Fair complexion

The well made-up lady, accompanied by her daughter entered the sitting room, feeling as if she was conferring a big favor on the hosts.

After pleasantries, a sumptuous tea she asked the lady of the house to ask her daughter to come and sit with them.

Meera’s mom knew this demand was coming and she had asked Meera to be ready to meet her prospective in-laws.

One look at the girl’s face and the lady exclaimed, oh she is so brown, I had asked that the girl be fair of complexion.

Meera got up and before going addressed the woman, “ I have far better things than a fair complexion, like good education, high values, and intelligence, but they would be wasted on narrow-minded people like you!

Meera’s mom stood there in despair, she feared she won’t find a good match for her beautiful daughter who had a darker skin tone than was fashionably acceptable.


This story may not make much sense to the people in the western world, but in countries like Pakistan and India, having a fair skin tone has become a usual demand from the boy and his family. Here 70-80% marriages are arranged by parents and it is the burden of the girl’s family to meet the reasonable and unreasonable demands of the boy’s family.


Written in response to Six Sentences Story- Fair, hosted by Girlie on the edge’s blog



81 thoughts on “Fair complexion

  1. We see that a lot here in the US. We don’t have arranged marriage, but even so, some parents object to a marriage because of a person’s looks, which really don’t have anything to do with the person inside. If my son brought Meera home, I’d be thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where to start… It is unfortunate that girls and young women are taught that their self-worth is tied to the colour or shade of their skin and that applying mercury-laden whitening creams at the expense of their own health is an acceptable risk to attain a fairer complexion.

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  3. I feel ashamed of my heritage when I’m reminded of these tragic prejudices. South African is called the Rainbow Nation and babies come out in all shades in many families. My friend’s niece’s wedding was called off by the family of the white guy she was about to marry. On the brighter side, she’s doing brilliantly in her career.

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      1. I know many people who have dealt with this. In Eastern Asia, darker complexions are a sign of manual labor and working outdoors. It’s insane, but I understand it’s historical context. What I don’t understand is how anyone can simultaneously recognize that being in the sun makes you darker (tan), and then say that a child born darker is somehow also been working out in the sun at like 6 days old. If it were due to sun, the color wouldn’t pass on to the baby. I dunno. There’s always just enough rational thought in these things to make you try to make the other 98% of it be rational, and it never will be.

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          1. No I know that, and I understand that completely. I just find it interesting. These prejudices start off with a flimsy premise that can barely stand up to a modicum of scrutiny, but there is a teeny vein of logic running through it. Warped, twisted, and damaged logic, but still logic. Then…. nothing after that is even remotely close to comprehensible even though your brain tries to make sense of it because that one teeny thing could potentially make sense if you suddenly lost your ability to critically think. Then it just becomes extremely frustrating.

            I find that to be interesting, because I have found that almost all prejudice is exactly that way. It starts with just a teeny, itty bitty sliver of something that could almost seem rational if you crossed your eyes really really hard, and then somehow it morphs into something so irrational and completely insane that there’s no way anyone actually could ever believe it! Excep they do…. and that’s what I find interesting. How they all start with something just a teeny bit logical, get distorted and twisted into something that makes absolutely no sense, and yet is believed by so many for no reason.

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            1. You’re absolutely right Marla. In our culture this prejudice is based on the primitive class system prevalent in times long ago. But yes, all prejudices have their basis in some form of flimsy logic.


              1. Actually, most cultures have primitive class systems which are the basis for current day irrational nonsense. That’s another part that makes it so interesting. Two completely different cultures, with prejudice against two completely different groups, somehow managed to start at the same flimsy logic point against their respective groups, and somehow it almost morphs at the same rate and in the same way – it’s just different because it’s different groups. I just find the human mind, and the crazy stuff it can come up with and convince itself of veryinteresting.

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                    1. Yes it is. But that’s the thing I find most amazing. The human mind has such ugliness to it, yet all of the ugliness seems to follow this pattern, as I’ve pointed out. The amazing parts are as varied as the owners of the brains. Yet the negative always seems to scream louder for some people. Sorry. My psych interest is showing again, I better put that bad boy away lol

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  4. Once i saw on TV an interview with a woman who was of African descent and she talked about a man she’d dated. He was also of African descent. She thought things were going well, but he broke up with her because her skin was too dark, he wanted a lighter skinned woman as the mother of his children!

    It’s sad and awful, this idea that the outside makes so much difference.

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  5. May there be many more Meera’s. And people such as yourself to bring attention to this reality for women certain parts of the world. Reminds me of a Martin Luther quote I was going to use at the Six “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” Seems a good place to start, doesn’t it.

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