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The True Colors of Colorism in South Asia

In recent times, a lot of us have seen one, two or maybe even tons of post addressing colorism. I am definitely not the first person to write about this issue nor will I be the last one, however I thought it was important to have at least one post discussing the matter on my blog. I’d like to recall some facts and reflect upon the roots of colorism. How deeply engrained is colorism in our community? How did we get exposed to this idea of associating fairness with beauty ? How is colorism extremely gender-based ?

To begin, for anyone who has never experienced or acknowledged colorism, colorism is a prejudice towards people with a darker complexion within a same ethnical or racial group. Within South Asia, colorism wasn’t widely present as we know it today, in fact it was only recent times that this problem took place unlike other issues such as caste system which appeared back in Ancient India ( read more about caste system here). In a study led by Neha Mishra on the global perspectives of colorism, she highlights that Ancient India was a society that accepted the physical differences of each part of India. In fact, many hindu goddess and gods were described black in skin tone and extremely beautiful such as Kali, goddess of power, strength and destructor of evil spirits. In ancient texts, there was no mention of color in order to discriminate, dark skin wasn’t attached to a stigma and was embraced. However, as per any problem in this community, colonialism had its fair share in the implement of this “beauty standard”. Continue reading “The True Colors of Colorism in South Asia”

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Butchering Women On-Screen : A Trend That Feeds Box-Offices

Recently, South Indian Star Tamannaah Bhatia came out with a statement on twitter condemning the remarks of the director of her most recent release, Kaththi Sandai , a Tamil action-comedy-romance mixed film. Director Suraj has said in an interview that low-class film audience like him, especially men, pay to see women dressed in a revealing manner, in skimpy dresses and short skirts. According to him , boys should enjoy the movie , therefore actresses should wear less. He went as far as to say that actresses that make it to the top are the ones who show more , he even suggest actresses that wanna act to do a movie solely for that elsewhere. His movies are for entertainment. His statement is not only extremely regressive, it defines actresses in a derogatory way and also objectifies women in this already misogynist society. Top heroines like Nayanthara and Tamannaah, who are currently working on women centric movies, slammed the director and asked him for an immediate apology towards all woman in the industry. This is definitely a low for woman’s place in the industry and the image of woman on-screen, however, unfortunately, it’s not a low we haven’t seen before.

Directors like Suraj are the ones who perpetrate the portrayal of women in a very low angle and the presence of incredibly sexist jokes on-screen even in 2017. The number of movies that either demeans women, blames them or compromises their safety are insane. None of the directors have been held accountable for such productions. Let’s just take a look back at few movies from the last decade , shall we?

Continue reading “Butchering Women On-Screen : A Trend That Feeds Box-Offices”

A Never-Ending Social Disease

First, we feel disgusted. Then, we feel ashamed. At last, we stop talking about it. This is how the majority of the issues and taboos within the South Asian community have been tackled down. Caste system is among those taboos that have been all of a sudden shut down and forgotten about. Whenever the topic is addressed, we are told that such thing doesn’t exist no more, in the Occidental World, and we should not bring it up neither. Think about it … is it truly because caste systems don’t exist anymore in the West or is it because we are ashamed to talk about the presence of it explicitly? We try masking the existence of such practice but doing that would also mean erasing centuries worth of our history, of the way our society was organized, the way each of our actions were orchestrated and basically ignoring the fact that we owe apology to those people we call “lower-caste”.

Still up to this day, many people in our natives lands struggle to have basic rights on a day-to-day basis because of how deeply rooted the caste system is. The only time you might’ve heard of caste systems are in movies or tv serials. Although they accurately show how marriages can be interrupted if they aren’t inter-castes, they forgot to address the inaccessibility of basic human rights those people face every goddamn day. Let’s take the story of a PhD student named Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula who got suspended from classes for three months, expelled from campus residency, forbidden to eat at the campus cafeteria, enter other campus buildings and vote in the student elections along with four of his friends. They were falsely charged for attacking a student from a right-wing student body. One fact that is really interesting is that him and his four friends were Dalits, a self-proclaimed name by “lower-castes” in India. Continue reading “A Never-Ending Social Disease”

The Pre-Paid Killings of South Asia’s Daughters

“Parents still prefer having a boy rather than a girl.” says a respondent to the online survey I’ve put up two months ago. Some may agree and others disagree in this Western world we live in, but in India, it’s a proven fact. In the early 2000’s, the country’s sex ratio has fallen to 927 girls for 1000 boys. Sex selective abortion has become an underground business that has been grossing more than 224 million US dollars in India with doctors going against the law to perform these sex selective abortions. Others who can’t afford sex determination tests, usually give birth and then get rid of the child if she’s a girl. This unethical selective process is expected to have an impact on the amount of human trafficking, sexual violence, child marriages and maternal deaths due to early marriage in the next upcoming years according to experts. There’s no need to mention that this is just an addition to the unusually usual high crime rate against women in India, a country where a big majority worship women goddess. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years or had never had the opportunity to sit down and watch one of those soap opera dramas your mum watches on Sun TV or its sister channels in the other languages such as Gemini TV or Surya TV, you are probably not asking yourself why this atrocity is so common. Nevertheless, if you are asking yourself, our groom buying traditions are one the main roots of this issue. Yes, I am talking about this toxic dowry tradition.

Continue reading “The Pre-Paid Killings of South Asia’s Daughters”

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