Tuesday, September 25, 2012

skinny white girls

Yesterday, one of our quieter and more well-behaved students barely escaped suspension. Her crime? She was found heavily under the influence of drugs. Her reason for taking that pill? She was told it would make her fairer and skinnier.

We were surprised because while she's no string-bean Snow White, she wasn't that dark, nor fat, nor unattractive. She was tearfully remorseful and she swore it was her first time and that she would never repeat it again. We believed her because she is a very well-behaved girl- quiet and attentive in class, assignments done well and submitted in time, 90% attendance in class. We received apologies from the student herself, as well as her parents, and the warden at her hostel who expressed shock because this incident was so unbecoming of her.

We pored over her Student Profile page again and again and the talk around me centred on Colonial hangovers and the naivety of our young girls.

I don't need to recount how this obsession to be fair and skinny most probably might be brought about by the images of Korean celebrities that we are now inundated with, and their clear, fair skin and their skinniness. While the Western world celebrates tanned, golden skin, we identify more with Orientals, and being fair of skin is still regarded as an indicator of beauty.

And for celebrities, looking good is their profession and they work with dieticians, personal fitness instructors, make-up artists and even cosmetic surgeons to look that good. Its well nigh impossible for the average girl to look like them. And yet, we try.

There's this pill I've heard about which is used to treat ovarian problems or something and the required dosage is one a day. And these young girls take upto 10 pills a day because it makes their skin whiter and paler and makes them lose weight. A short-cut method to looking like the celebrities they adore, I suppose, but at what cost?

That student might never take those pills again but will she stop undervaluing herself because she is not as fair, nor as skinny as the girls she sees on TV?

I'm not exempt and neither are so many of the girls I know. The fat girls want to be thin, the thin girls want curves, the dark girl wants fair skin, the fair skinned girl wants wrinkle free skin, the straight haired girl wants curls, the girl with curls wants straight hair.
Ka ziahzawm peih tawhlo.



11 comments:

Mizohican said...

If you wanna know what's extreme, check this out - Vaginal whitening cream.

It's all these people who work in Ad agencies who create this hype about how one should be skinnier, whiter etc... and many people blindly fall for their ads. I hate them...

I really hope the girl is alright...

Calliopia said...

The grass is always greener on the other side etc etc. Poor kid. Btw, don't you wish we had professional counsellors in colleges?

Anonymous said...

lo comment ve loks.....
kei chu a chhuanlam kha tak tak anih
ka ring lo.... rui duh ve hrim2 niang.. tunlai naupang hi chu dawt sawi an thiam toh ltk a.. buaithlak
hlawm khop mai.... nungchang that hmel deuh ho hi an luhlul duh em em
lehnghal...

a post tu lah chu chhiat loh hmel top..... a rukin kan star teh ang...

blackestdrug said...

Much as I try to refrain from judging people I don't even know, I somewhat agree with Anon above.
I have heard firsthand stories about rampant drug/alcohol/anything-that-gets-one-high abuse amongst the youth in Aizawl, not that I'm generalizing, but mostly with the Hostel Boarders.
Peer pressure coupled with too much available knowledge (internets) and free time and yet little or no outlet is driving many of our youths to the brink of self destruction.
How can we make our youths feel valued instead of curbing anything innovative or creative they concoct?

Philo said...

how might the educational system, of which she was a part, better address the larger questions you've identified?

Dr John said...

So sad... ;-(

Philo said...

ps: how might this post speak to the situation you describe

http://jezebel.com/5946643/reddit-users-attempt-to-shame-sikh-woman-get-righteously-schooled

ku2 said...

@Mizohican: Whoa at the ad. These ad people should be beheaded!! :D

@Calliopia: Yes! Kinda makes me wonder how many kids the current educational system would overlook- the ones struggling to keep up, both academically and socially, and maybe failing that, how many lead "lives of quiet frustration" etc.


@anon: Nia, thil ni thei ania, monitor deuh chu a ngai maitheia, mahse attendance tha, assignments pawh on time a submit thlap thlap ania, a la bo thuilo a, chance la awm tura ngaih ani.

@blacketc: I knowww. Some of those stories we hear involve kids as young as 13. What can we do, that is the question.

@Philo: Very profound question you've raised. I did intend to address the issue on more or less those same grounds, but I find I don't have the answers, hence the "ka ziahzawm peih tawhlo". We have introduced a 'teacher-ward" system, where a teacher is assigned 6-7 students under her care, and we have talked to our wards and we've told them that we are always there should they have any problems- academic or otherwise. But I wonder if that's enough. Recalling the younger B.A-me, I think that if i had any problem, I would approach my friends rather than a teacher. But that's just me and perhaps, maybe, this might help a tiny bit.

@Dr. John: Verily :(

p.s: forgot to log in and the word verification says "Meanutd" hah!

ku2 said...

and @philo, I am awed and impressed by the girl's dignity but I have to admit, when I saw her facial hair, I was pretty shocked. I think her strength lay in the beliefs that were instilled in her at a young age and which she probably also internalised through precepts from her family and the society she keeps.

DayDreamBeliever said...

Sigh. Such a great writer-up except for that last sentence. LOL. That was so you!!

happyredrooster said...

My nieces in Aizawl told me about this - using some drug meant for something to get pale and skinny. I didn't think much of it until I read this post - the paragraph before the last really set things in perspective for me. So we blame the media, and we blame the corporate sector -and yes, they are to blame - but will parents ever address this? Will our grand church? Or are they going to continue rabidly judging and condemning without actually addressing the root and not the symptom? Everybody is judging; no one bothers to offer a solution or at least an alternative. No one even listens. While faces self righteously turn to Jerusalem in prayer and hallelujahs resound throughout these hills that have adopted us, people are dying. But we will constantly close our eyes to the truth.