How This Girl Is Battling The ‘Fair Is Lovely’ Notion

Posted by Tanushree Das in Body Image
January 19, 2017

Pulling the colour box out of the cover is like unfolding magic and witnessing life in tangible shades of 10 ml – the ones who love stationery will empathise more with me. Dark green. Light green. Yellow. Orange. Red. Brown… Skin?

“Skin is the soft outer covering of vertebrates”, Google baba says. But this 4 cm long cylindrical colour carefully wrapped in paper says ‘skin’. Well, for its characteristics, it is very ‘light’ – loudly claiming that there exists just that one shade of ‘body colour’ in the universe – well, at least on earth anyway.

Only ‘Fair’ is ‘Lovely’? So, if I have more melanin in my body which makes my skin colour dark I should be ashamed of it! Is that what ‘they’ are trying to say?

“They were auditioning for the lead role in school – my teachers appreciated my performance but did not choose me since they said I was dark, and hence, not matching the criteria of being beautiful and pretty. Well, I was also not ‘Snow White’ for the other play. My neighbours used to ask my mom and my sister what went wrong when I was born. My mum told them that it was some sort of ‘iron deficiency’ that resulted in me being born with the colour I have.

It’s nothing new for me when my friends feel astonished while comparing me and my sister – they call her ‘very pretty’, and they can’t relate to the fact that we are actually siblings for the obvious reason that she is ‘fair’, while I am ‘dusky’. All the people who visited home would suggest ‘beauty products’ and ‘home remedies’ to me for turning my ‘skin colour’, a shade ‘fairer’. I was very upset of course, and I felt very irritated, but college changed my life. I felt good about myself and I accepted who I am.

There is no requirement for one to be ‘fair’. Whichever way I am, I know one fact – that I’m ‘very cool’, and the people around me give me the strength and confidence and the outlook to just remain the way I am. The environment that I received and experienced in Miranda House, Delhi, was life changing.  My school education was not very encouraging – it’s in college that I started believing in myself, and that I can actually conquer my dreams and what I want. Yes, I am not completely devoid of ‘insecurities’ with my ‘complexion’. Since I want to see myself in the Bollywood industry someday, I do feel that ‘skin colour’ does matter there a lot – but I want to fight that, mark my presence and create a space for myself. I would follow my heart in any case – though I think about things after I have already taken an action – I let my heart lead”.

Kohl eyes, short hair, ‘dark’ in complexion, making everyone laugh – this is the woman I met in college. She is one of the great actors I have worked and grown with. She has proven herself by the appreciation she has received for her acting skills, wittiness, improvisation, alertness and spontaneity. Receiving the title of ‘Upcoming Star’ in her first year of college itself in the Delhi University theatre circuit is a huge deal. Nikita Kumar has been shelling all stereotypical ideas of ‘beautiful’ by just being the person she is.

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