All is fair

Don’t get me wrong.

I happened to see this article on color preferences of men and women and the controversies it has created. Men often do not talk about it openly, but can guess their attitude.
From what I have seen, my own feeling is that men, in general seem to  prefer fair skinned women. Not just between blacks and whites, but even among the light skinned Asians. The sale of fairness creams in Asian countries is sky rocketing. It is as if fair is all lovely. Don’t we have clear examples in our choice of actresses? Bollywood imports fair skinned girls from abroad, as if we don’t have enough of them here. And they act with the dark skinned men, no problems. Fairer the better. Even in the south, most of the actresses are light skinned. There are very few dark skinned heroines.

In the marriage market, the demand is for the light skinned. It is common to see marriage ads, “very fair… good looking “and so on. I know of many marriage proposals for girls in our own family did not materialize, simply because the girls were on the darker side of complexion. Fantasies linger around fair skinned women. Is it so?

An article posted online last week by ‘Psychology Today’ provoked controversy and cries of racism. The title of evolutionary psychologist Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa's piece: "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women ?"

Though the article compared the blacks from Africa to the whites, I think it is equally applicable to men and women across the world.
His argument is that there is a set of data, which shows black women to be "objectively" less attractive than white, Asian or Native American women, but that the same data does not find black men less attractive than men of other races. Kanazawa accepts this data and then tries to explain why it is the case. He suggests that black people have more testosterone than other races, and so possess "more masculine features." He states too that women are "objectively" more attractive than men, so if black women have more masculine features, this explains why they are rated less attractive.
Now, in the tagline to his Psychology Today blog, Kanazawa warns, "If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem. If what I say offends you, it is your problem."

Following outraged responses, Psychology Today changed the article's title to "Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" and then, took it down altogether.

“Men have been conditioned into thinking that white skin is mankind’s anthropological model and so the desirable trait. The truth of the matter is  that probably, white skin is a genetic defect! They're more prone to skin cancer, aging wrinkly skin and skin infections compared to blacks who don't get that stuff. All human life came from Africa and black skin is the original skin color . Whites and Asians are pale skinned mutated versions of black people caught up in the last ice age some 60,000 years ago”. This was the response of a young black woman.

Gentlemen do not just prefer blondes, but lighter-skinned women in general, another study has suggested. Scientists looking into attractiveness in men and woman suggest that men from all races find fairer-skinned woman most alluring, while women are the polar opposite and favor darker, brooding men.
Academics at the University of Toronto in Canada say their study proves the fair maiden of myth has a basis in scientific reality.

They studied more than 2,000 advertising photographs - chosen on the basis the models featured were considered among the most attractive people of the races and sexes - and found that the skin of white women was 15.2 per cent lighter than the skin of white males, and the skin of black women 11.1 per cent lighter than the skin of black men.
Dr Shyon Baumann, a sociologist involved in the study, said: "What the research shows is that our aesthetic preferences operate to reflect moral preferences”.

Two years ago, research from St Andrews University in Fife found man's attraction to blondes could date back to the caveman era.
Researchers say, a rare mutation of light-colored hair heralded the arrival of the blue-eyed blonde 10,000 years ago.Until then, humans, who originated in Africa, tended to have dark hair and eyes, so blondes stood out from their brunette sisters.
According to anthropologist Peter Frost : "When an individual is faced with potential mates of equal value, it will tend to select the one that stands out from the crowd."

I said at the beginning, don’t get me wrong. This is not my personal view.But this is what we see. It is usual to ask, is beauty only skin deep and all the stuff. The real question is ,what really attracts you, on plain simple terms.


  1. Dr Antony,

    I do not agree with this study. May be a few years later a new study will find different results. Men attracted to women - I think features and personality (do not want to write unacceptable language so I will stop here) matter more to men...

  2. hello

    first tym here.
    very relevant article. i agree that Indian men are crazy abt fair skin and thats why fairness products are enjoying high sales, riding on this obnoxious misconception.

    I too posted my views on the very same topic. Whenever you have time/ are free, kindly visit:

  3. I was just thinking about this today. Do you know the amount of ads for these fairness creams are there on tv these days! It's crazy! I agree with the wrinkle free and age defying stuff is good business tactics for targeting the aging population. But this is too much! It's like propagating that fair is better. I think what makes a women attractive are her eyes and her smile. And same goes for men too. Other things are truly personal choices. :)

  4. I agree with A & the women in the pics are simple & beautiful.

  5. after writing that article , the article was termed as racist and i think writer said sorry for that article.
    In reality yes majority males want Gori or fair girl.
    evidence is marriage ads.

