If your Indian or know about the culture i'd love for you to comment on this. I don't know a lot about Indian culture and would love to learn
I'm of South Asian origin, and i find the recent skin whitening trend (its not as widespread as the article claims) quite annoying.
Yes, some people; mostly those lacking in self confidence believe that they ought to lighten their skin in order to look "good"..but then again its their personal preference. I'm happy the way i am, being brown skinned
as for the article...it was making some sense till it fell into the usual trap most such articles, and outside observers fall into
The desire for pale skin has deep roots in India's complex caste-driven history. Those higher up the scale were typically fair-skinned while lower castes often worked outdoors and were darker skinned.
The above is a commonly held misconception regarding India and its people. Caste has less to do with looks than where in India one comes from. For example...south Indian Brahmins(Tamil Brahmins) are considered(according to the obsolete caste system) a cut above even their North Indian Brahmin counterparts. But if one were to compare an Average south indian brahmin with an Average north Indian Brahmin, the south Indian Brahmin is much darker...in fact South Indian Brahmins on Average are much darker than Most North Indian Castes,,,even the middle and lower north Indian Castes.
The same thing could be said about other castes as well...for example...a low caste north Indian could very well be much fairer on average than a high caste south Indian.
these facts leads one to the realization that caste does not necessarily reflect skin color..in fact it plays second fiddle to which part of India one is from. Recent genetic studies of the indian population supports this trend..
for example, when mapping the genetic markers one sees the South Indian brahmins, and other south indian castes are grouped together, and the North Indian brahmins and other north Indian castes group together.
anyways..enough typing on my part. Pictures are worth a thousand words
A North Indian brahmin (Nehru, the first PM of India)
A South Indian Brahmin (venkatraman ramakrishnan, Nobel laurate 2009)
As you can see, even though both are from the same caste, they look very different, in fact their pigmentation is in line with their ethnicities/region of India
And within their respective regions, higher castes "might" have a slightly paler pigmentation.Ethnicity determines ones skin pigmentation ..rather than ones caste.
Some recent genetic studies back up this claim.
As you can see....the genes of North indian tribal and North indian Upper Castes overlap...
and on top of that...skin color within the same caste...varies greatly as well.
Sendhil Ramamurty ( a.k.a Mohinder Suresh of heroes) probably represents the median south Indian skin tone...his is the same as mine
But my personal favourite is Asin
^^ those two belong to the same non-brahmin high caste..yet their skin tone is quite different. This is oft found within families as well...for example...i have the skin tone of Sendhil ...whereas the skin tone of my bro is similar to that of Asin. Playing too much cricket in the hot sun might have also contributed to this difference :P
Those who write articles should try not to make erroneous claims like the ones made by Al Jazeera. I agree that the incredible diversity of South Asia might be quite confusing, but trying to make sense of it using a yardstick built out of wrong assumptions would not help.
coming back to the topic in hand....Most south Asian girls i've talked to about this skin whitening trend seem quite grossed out when it comes to whitening creams for men. They think "its gay".(lol no offense intended for gay people).