I think it is safe for me to say that many Indians still consider light skin a prime beauty trait. And at some point or the other, most of us have been peer pressured into buying beauty products to lighten our skin tone.
In fact, as a society, we’re a bit obsessed and hyper focused on the idea of skin care lightening our complexions. It’s as if we’ve completely forgotten that skin care, as an act, isn’t actually about getting fair skin.
So, when we stumbled across this Reddit post by u/AcronymTheSlayer talking about how her paternal aunt, AKA bua, shamed her mother for her complexion, we couldn’t resist sharing it. In it, the original poster revealed how while talking about beauty products, her aunt told her mother that nothing she will use on her skin will make it lighter. Yep, you read that right.
What made this horrible situation worse is that the OP got reprimanded by her father for defending her mother. Her father was more concerned about her “respecting elders,” than acknowledging how terribly his partner was being spoken to.
So of course other desis responded to u/AcronymTheSlayer’s post and came forward with their own versions of such situations. Many also discussed how corrosive the whole “respect your elders,” mentality can be.
1. I swear this culture of respecting people even though they’re pieces of shits and elderly in age needs to end right now.
2. Ikr. These people get away with no repercussions just ’cause they are older and know better. I don’t know what “world they have seen” if they are so openly hateful.
3. Grandma constantly and blatantly favoured my cousin for being the prettiest of all because she’s the fairest. Suddenly, the switch flipped ( I got a job) and started calling me the prettiest. How? If anything I’ve turned many shades darker going to and from work.
4. Many people don’t have anything worthwhile to do so they choose to do misogynist shit. Don’t let it get to you and talk to your dad about setting boundaries with his sister. It won’t be a big deal if he tells her to stop it gently, rather than you doing it and you won’t have to listen to shit from her after.
5. Bro listen to me. Like listen to other people commenting too. Don’t engage and you cannot change their perspective. But here’s another solution. Compliment your mom in front of your bua. Keep saying things like, “Mom I want to look as young as you when I age.” And maybe, just maybe sometimes tell your bua, “Oh god you have wrinkles here, and here. “That’s how you do this. Trust me. It will drive them 100% mad. It will make your mom happy and set the bua’s panties on fire. Because that’s the whole point right, skincare is not the color of our skin. So do it the right way. They go low, we go high.
6. Bestie jhaad do acche se. My mama made fun of me 3 weeks ago about a traumatic event from past and I snapped. Last week he came again and was careful while speaking. Once they know you’ll not accept their behaviour, they’ll keep their opinions to themselves.
7. “Honestly, just calmly tell them, “Aunty i feel you are being very rude to my mom. This is our house and we are trying to make you comfortable, but insulting my mother is not okay.” They’ll retaliate some 3-4 times, but soon realize not to cross that line if you hold firm. And if she calls you badtameez, then just tell her I think you are being badtameez by insulting your hosts. We don’t come to your house to tell you your skin is bad etc.
8. People are stuck in their narrow minded wells so deep that they can’t even see a glimmer of light. Just one advise – My mother always told me that respect does not belong to elders by default. Respect has to be earned, whether you are young or old. She told me there is no need to respect a person if they don’t respect you, irrespective of their age, status or relation.
9. My mother is very fair, so they target her features, her nose and how she wasn’t always thin and her cooking. Now I’ve started complimenting my mom’s smile and how she’s the best cook I’ve known (obviously true). It’s fun saying that I’ve more similarities from my dad’s side of the family and how I wished I was as pretty as my mom. Plus I never engage with their senseless talks because it’s not worth it.
10. Let me state the obvious here. You father is problematic too. I mean, all parents are problematic as hell. Mine included. But, if you ever want to stand up for your mother, you have to show her how to stand up for herself. You should fight with your father for saying, “You shouldn’t argue with elders.” Your bua gets all the space to utter all this shit, because your parents give her the space to do it. You should fight with your father for not letting your mother to stand up for herself, and for letting another woman pass such comments about her this way.
In the beginning, he will be angry that you are voicing yourself, questioning his power, but the more you raise questions, and the more you make him uncomfortable, the more he will start questioning himself. This is only applicable for a family that doesn’t verbally and physically abuse their child.
In my personal opinion, there is a major confusion among us desis about skin care and its purpose. Not everyone who invests in skin care is looking to lighten their skin-tone. Because TBH, a dark skin tone isn’t supposed to be a flaw or a drawback in any way.