI: Wembley On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

A little birdie once told me that the reason there are so many white female models at British Asian fashion shows (including “Zee melas” etc) is because apparently there aren’t enough professional Asian models around to participate in such things. So they use foxy white chicks with dyed-black hair instead. Yeah, I was surprised too — I’d assumed they were just pandering to desi stereotypes of beauty and extrapolating it to the nth degree by using the gauri sohniye, especially when the number of Asian models present was in the minority.

That’s the word on the street, anyway.

pouting tanned white women?

Are the reasons for using a disproportionate number of such models in Asiana, Asian Wedding etc the same as above ? Kismet ?

From a purely blokey point of view they’re pretty damn hot so I’m not complaining, but on the other hand I can fully understand why it would potentially be offensive to our Asian sisters, especially if they suspect something more nefarious is going on (and the number of white models is noticeably greater than the number of Asian girls).

Not that have a particular interest in checking out the photos in those Asian bridal magazines, mind you. I’ve just flicked through them on occasion at WHSmiths in Lakeside etc. You know, for scientific research purposes.

#148 Comment By Jai in CSI: Leicester On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:40 pm

are there no other up and coming Asian actors

There’s the dude in “Spooks”.

Ahsan/Ace Bhatti pops up on various shows from time to time too. And there was Laila Rouass on Footballers’ Wives.

Mmm, Laila.

Sorry folks, it’s Friday and I’m in a badmaash mood. Please bear with me.

#149 Comment By Soso On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

White ppl are not tanning because someone has told them they wont find a suitable partner because of their colour etc etc

You’re quite wrong, there, Sofia.

I’ve met white women ( co-workers) who’ve told me to my face that they can’t stand being so white. One even complained that her belly was so white, it was almost blueish like skim-milk.

For her first few tanning sessions of the season, she has to make sure there is absolutely no one else around for fear they’ll see how pale she is.

In Caucasian cultures *pale* is often associated with being weak, infirm and sickly, whereas tans are often described as “healthy” and for men a sign of greater virility.

That, of course, doesn’t justify the use of these creams; I merely want to point out that whites have a lot of hangups about their skin colour, as well.

Our “skin-tone” issues are just never thought about among Asians and Blacks; both seem to automatically assume that we don’t have problemes of this sort, but we do.

I can also say, from personnal experince, that many whites will go to great lengths to darken their complexions. I used to start tanning as soon as the sun’s rays became warm enough…usually the end of April…and I wouldn’t stop till October. I hated doing it; it was boring, VERY time consuming and often uncomfortably hot, but I’d nonetheless tough it out in the stubborn belief it made me more attractive.

#150 Comment By Ravi Naik On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

“I’m getting bored of Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal

I am still getting over the image of Sanjeev Bhaskar and his jokes about camels in one of his documentaries in India. He is just awful.

“Dark by British Asian standards.”

Now behave, Jai.

#151 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 28th September, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

Sofia, you haven’t READ the magazine, you’ve JUDGED it by its advertorial content. Irritating

And the rest of you want to know British Asian actors beyond Sanjeev & Meera?

Indira Verma (Rome/Whistleblowers)
Shelley Conn (Party Animals)
Laila Rouass (Footballers’ Wives)
Preeya Kalidas (Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat)
Naveen Chowdhury (Teachers/Nylon)
Naveen Andrews (Lost)
Archie Punjabi (A Mighty Heart)
Ameet Channa (Cash & Curry)
Babita Pohoomull (Eastenderders)
Zahra Ahmedi (Eastendenders)
Dev patel (Skins)
Sofia Hayat (Cash & Curry)
Ateesh Randevh
Pooja Shah
Shivani Ghai

Or you can go and buy one of these rubbish, useless asian magazines that write about them

#152 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

Jai - you moved from wembley to leicester in 3 minutes…??!
soso - I do think there is an issue with tanning, and maybe it is becoming moreso..but when you go on about caucasians think being pale is sickly then i’d disagree with that. As traditionally that was definitely not the case. Porcelain skins were a sign of nobility….as in Asian texts describing beauty..you only have to read a bit of persian poetry to see a running theme on female ideas of beauty..so although I do see your point, I feel the Asian skin colour issues are different.