  6. I are more attracted to lighter skin ..I could clearly see the difference,we had a huge joint family and most of my cousins are very fair...all the fair ones including me got married at age of twenty three as there were many proposals ,the wheatish one got married much later and dark one is still unmarried ..all of us had good features and smiles ..lemme make this clear ...but the distinct part was the color...
    its a biased thing in india...
    which I personally feel kills the confidence of every human being!

  7. In north heavy bias is there for complexion..I have seen the girls who have really not good feature and not looking attractive even, but considered beautiful due to their fair complexion.

    For woman it is beauty, but for man it is their earning capacity that is said by our elders.

    But I have nevr given any importance to complexion, to me intelligence has been very important in every aspect of life.

  8. Hi!What would you say about the fairness cream ads for men?? fairness has become a factor of judging people and being attracted to them....may be choices take a u-turn...u never know!
    Thanks for blogging!

  9. Doc,

    I did write about this obsession for fair-skinned sometime last year. India's market share for these fairness products are whooping 700+ crore. This number says it all....

  10. I dont agree that Fair is Beautiful but I do agree that the quest for fairness is universal - otherwise how would these fairness creams do so well? But if fair skin is so attractive then what about those white skinned people who invest as much in sun tans as we Indians on sun screen lotions? Some of the most beautiful women in India were anything but fair..! But then, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

  11. whites are the mutated version of black, interesting view..

  12. I think the trend is gotten reverse already.. Seeing more fairness creams for men.. and tan parlors were u see women.. people like to have what they dont have.. grass is always green on the other side..

  13. A most interesting read.

    How some people can call an obvious truth racism is beyond me? In the USA that is the common practice of certain minorities. They make a living out yelling "racism" whether it exist or not.

  14. Doc,
    "The real question is ,what really attracts you, on plain simple terms".

    I agree in full.

    But a few doubts, why do the pale skinned ( man and woman) tan their skin ?

    That shows brown has better appearance than the albino kind of skin color. Do you remember the terrific " Gabriela Sabatini", the tennis icon of the 1980's from Argentina?

  15. @Doc! I believed dark skin guys are handsome; still do. But when it comes to girls, any color is beautiful.

  16. Wish one would get out of this obsession with fairness.. it is not fair on any human being!
    nd since we are told that the human race orginated in Africa and must have been black to begin with.. the least everyone can do is respect this complexion and give it due credit..but then what shall those people who make a living out of this obsession do? nd I am yet to see anyone (incl myself) make any visible change in their complexion with these fairness creams :)

  17. Oh, those who judge people by their color are the losers. It is the mind that matters. I always tell my daughters that character and class counts and not color...

  18. The surveys don't lie .In my experience too i have found that light skinned people are considered attractive by most.

  19. This is a true post, but I have seen beauty in all races. This is what the matter is, if you are beautiful you attract more men. I really think a lot of women with a good soul are overlooked and this is the loss to a good mate. Thank you for sharing this, and thanks for coming by.

  20. Wonderful and interesting post. I feel that all person look attractive whether they are black or white that doesn't matter at all. A person should be good at heart rather than beauty.

  21. You are welcome at my new posts-

  22. First time here and I liked it.Looks good too!

  23. I think what is unattainable is seen as beautiful, and that the skin colour argument also has a lot to do with history and class. The fair girls I knew at school were always using fake tanner; when I lived in Mexico they sold whitening creams everywhere. Both races were fetishizing what is unusual for them and what they don't have naturally. But I also think there's a lot of subconscious (and conscious) racism at play here.

  24. Black being masculine,that may be right.But I think we have other lots of emotional factors here in India,where people,esp the educated people, consider colour as a superior sign.On another plight,most of us are silly even when it comes to marriage, out of 10,8 goes for 'looks'..These are both the sides of same coin.I have heard several comments from black men of our region on why they prefer to marry light skinned that they don't need the children to be like ?

  25. Hi friends
    Thanks for your responses.
    What Emily said is the summary.What is unattainable becomes beautiful.If you are dark,you want to become fair.The fair ones try to tan them to brown.
    But for some people,color is an obsession.I know many girls whose marriages were delayed because of their dark color.It is all in the mind.

  26. s...this is absolutely true..complexion of skin plays a fair part in many of girls lives..
    Tasty Appetite
    Event: Letz Relishh Ice Creams

  27. Dr. A,
    This is such a controversial topic. I was shocked when I heard on the news about the outrageous article. My personal opinion is that the preference on skin color and looks is heavily conditioned by culture and society.

    Have a wonderful weekend!



Post a Comment

Please spend another moment to make your comment before leaving.

Popular Posts