Saturday, July 4, 2009

Color Online Quiz: Literature & Women's Studies

Quiz #53
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Piggybacking off the review and subsequent comments about beauty standards in The Fold, what is a common physical attribute judged among South Asians in works such as Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger, Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins, Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim and Sadika's Way by Hina Haq?

a) hips equal womanliness
b) skin color: lighter is better
c) teeth: good teeth speak to grooming and hygiene

Among mothers, grandmothers and aunts, all the women who actively seek out eligible mates for their children, skin color is mentioned often when describing desirable mates. In Secret Keeper, Asha is darker and her grandmother comments about it. In Shine, Coconut Moon, Sam's mother's mother disapproved of her darker husband and didn't want her daughter playing too long in the sun. In Skunk girl, Nina's aunites talk about skin color and her sister tells how her some girls bleach. In Sadika's Way, Sadika isn't considered very pretty and having darker skin makes matters only worse.

Thanks, Eva. Check out Eva at A Striped Armchair.

3 comments:

Eva said...

B; I'm reading Seth's A Suitable Boy right now, and skin colour has already been mentioned several times!

Mitali Perkins said...

The connection between beauty and lighter skin tones is one of the saddest things in South Asian cultures. Yuk.

Color Online said...

Mitali,
Ah, but South Asians aren't the only people color-struck. It's an ugly streak that runs through African American culture as well. Before reading SA lit, I didn't know about other cultures that had the same issue.