#153 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

Kismet, no i’ve judged it by its cover…which is pretty much what a 100% of ppl will see first…
as for your list of actors and actresses… my point is that they dredge out the same old ones…over and over..and again..a lot of the ones you mentioned have quite European features.
I’m sorry if I’m coming across as judgemental, because I’m not like that, but I just wish someone out there would make a stand…and show women in all their diversity…

#154 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

Sofia, please read it. Go on, double my readership. But really, I truly try to serve the people that buy it

#155 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

Kismet - I can’t afford the extortionate £3.50 or whatever it is…and I admit I have enough hang ups about myself to make them worse by staring at how perfect model’s eyebrows are…make mine look like stalins

#156 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

Sofia, facebook me an address (click on my link) and I’ll be happy to send you a complimentary copy…

#157 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

Haha..actually if you’ve got any complimentary lightenex lying around..yeh I’d would lurrvvveee some of that…I’d obviously be using it for all those scars I have..

#158 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 28th September, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

Nothing like a bit of electrolysis to make you a better human being

#159 Comment By Jagdeep On 28th September, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

What’s your sales figures Kismet?

The wife was watching Zee Music last night about the launch of Indian Vogue. Basically all the luxury brands that advertise in Vogue are now in India and selling like wild fire to the rich and famous, so they’ve launched an exclusivelly Indian edition of Vogue.

#160 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

oh gawwwwddd…i love the indian middle class..esp the girls who’d hang around vasant kunj and vihar in Delhi going on about “how fantastic preeetyy..i’m goin to De Montfort University, I’m sooooooo looking forward to it”

Kismet.”Nothing like a bit of electrolysis to make you a better human being”…you sound just like my aunty, except she’d go further and talk about leepo…

#161 Comment By Jai in CSI: Lemington Spa On 28th September, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

Sofia,

and I admit I have enough hang ups about myself to make them worse by staring at how perfect model’s eyebrows are…make mine look like stalins

“Eyebrow threading” for the ladies is apparently very good.

Jai - you moved from wembley to leicester in 3 minutes…??!

Yeah, I drive a Humvee, remember. Compliments my sunglasses.

a lot of the ones you mentioned have quite European features.

Not all Asians look like that in Ol’ Blighty but it’s not necessarily that uncommon here, as we all know. Those actors & actresses would probably be less representative of the “average” Asian if we were referring to the average person back in India or, to some extent, the average Indian in the US.

***********

Ravi,

I am still getting over the image of Sanjeev Bhaskar and his jokes about camels in one of his documentaries in India. He is just awful.

The book accompanying the series was actually much better — it was a lot more serious and poignant, although obviously interspersed with plenty of humorous musings. Sanjeev’s a surprisingly good writer, and his style of writing reminds me of our very own Dr Rohin.

Now behave, Jai.

I’m still shocked by your unprovoked slanderous onslaught against Angelina. How VERY dare you.

#162 Comment By Sofia On 28th September, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

Jai, thank you kindly for the advice…between you and kismet i’m sure i’ll sort my self out..you lot ever thought of taking over the “10 years younger” show…

#163 Comment By Barbara Meinhoff On 29th September, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

Adjudication from the Advertising Standards Authority on RoopAmrit Fairness cream, and infomercials

[10] http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_42879.htm

Its not on Youtube from where I’ve looked.

This, you may recall, is the one where a woman knowingly explains to the audience: “Why would *anyone* want a black daughter-in-law?”

Also reports of it here:
[11] http://cities.expressindia.com/local-news/fullstory.php?newsid=135916

#164 Comment By Ravi Naik On 29th September, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

“I’m still shocked by your unprovoked slanderous onslaught against Angelina. How VERY dare you.

I guess you could have done worse than Angelina, Jai. :) In general, Hollywood and Bollywood actresses don’t do much for me. Don’t get me wrong, some actresses are like looking at a nude in an art gallery - you appreciate its beauty, but you don’t get excited about it.

To me the most attractive actress is Penelope Cruz. There, I said it. :)

#165 Comment By Jai On 30th September, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

Ravi,

Don’t get me wrong, some actresses are like looking at a nude in an art gallery - you appreciate its beauty, but you don’t get excited about it.

With all due respect to Junior B, Aishwarya has the same effect on me. In terms of beauty she’s as striking as Angelina, but she doesn’t provoke dark stirrings in me to want to do some “horizontal bhangra” with her. Ms Jolie*, however, is an entirely different matter…..

To me the most attractive actress is Penelope Cruz. There, I said it.

Interesting choice. I think she looks pretty stunning in those TV commercials for makeup she appears in (Max Factor ? Maybelline ? Can’t remember).

Along with Angelina, Monica Bellucci is another actress who scores 10/10 on Jai’s Sohnimeter.

By the way, on a tangential although not entirely unrelated note, I’ve posted a link on Clairwil’s Open Thread which you may like, since you seem to be a fan of classical-type music like me. Assuming that you like qawaalis, of course. And the girl is stunning too, although since I’m 34 (and she’s 18) she’s far too young for me to consider doing any type of bhangra with her (either horizontal or vertical) without feeling completely guilt-stricken at the notion. Anyway — pretty girl, superb singer, heartwarming music, so check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.

