Beauty. A concept that we all battle with one way or another, for the most part of our lives.
As a child, I wasn’t really worried about it. I thought the world around me had beauty, and I defined it by what I saw around me – the trees, the birds, my parents. I believed I was beautiful too because I was told so by my parents. Then one day my grandmother came rushing to me while I was watching the TV, a bowl of fresh cream in her hands and insisting that I apply it because it would make me look fairer.
I wondered why.
Then I went to school and the girls around said that they wouldn’t talk to me because they feared they’d become dark and ugly too.
Then I knew why.
I wondered what was wrong with dark skin. Every time I switched on the tv and saw the ‘pretty, fair lady’ telling her ‘dark friend’ to use so-and-so cream and it would make her as fair and beautiful as her, it stung a little.
Am I not beautiful this way? Do I really need to use that cream if I need people to like me, be friends with me..?
Colourism In India VS The West
Most of the time we don’t realise the depth of the problem of colourism. While many in the West encounter issues of racism and racial stereotyping as situations that can be a matter of life or death, we in India find this prejudice against dark skin far too subtle yet troublesome.
Don’t Let Disappointments Hold You Back
In school I was denied chances to be at the centre of the stage for singing or acting. As someone who does music professionally now, I’m glad that I did not let those disappointments falter my passion for music. What scares me is the fact that there may be many people out there who have lost confidence in the things they were good at because someone told them they weren’t the right look for the stage and spotlight.
A comment here, a look there. Consciously or unconsciously most of us end up judging a persons beauty, status and capabilities just by the color of their skin. In a country where more than 50% of the population is dark skinned, it feels ridiculous to see fair-skinned models being used to advertise almost every product available in the market. Fair is being portrayed as the color of trust, of faith and of course beauty. It’s like telling people that if a dark-skinned model told them to buy a particular detergent powder they would rather not!
A friend of mine who is actually very fair had to go through a tough time with her family because they claimed she wasn’t “fair enough” according to their standards! It crushed her confidence which took quite a while to get back. When my cousin was about to get married, the first thing her mother-in-law had to say about her future daughter-in-law was that her “colour was good”, that having being born fair was the biggest feat she could have ever achieved.
If today we say that the current generation suffers from self-worth and self-confidence issues, it is because of such attitudes and practices. It’s because people who were hurt by such comments chose to be quiet and believed that they could never be beautiful in the eyes of the world and so nobody really realised that this was an issue.
What Defines Us
“Beauty comes from within” – an age old saying, but truer words have never been spoken. The color of our skin can never define who we truly are. There is beauty in every shade. And so now when I have countless people come to me and say the usual cliched lines “You’ll not find a good husband”, “oh you’re pretty, shame you’re dark”, “ you should try bleaching it will definitely make you look more beautiful”, to all of these comments today I say “thank you, next.
Even though it took a while, I realised that my worth and my beauty was not defined by what others had to say on the topic. I was born beautiful, I am beautiful and no one can make me believe otherwise.
Dark is beautiful!