Being a dark-skinned woman, I’ve always experienced the dark colour paradox bothering me during my teenage years.
Girls with a fair complexion are beautiful by default, and dark-skin girls like me have to always face this ‘colour differentiation taboo’ and cover it up. My family and friends used to say, “Although you are dark in colour, you’ve got sharp features, nice hair, and you still look beautiful.”
Unfortunately, this diversity in skin colour has created a hierarchy of beauty — one that tells you light-skinned people are the epitome of beauty, while dark-skinned people fall at the bottom.
Why is only ‘fair’ that’s ‘lovely’? I kept wondering.
I was unaware of this until I was in the seventh grade when I found out that my dark skin could put me in a tough spot and stunt my self-esteem. My classmates ridiculed the colour of my skin. One of them called me “Kaali Maa“. I used to pretend I didn’t hear him and walked away. But I still remember that.
Another thing that amused me: if a boy was dark in colour he was addressed as ‘dark and handsome’, but for a girl the rules were different.
In the 10th grade, when I was attending a relative’s marriage, my grandmother asked, “Why do you wear light colours? You look more dark in them.” And I had nothing to say.
I hated wearing white and black. I hated taking pictures in rooms that weren’t well-lit because I knew that while the faces of my fair-skinned relatives/friends would show up in the pictures, mine wouldn’t.
Then came the era where ‘dark’ was ‘in’. The term “dusky beauty” evolved and it gave us due consideration. Our skin tone was finally recognized; thanks to all the dark skin supermodels and actresses.
But by this time, I realized that even if it didn’t matter to you personally, the people around you would never let you take it easy. They make it a big deal. People in India have got this unfair obsession with the lighter skin as if it’s in our hands to choose the skin colour that we wish.
Why is being dark so unfair?
But as I said, “stay unfair, stay beautiful.” It’s all about our attitude and how we look at ourselves. It’s only you who can bring out the best in you, and trust me you will outshine.
You are beautiful. Be you.
Much love and gratitude.