Ms Jolie*,

Oh alright, “Mrs Jolie-Pitt”. Don’t remind me…..

#166 Comment By Desi Italiana On 1st October, 2007 @ 10:31 am

Hello Sunny!

“Clearly, the Punjabi dominated British Asian nation does not get as worked up about the issue as the South Indian dominated American-Indian nation.”

Hon, where are you getting this stat that South Indians dominate the Indian American community? True, they make up a large chunk of the population given the current labor market of software engineers, but I don’t think this is correct (but I’m totally willing to concede if this is a fact…census stats, anyone?)

-”And unlike the race-obsessed crowd in Sepia Mutiny,”

“Clearly. They’re freaking demented about all this over there.”

Ok, but PP is seriously obsessed with religion. I haven’t come here in ages due to my job, but the rare times I click over, there’s always at least one post that shows up on the home page that talks about Muslims, or religion centered discourses. But maybe religion is a big, big deal in the UK. For us in the US, people are very skin color conscious, and you immediately get tagged as either from “here” or not (ie I still get asked how long I’ve been living in America though I was born and raised here and having the thickest Cali accent.)

#167 Comment By Jai On 2nd October, 2007 @ 11:52 am

Hi Desi Italiana,

Nice to see you back here.

Ok, but PP is seriously obsessed with religion…..But maybe religion is a big, big deal in the UK.

The average white Brit isn’t particularly religious at all — it’s very, very different to the US; however, the current obsession with Islam and Muslims here is due to the events of the last few years post-9/11 and 7/7. South Asians are the biggest non-white ethnic group in the UK, and since a lot of them are Muslims (the percentage within the desi population is considerably higher than it is for their counterparts in the US), they, and issues relating to them, have a much higher profile in Britain.

PP’s own apparent preoccupation is just a sign of the times, at least with regards to the desi community on this side of the Atlantic.

For us in the US, people are very skin color conscious,

It’s obvious that in some quarters this issue is fairly inflammatory and extremely sensitive (with people’s judgement being adversely affected), as indicated by what sometimes occurs on SM and also by the inappropriate reaction of your American sister higher up this thread. By the way, still no apology forthcoming from her, I see. Disappointing.

#168 Comment By Desi Italiana On 2nd October, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

Namaste Jai, nice to read your comments again :)

“The average white Brit isn’t particularly religious at all”

I didn’t think that at all; what I do think is that religion is very much discussed on PP (and here it’s difficult to separate PP from the current happenings in the UK itself; like I think it would be absurd to take SM comprehensively reflective of the US, Indian American, and South Asian American communities.)

“it’s very, very different to the US”

It depends where you are; here in the Bay Area (CA), white folks are not so religious. However, in some places like the South (and some parts out in the Midwest), Guns and God rule.

“It’s obvious that in some quarters this issue is fairly inflammatory and extremely sensitive (with people’s judgement being adversely affected), as indicated by what sometimes occurs on SM”

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Before you think SM is indicative of the Indian American community, think about the demographics of who has time to post numerous, long, long comments? It’s either if you’re a student or work at a job that allows you to do such. I also think that SM- like any blog- attracts like minded readers. But that doesn’t reflect all of the 2 million strong IA community.

Race is definitely an issue in the US, I’m not denying that. Skin color, as well as features have much to do with it. But not entirely like how it is portrayed on SM (or maybe not, I don’t read it that often).

“the inappropriate reaction of your American sister higher up this thread.”

Who’s my sister?

PS: Do you like Noor Jehan and Shamshad Begum? Because I do.

#169 Comment By Jai On 2nd October, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

Desi Italiana,

Nice to read your comments too — I like your new blog as well. Some humorous, entertainingly-written but thought-provoking articles there.

I agree with everything you just said about SM — some other US-based Indians have told me exactly the same thing offline.

Race is definitely an issue in the US, I’m not denying that. Skin color, as well as features have much to do with it. But not entirely like how it is portrayed on SM

Interesting. So how is it in “real life”, and how does the average non-SM Indian American person feel about such things (assuming that it’s possible to make such a generalisation) ?

Who’s my sister?

I was referring to ANNA from SM, who posted comment #92. She’s one of the “Mutineers” in charge of that blog.

PS: Do you like Noor Jehan and Shamshad Begum? Because I do.

