Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how a person’s skin tone is really a great matter of concern for society. It becomes mythically necessary in shaping a person’s future; not only does it play a role in someone’s career, but in other aspects as well, the skin tone is a major deciding factor of one’s fate.
And as I keep thinking about skin tones; I can’t come up with a single reason that justifies people’s desire to have lighter or darker skin. There is no prestigious thing in differentiating people on the basis of skin tone. It is rather a shameful act in the eyes of humanity.
The notions that fair girls will get better boys to marry or better job offers or that boys should be fair are really problematic. In fact, this concept is so disdainful, that we are forgetting the true meaning of beauty
Recently, Sai Pallavi, a Telugu actress refused to endorse a fairness cream worth Rs. 2 crores. And her reasoning for rejecting such a huge amount of money was very valid. According to her, as she told HuffPost India. “This is Indian colour. We can’t go to foreigners and ask them why they are white, and if they know that they will get cancer because of it. We can’t look at them and think we want that. That’s their skin colour and this is ours. Africans have their own colour too and they are beautiful.”
Honestly, we are so obsessed with associating beauty with fairer skin, that we fail to realize that beauty should never be associated with superficiality. We are so plagued by this idea of lighter skin, that we tend to forget what impact it’s having on young girls and women. It’s not only making them conscious, but its also making them hide, in the closet of insecurities and uncertainties.
I have seen on many instances where girls are taught to apply haldi, chandan, malai and all other cosmetics that would hypothetically make them fairer. In fact, talking about the past, boys also suffer from something similar.
Our market is stocked with various products that advocate for fairness and beauty. We have so many cosmetics that promise a particular skin tone after application. In fact, if the new age we have so many fashion bloggers and vloggers, social media influencers, who advertise various creams, facemasks, gels, that pledge for skin lightening. And marketing strategies are luring everyone into this fallacy.
The beauty market is increasing tremendously, gaining profit immensely without showing any accountability of the consequences. Most of these creams contain chemicals that are not only harmful to our skin but also expensive.
In one situation, I found myself cringing as someone mentioned that they want a daughter-in-law, who was fair and beautiful. In another instance, a lady was boasting about the girl’s lighter skin tone. In a recent incident, a guy was rejected for having dark skin tone and there was no mention actually no mention of his education, qualifications, or intelligence. The only factor that mattered when choosing an acceptable husband or wife was fairness and beauty. My question is, do dark-skinned people deserve to be considered worthless by Indian society? Does their intelligence and education and behaviour count for nothing?
Will they always be forced to try and change themselves by applying creams that are intended to make them fairer? Will all the other qualities within them, become secondary because of their skin tone? Will they be the subject to the never-ending rants, questions and the pity of people just because they have a darker skin tone?
If the answer is yes, then we as a society have failed and we need to stop carrying on with toxic traditions that do more harm than good.
Have we ever realized what a person with darker skin tone has to go through while listening to taunts about the colour of their skin? Have we ever realized what kind of psychological trauma they go through when they are constantly compared with their own friends, siblings and cousins, who have a lighter skin tone? Have we ever considered how a person with dark skin tone feels when we constantly push them to use products that have no effect on their skin?
Have we ever thought about how uncertain and insecure a person becomes when we demean them continuously? How many girls and boys with darker skin tones question their own self worth and fall into the pit of depression because of unnecessary qualms during marriage proposals?
If the definition of beauty is a flawless face without scars, with a lighter skin tone, then society is lying to itself.
The definition of beautiful holds a much broader slant then just having a light skin tone.
Beauty simply does not lie only in the face, it also lies in the acknowledgement of how a person perceives humanity and life, and in the very heart of the human, in the intelligence, knowledge, compassion and empathy that one shares.