Pakistan and its ‘Gora Complex’

Everyone may agree that although there is no universal definition of beauty, the urge to improve one’s physical appearance never goes away. A triad of salon categories, split according to their services and methods but most significantly, their geographical and social situations, clearly establish the hierarchy of beauty standards in Pakistan. Despite this, the gora complex appears to be given a seat at every table, regardless of social standing.

While we keep sharing quotes about the worth of inner loveliness, reality begs to differ. In Pakistan, the societal checklist for ideal beauty ranks fair or pale complexion, also known as gori rangat, at the top.

The term “kaala,” which literally translates as “dark,” is a derogatory term used to refer to members of a socially and economically disadvantaged class. In communities of colour all across the world, lighter skin tones have a high social capital, and this value rises significantly when coupled with illiteracy.

The obsession has taken new heights as treatments involving pills and injections are being offered to become fairer. Beauty industry and parlors are also cashing this obsession by offering whitening treatments and facials. There is an extensive usage of glutathione in top-tier salons and clinics through injections, intravenous infusions and capsules. Ninety per cent of our beauty industry comprises of services that turn on the “glow” and up the “brightness” of women, especially women of a marriageable age.

It can be safely concluded that fair skin, big eyes and a slim face cut are the crux of Pakistani women’s never-ending quest for beauty.

Written by Shaheer Ahmed


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