I’m not very familiar with their work although of course I’m aware of how famous they are. However, according to some commenters on YouTube, apparently the girl whose qawwali I linked to in the Open Thread sounds a bit like Noor Jehan.

#170 Comment By Desi Italiana On 3rd October, 2007 @ 2:13 am

Jai Ji:

“Interesting. So how is it in “real life”, and how does the average non-SM Indian American person feel about such things (assuming that it’s possible to make such a generalisation)?”

I didn’t mean so much that “real life” is different from what is spouted on SM, but that there are various realities in diverse contexts. For example, I’ve lived and worked in locations where the majority was White, then East Asian, and then Latino. In each, the dynamics of race were different for me. They have not been the same experiences across the board.

Also, I’m assuming that people who have the time to read and write on SM are not the IA’s who are working 14-16 hours, and back breaking labor at that. Judging from their comments, many seem to be degree holders and can afford the time to read and write at the length some do on SM (I could be totally wrong, though).

And, we are very spread out, even if there are certain locations where there are concentrations of IA (ie Houston, SF, Chicago). I think I remember reading some stat that most (not all) IA live in suburbs which are usually overwhelmingly white; the racial experiences there are different from living in, say, a predominantly black neighborhood, where you are a person of “color” as well but not black.

It gets a wee bit more complicated when you remember that IA are often seen as the “model minority” in the US. And living with affluent whites may be a double edged sword: one the one hand, you’re a “model minority” (ie the myth that we’re all smart, educated, brainy, and “hard workers” in comparison to the other minorities), but still you are made out to be different (ie you ain’t white and you’re not a “real’ American, bro, no matter how much money you make).

#171 Trackback By Listen To Music Online On 3rd October, 2007 @ 8:39 am

Listen To Music Online…

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

#172 Trackback By Online and Offline Promotion On 3rd October, 2007 @ 10:00 am

Online and Offline Promotion…

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

#173 Comment By Jai On 3rd October, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

Desi Italiana,

Thanks for taking the time out to explain that to me, greatly appreciated. Pickled Politics is also only a reflection of certain sections of the British South Asian community — mainly the more educated and successful elements — although overall I think it’s a pretty good cross-section of the desi population here in terms of regional backgrounds (PP could probably benefit from a few more Gujjus, though ;) ). However, there are other online discussion forums around which would give you a, shall we say, somewhat different taste of what many 2nd-Gen British desis are like. That’s all I’m going to say ;)

SM definitely has its positive points — some of the political discussions are excellent, eg. the recent debate on Kashmir — but to be honest with you I ended up finding the cultural gulf in some quarters to be too much, as it was exhausting having to keep explaining myself at length in order to place my own viewpoints into their proper context. “Desi” in post # 130 higher up this thread made some excellent points about some of the issues with that blog’s recent audience, which I agree with completely. I also found the prejudice endemic in some sections of SM’s commenting population to be quite toxic and it just ended up putting me off completely, as I mentioned previously.

Quietly reading it on occasion from a more detached perspective is fine (and, personally-speaking, psychologically healther). A couple of the remaining long-term commenters are also great people, eg. Razib, Amitabh, and Kush Tandon. Manju is also very badmaash, and relative newbie Rahul is hilarious.

By the way, in case you were finding my CSI references weird, I should mention that both CSI:Miami and New York are shown on one of the UK’s main terrestrial TV channels every Tuesday night. I’m a bit of a fan — hence my jokes from Wednesday onwards last week — and most the places I’ve ironically named in my username above are not exactly glitzy locations in Britain but (with the exception of Basildon) are well-known high-density South Asian areas. 8)

#174 Comment By Jai On 3rd October, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

Apologies for all the smiley faces above. I know such things wind some people up.

#175 Comment By nodn On 4th October, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

Still says Asian skin in TV ads- I’ve just come from seeing it on TV! and same on Google.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1405

URLs in this post:
[1] Sepia Mutiny: http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/
[2] BBC magazine: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7010885.stm
[3] we ran: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1262
[4] http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-3C9hkCuZv0: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-3C9hkCuZv0
[5] reverse racism Vs anti-white racism: http://racismeantiblanc.bizland.com/005/08-02.htm
[6] http://cafe.azul.raindrop.jp/images/dmitri.jpg: http://cafe.azul.raindrop.jp/images/dmitri.jpg
[7] my post: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/663
[8] line of work: http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/499/3085/1600/820538/crimbo-card.jpg
[9] http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2178553,00.html: http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2178553,00.html
[10] http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_42879.htm: http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_42879.htm
[11] http://cities.expressindia.com/local-news/fullstory.php?newsid=135916: http://cities.expressindia.com/local-news/fullstory.php?newsid=135916