“Your complexion is so dark, are you tanned or burnt?” While many of us find such discriminatory comments against dark-skinned people offensive, we might not realize that callously calling fair people ‘aaye gore’ is also bigotry.
Speaking of which, actor Saumya Tandon recently opened up about facing bias due to her fair complexion. The ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai’ actor said even though she is ecstatic that cosmetic companies are being more inclusive, discrimination is not just limited to having a particular skin tone.
She was quoted saying by Hindustan Times, “You can call someone fair or not fair, that is fine. People calling me ‘fair’ is not an abuse, neither am I apologetic about it. I just want to say every color is beautiful. But unfortunately, in our society, the conditioning is such that they associate the word ‘lovely’ with fairness. That means, they feel only girls who are fair, are lovely, which is not the right notion.”
Saumya revealed that she lost out on a lot of work because people felt she was “too fair”. She mentioned how during auditions abroad, she was stereotyped saying she was too fair to play an Indian girl. She said,
“The world outside perceives the Indian girl to be brown. No wonder why, 99 percent of actors of Indian origin, working abroad as Indians, are shown to be brown. They will not accept any other color. I have been rejected being told you are not brown, so you will not be cast as an Indian.”
In fact, she recently lost an international film due to her skin color. Questioning the stereotyping that happens everywhere, she was quoted saying, “Photographers take dark models because somehow they feel they are more exotic, or they are going to be better for a saree or Indian jewelry ad, they want that ‘Indian-ness’, which in their head is brown. It is not fair for girls like us. What about girls from Kashmir, Punjab, they are fair, don’t you call them Indian?”
Recalling how people on her comedy show ‘Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain’ often called her ‘gori mem’, she said, “I don’t find it as an abuse, as long as they are not saying we will prefer you because you are gori. It’s taking it too far. If anyone is tall, we will call them tall na?”
Saumya feels that as long as it is not in bad taste, people can joke about a person’s skin color or call them ‘gori’. However, she feels saying ‘being fair is the best’ is absolutely wrong. Well, we do agree with her. After all, inclusivity means no discrimination against anyone. Don’t you think so? Tell us!