It all started when we were young and our mothers would tell us not to play in the sun, the harmful effects of being tanned which were mostly relatable to the social stigmas of not finding a suitable groom people calling us names if we didn’t listen to our mothers. Poor us, we believed our mothers and got extremely cautious of the skin colour. Even if we looked for alternatives, we would easily find the TV ads, newspaper matrimonials and people around us covering themselves up in the sheer sunlight, the notions of my mother were strongly backed up.
“Buri Nazar wale, tera muh kaala.”
I didn’t want to be part of a crowd and yet ended up doing what everyone was focussed on. It wasn’t hidden in the extremities of the black colour, it was hidden in the little instances of being pushed back in a humorous conversation because you don’t have the colour to make a remark, the slight judgy-look that people give and sum you up in a second. Anything you say henceforth is not a valid enough point. An even more subtle way through social media is the obsession with instagram filters to look fairer and patch-less as if being dark is more of a disability which has to be camouflaged for the greater good.
Not only women, but men seem to be surrounded by the same need to look fair. A country where colour defines the economic status of an individual which mind you, is another deciding factor of what they “deserve” and what they don’t.
It is outraging to see that people with “Unfair” skin have limitations in the colour they wear because they simply make them look darker. It seems pointless to see a fine individual being pitted against a person with a higher rank in the fairness meter where the original race wasn’t even remotely related to it. I have met some fine young women who were comfortable in their own skin and not just surviving because of their colour. Their confidence speaks in their personality and that’s what matters. The definition of beauty lies in the colour when it is supposed to lie in the features and from within.
It has been seen from the case of Emami Ltd. by a Delhi Law Student, Paras that the cosmetic companies that feed on the inferiority complex of people are certainly not working on the deep layers of your skin. Rather, they make use of the chemicals like Titanium dioxide, Cetyl alcohol that, works as an opacifier giving a temporary lightness to the skin making you look fairer and a sheer self-validation.
Actors like Abhay Deol have recently made the issue take the front stage and it is only now that the issue is being discussed rightly. Despite the extensive research work done time and again to disprove the claims made by the fairness companies, the social construct hasn’t let people come out of their blocks of the dusk demesnes of looking fair. With campaigns like “Dark is beautiful”, by Actress Nandita Das shows that people with influence and power can change the entire game.
“Why see black as inferior when it comes to skin complexion, when it is a definition of bold and beautiful in your closets.”
It’s not even about speaking up on the issue, it is more of an inner battle with the fears and coming out as a person of substance far from the grounds of skin colour.
Edit by: Nupur Singhal, one of the inspirations of my life, this article and much more.