“Dark is beautiful” and “Every colour is beautiful” are just a few comments we have grown up with, but its acceptance is far from reality. The concept of beauty focuses on the melanin in our skin and no doubt that lighter skin is something that is celebrated widely, especially in India. It is no surprise that dark skin has never been welcomed in our society as a ‘natural fit.’
One should always be comfortable in her skin – but does every girl feel comfortable in her skin? Being a dark-skinned girl in India often leads to a lack of self-confidence, and people don’t understand the embarrassing moments one might face sometimes. They pass casual comments under the garb of humour, but do they know how we feel, even if it was a joke? It’s discouraging and disheartening because these are the same people who protest against colour discrimination but also mock you based on your colour and looks.
“You are not fair”, “You are dark”, “You don’t look beautiful” are just some of the absurd comments which many girls like me must have heard at some point in their life but could not raise a voice against it. I am a dark-skinned girl, and such comments have made me ponder if only, I were fair-skinned to be beautiful!
No doubt such experiences cause us to have low self-esteem for a long time, lack of confidence in one’s self, constantly comparing oneself to others and wondering why me? Or will I ever get someone who would accept me the way I am and overlook my skin colour?
The stereotype of colour is often seen as a joke and is rarely taken seriously. Even the internet and social media propagate several images and memes that mock light skin versus dark skin debate which somewhere has led to a belief that there is a difference in our vs their colour.
We might talk about racism but have we ever realised that Indians believe that looks determine one’s worth as a person? In Western countries, people self-tan to enhance their eyes because for them, being dark is something unique. We talk about unrealistic beauty standards, but the hard reality is, colourism runs more profound than the superficial. Being told that having fair skin determines the very quality of your life and the availability of opportunities, right from jobs to marriage prospects is now ‘normal’ for every person in this country.
Even though in recent years, campaigns such as “Dark is Beautiful” questioned India’s obsession with fair skin, they have had minimal impact on the society because somewhere till today there has been no change in perception about skin colour.
Even the fairness product ‘Fair and Lovely’ (now Glow and Lovely), which is India’s most massive selling skin lightening cream, with 24 billion rupees in annual revenue, as per a BBC report, shows how lighter skin is equated with beauty.
I too, have faced my share of flak for being dark-skinned, but I have learnt to embrace my natural complexion gracefully. As a message to all those dark-skinned girls who have received criticism – be confident of who you are and how you look – fair or dark, you are your beautiful.
As a Norwegian proverb said, “Beauty comes from within”, it is essential to know that your inner beauty is what makes you attractive.