Dusky And Not So Lovely?

Posted on August 26, 2012 in Specials

By Sujata Chandra:

We grew up with the thought that fair is beautiful, that being fair is synonymous with beauty, superiority and success. I have seen dark women rebuked, ridiculed, criticized and rejected because they are dark. Are we not challenging God here? Merely skin complexion determines so many things about us and we say we are free? Are we not dependant on society’s perception of good and superior?

Let me cite some personal instances to justify my point. A fair woman asks a dusky woman, “Why don’t you apply fairness creams. You complexion will become better.” And I react on the word better.

A beautiful dusky friend of mine recently broke up. Her boyfriend was of the perception that she is “too dark” to fit into the family. His question to her was, “If I was as dark as you are, would your family members accept me?” This was after the boy’s father had rejected the girl based on her complexion. The sad part is that the boy was head over heels for the girl before his family thought she was too dark. After the family failed to approve of the girl, his opinion suddenly changes. She received hints in the past which she chose to ignore. Love does that at times, we choose to see only the bright side and ignore all the dark aspects. (No pun intended)

Let’s blame an array of things around us for this attitude. Turn on the television and all you see is a range of fairness creams eager to transform you from a frog to a prince/ princess. Earlier the fairness creams targeted only the women. But times change, and not just for the better and the companies feel that the men can also be targeted now. Hence a series of multinational companies have introduced products which promise to transform your skin complexion from dark to fair/white (read: better, more successful, more confident and definitely better marriage prospects.) No really, is our Indian audience so keen to become fair that nobody seems to realize the worth of being dark? What’s so wrong in being dark? Who are we to say that dusky is not attractive? Where went the notion of ‘tall, dark and handsome’?

At the same time, I wonder would I be equally repulsed with fairness creams if I was not fair? Am I sure that the society would not have influenced me enough to resort to these creams in the hope of being fairer and ‘more beautiful’. I certainly hope that I would hold the same views if I was dark. This is for the sheer respect and admiration and a slight awe of people who are dark. God made them that ways and they should be proud of it. They should flaunt it and make it an admirable quality.

Look at the dusky beauties around us, be it Bipasha Basu or Priyanka Chopra. The sad bit is even they don’t flaunt it as much as they should. Priyanka Chopra goes ahead and advertises a fairness cream. Kajol appears in an ad where her complexion is five shades lighter than what we have seen in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. And Indian public is influenced by these celebrities in a big way. If they are promoting certain products, it must be good, or so we think!

This attitude needs to change, the fairness cream advertisements need to go, mindsets need to change, and we need to look at dusky beauties with eyes of admiration rather than pity.

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: Sujata Chandra has worked with Graphiti, sunday magazine of The Telegraph, Calcutta. She has taught Sociology at Christ Church College, Kanpur. She is an avid reader, a complete foodie and loves writing.[/box]