Saudi Arabia: Stigma of Skin Color

skin colors

I became accustomed when I was living in India and reading the matrimonials in seeing such remarks as seeking a “white skinned” or “almond colored” mate as examples.  It never occurred to me that perhaps skin color would also be of importance in Saudi Arabia.  However the longer I have been here and particularly when hearing of families who are starting to look for a partner for their child, you do indeed hear such comments or questions such as “How dark is he/she?”  It is also not unusual for some Saudi women to choose to bleach their skin in order to be whiter which they also view as more attractive and appealing.  I have to acknowledge my surprise to this revelation for Saudis have a wide spectrum of different skin colors ranging from alabaster white to the deepest chocolate brown to black.  I have not seen any type of discrimination to a Saudi due to his or her skin color but apparently to some families when it comes time for marriage, it may be an issue.


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