When Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Intensifying Social Inequalities through Rangbedh or Colour Discrimination

23 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2014

Date Written: November 25, 2014

Abstract

Inequalities and discrimination based on skin colour or rangbedh is not a new phenomenon. Rather it is deeply ingrained in mindset across India and throughout the world. Historically, skin colour has been used as a parameter to accord treatment to the individuals either intentionally or inadvertently. And even today, those with fair skin are considered as superior and those with the darker hues are placed at the lower rung of the social hierarchy. This essay examines the colour based prejudices from gender lens, the manner in which this is promoted explicitly and implicitly by the media and the repressive social norms in the neo liberal economy and the impact it makes on daily lives of women in a modern world. The purpose of this piece is to assist in developing more nuanced understanding of intricate ways in which women are discriminated and marginalized based on their skin tone and the way these disparities are explicitly or implicitly stratifying the society. It attempted to explore the culturally defined and socially structured meaning of fairness and its impact on women. More specifically, in the Indian context where white and black dichotomy hardly persists as in West, and the stratification is based on variant of brown or the shades of skin tone is creating a divide and the manner in which these regressive practices are shaping the notion of beauty and femininity.

Keywords: Violence, Women, Discrimination, Colour based discrimination, skin colour, fairness, beauty, femininity, bias, inequalities

Suggested Citation

Nigam, Shalu, When Beauty is Only Skin Deep: Intensifying Social Inequalities through Rangbedh or Colour Discrimination (November 25, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2530478 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2530478

Shalu Nigam (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
India

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