Please not a ‘gora’ Pakistan

'I recommend these whitening injections to every girl I see with a dark complexion,' says Sana*.

Ema Anis May 15, 2014

“Most girls are opting for it these days but they won’t tell you. It’s their secret. But I recommend these whitening injections to every girl I see with a dark complexion,” Sana* told me as she looked at my skin during our first meeting.

To Sana, this is her way of doing social service, to contribute to her society by not being secretive about her fairness treatment and recommending it to all girls. She claimed she had researched about the treatment online and that it doesn’t come with any side-effects.

The fact that she did not find any further details of the glutathione injections online was not even half as surprising as her urge to have her skin whitened. A girl in her early twenties from a well-educated family, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration and looking for job opportunities — does she really think a lighter skin tone is such a must have?

Despite tons of articles having been written on this topic and activists speaking up against the ‘fair is beautiful’ notion in our society, the trend doesn’t seem to be going down. Instead of seeing campaigns similar to the ‘Dark is Beautiful’ one in India, what we see is Zubaida Apa coming up with her own skin whitening soap to make Pakistan ‘gora’. We still see celebrities like Fawad Ahmed (now with a different face) asking ‘biker boys’ to use a fairness cream to save themselves from all the dirt in the air.

Sadly, this phenomenon is not just restricted to our society, but is prevalent all over the world — the only underlying issue being the lack of understanding of self-worth. There has been some voice against the emphasis on ‘surface beauty’ but that is often left unheard. Some countries took the issue more seriously and went to the extent of banning all whitening products. That may be a small first step, but there still is a long way to go till people are made to realise that beauty is more than skin-deep.

We may have written too often against skin whitening but we are yet to see campaigns on our televisions and billboards advocating the idea — just the way they promote materialism or ‘fairness’ — to break peoples’ false conceptions of physical beauty as dictated by certain social norms.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2014.


Saher | 10 years ago | Reply


The younger generation understands this but not most South Asia parents and grandparents. They still have the concept of perceiving GORA rang with beauty. ( like my mum said once 'wo islye ku k gora rang khobsorti ki alamt hai' ). The parents then enforce their sons and make them realize that beta you are good enough hence you deserve a pretty (GORI) wife. :-O

Sej | 10 years ago | Reply


Good to know your view about dark skin girls .....apart from skin they have quite sharp features and are intelligent though

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