In this society where the criteria of beauty have always been fair skin, I also fell a victim to it.
Since childhood, I have been listening to endless suggestions and comments like “Use fair & lovely regularly”, “Chandan face pack is good for skin tone like you”, “besan ka ubtan will make you fair without fail, use it daily”, “You should bleach your skin” and what not. I realized people can go to any level to look fairer without giving a second thought that it might affect their skin quality because of the harsh chemicals. All they want is a beautiful, fair, glowing girl. Even the matrimonial ads say “Seeking fair girl”. You will never find dark skinned poster babies. Pregnant ladies are advised to eat some particular foods to give birth to a fair child.
Being a wheatish girl, I also had developed a feeling of inferiority complex from every single person who was fairer than me. Never I liked to get pics clicked in the dark or with fair people as everyone used to tell me “It will come out as black and white”, I used to choose clothes very cautiously so that I don’t look darker. Gradually, I started avoiding going out in sun. People used to ask where she is gone if we were in a dark room or theatre. I used to laugh with all of them but within my heart, it was humiliating.
In initial years of life, I never gave a flip about how I looked and I was a carefree girl but gradually as I grew older, I started noticing the comments of everyone, I started losing confidence. As a young girl, those silly comments had really brought me down. All those stupid things people had said hurt me to an extent that I started seeing myself in such a twisted way, the world sees me and which I would never ever wish for someone else.
In the quest to lighten my skin color, I tried all the beauty soaps and creams available in the market but realized nothing worked for me. I don’t blame those ubtans or products because I did not have enough patience to complete their course and wanted to get the result overnight. So, finally, I discovered that all those soaps and creams might get browner with my application but they can’t do any good to me. It is when I stopped focusing on it as I knew I couldn’t do much about it.
(Confession: A part of me still wanted to look fair)
But over the years, I realized it’s about the inner beauty and not the external one. To me, the most beautiful person on this Earth was my father, who was also a dark complexioned person but I had never seen the more beautiful person inside out than him. After a lot of introspection, I asked myself “Do I really need to have fair skin to look beautiful? Papa is dark too but he has a heart of gold, everyone loves him. Then why do I want white skin? Why I am running after it for years? When I treat him as my role model then why to change the way I look? Why can’t I be happy in my own skin? It is when I noticed my strengths and virtues and really started loving myself.
Colorism is a growing disease which discriminates against individuals on the basis of their complexion. We are embedded in a sick mentality that “You need to have a fair complexion to look pretty”. Indian media and Bollywood has surely added more onto this delusion by promoting more and more fairness products showcasing a girl who is not getting married because of her dark skin and when she uses such whitewashing products, she gets her prince charming OR even worse, she gets a job only after getting fair. There are many Bollywood actor and actresses with dark skin who underwent beauty treatments to become fairer setting an example for this society and promoting this fallacy.
We should learn to love people for their soul and heart which actually makes one beautiful and not the skin color. Time takes the toll of beautiful skin, it gets rashes and wrinkles but internal beauty never dies. We as a society have to stop shaming people and putting them down for the things that make them unique. It could be anything – skin color, voice, dressing sense, lifestyle anything.
This message is for all the beautiful people out there. You are beautiful in your own way, stop seeing yourself with others eyes and believe in your inner beauty. Love yourself the way you are and the world will love you too. You can conquer the world with your uniqueness and not being fair.
Today, I happily say Yes, I’m beautifully brown!!!