“It’s the quality of your skin that matters, not the color.” I was actually pretty shocked to see this slogan for a lesser known brand of skincare products at Health and Glow last week (India’s cosmetics and beauty supply chain). This advertising is starkly different to the messaging of nearly all other skin products I see being sold in Chennai, which all promote their skin lightening powers as their number one strength.
Does colourism exist in the Tamil community? It most certainly does. How often have we heard comments about our skin colour, or sympathetic remarks about someone who could be beautiful if they were only a little fairer?
If you saw the world through my eyes, then you would believe (as I do) that Beauty comes in every size, shape, color, creed, gender, and shade of skin. I believe the inner-spirit and character of a person are far more important than what someone looks like on the outside. But I also believe that there are no restrictions to what makes someone “beautiful” on the outside.
Last year, a controversial advertisement was placed in one of Toronto’s public trains (TTC) which promoted a skin lightening clinic. The company ended up pulling the ads after multiple complaints were sent to the TTC requesting their removal.