Monday, October 13, 2008

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

Okay, I am seriously tired of talking about this. But I cant help it, every where I turn to lately, I find references to it.

For my honours research I studied concepts of beauty in the Muslim Indian society. Its safe to say that Muslim Indians have a F#&$* up view of beauty. The dichotomy of Light and Dark, is the same as Good and Evil. Because we associate the one with the other.

The problem is, that MI’s (Muslim Indians) describe each other as ‘Fair’, ‘Light’ and those words is never far from (please whisper when you say this) ‘Beautiful’ if they have a lighter complexion or skin colour than other MI's. Which for most people it is automatically associated with being good. I’m not going to type out my whole thesis, so if you want to read it, let me know I’ll send you a copy.

But my real issue is with Snow Whites parents. I mean, what were they thinking?!? Did they not realise that by wishing for a girl, with skin as white as snow, and rosy cheeks and pitch black hair that they were changing the very essence of beauty for all eternity. Have you ever seen a really dark girl on the cover of cosmo? You did? Well, let me phrase it differently. Have you ever seen a really dark girl on cosmo, that is not African, or one of the only two really dark famous African super-models out there??

After reading Azra’s blog, there are a couple of things that I don’t understand about people. Why do we associate skin colour with culture? Why do we confuse culture and religion? And MI’s are the worst! These three concepts are so confused in society. They affect each other, but they are not the same thing. The concept of Race is a phalicy, because it was justified by biological factors that at they time, those people didn’t fully understand. Religion and Culture - the whole world even the academic community seems to misinterpret. It is NOT the same thing. We don’t get married in Indian Church. We get married in a mosque, or church etc. We get married in front of Allah (God). Your morals and values should be from your religion. The MI’s should be looking for people who display Muslim values. Not someone who know the traditions of the Ghaam. Cultural laws can be learned. But people don’t realise that culture is constantly changing. Religion stays the same because it is defined by a specific set of laws. Culture is how we interpret those laws!!

There is nothing wrong with Culture…I like it. But when who I am, is judged on my skin colour, I want to build a time machine and go back to the very man who wrote Snow White, and cut off his hands!!

FYI – being ‘fair’ does not make you beautiful! Being from a higher Ghaam, then other people does not give you easy access to Jannah! We will be judged by who we are, what we do and not by mortals.

The mirror we see ourselves in, is important, but we don’t realise that it really is a one-way mirror. What we reflect to ourselves, the world watches. It is for this reason that our own perception of beauty needs to change so that the world's perception can.


Waseem said...

I was guilty of this when I was younger, probably societally(i made up this word) blinded. As i grew older I realised fair isnt all that, in fact they seem to be uglier do to their horrendous personalities. Im not gonna be cliche and say personality is most important. It isnt. In my opinion, making a connection is more important.

As for the caste issue, Ive spoken my face blue about this.

Francois said...

There seems to be a lot of politics in the Indian community in South Africa... Does this exist all over the world or only in S>A

Trinity said...

Waseem – Finally a guy that is honest! *applause* You know of all the guys I interviewed for my thesis, NOT one of them told me to my face that it mattered to them, whether it was in the past or the present!

I would either hear from girls who said they had guy friends who thought that way, or the guys would say that they generally like White (as in race) girls, cause they are just prettier!!

Francois – I would like to know if its like this in different parts of the world as well!

The Organ Harvester said...

famous words heard from an Indian aunty:

"She'll make a good wife for your son, she's got milky skin."

Now I like dairy as much as the next guy, but a basis to decide personality? does that mean us darker people are just evil?

Trinity said...

I blame the colonialists or rather the Occidentals…they are the ones who perpetuated the stereotyping of darker people being ‘less-than’. And then brainwashed everyone else.

Azra said...

Its disturbing on a level I can't imagine. And you;d think fo rall the worlds knowledge and widom...what with us having access to boundless knowledge that people would be a little less asking too much.

OH - maybe the "milkier" they are, the better they can cook? Or maybe it enhances their child rearing skills...or maybe it makes them more compassionate?
Its pathetic and absurd LOL

Trinity said...

Yeah...the Freaks!

bb_aisha said...

It exists everwhere-in Arab society, even Asian (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) society.

It truly is pathetic, but somehow I don't think it's going to change. I know a good few people with fair skin & blue/grey/green/hazel eyes who aren't good-looking. But the complexion & eye-colour still hold precedence.

My elder sister who's fair in complexion wants to be more tanned, & she tells me I need a tan too.

My parents have thankfully never made it an issue. And my mum hates it if skin colour is ever discussed.

My dad's sister is very fair though & she'd sometimes bring it up. Like when we talk about guys she'll ask '& how does he look? What's his complexion?' But we'll tell her not to think like that & then she'll laugh & say sorry (I love her to bits she's like a second mother but she does have some cultural ways of thinking which aren't on)

Incidentally, I find white guys are attracted to very dark-skinned Indian girls. And in school the white girls found the darker-skinned Indian guys more attractive

Would love to read your thesis-please send:-)

Trinity said...

BB - When I presented this topic to an audience the response was amazing...everyone could relate. Besides the white people.

Sure I'll send it;)

KimyaShafinaaz said...

hey slms...

interesting piece, i know of someone doing her masters in lieu of 'versions of attractiveness' in contemporary south african society...and so this resounds well...

there are generalisable theories that suggest 'whiteness' as a superior trait (and this in turn potentially decides level of attractiveness) is a remnant of colonialist brainwashing.

very interesting write-up!
you should consider (if u havnt already) writing up articles for publishing!

all the best,

Trinity said...

S -, that's interesting...I did extend on the colonial brain-washing in my Thesis. But I think in todays day and age...people use that just an excuse and not a reason for their behaviour