Celebrating Colorism

Diksha Chowdhary

Don’t go out in the sun, you will get dark.
Don’t drink tea, you will get dark.
Don’t go out without a sunscreen, you will get dark.
Complaining over complexion begins the moment when a ‘not so fair child’ is born. Indians have an unique kind of obsession when it comes to having fair skin. Apply chickpea flour with curd daily, is the most unnecessary advice you will get if you are an Indian. The family members are the first who take the charge to start the unpleasant discrimination.
People believe that fair skin is related to intellect of a person. The more fairer a person, the more intelligent he/she would be, is a big stupid misconception. We often attach meaningless and senseless conclusions with someone’s colour. Like, some believe that fair people are from good families while dark skinned aren’t. Some don’t even treat dark skinned people equally.
People even celebarte being fairer and can’t afford a tinge of tan. Tan makes them feel ugly. It’s not their mistake only, our so called big brands don’t skip a tiny chance to put fair skinned people in the category of ‘BEAUTIFUL’ and ‘HANDSOME’. We get unsighted by their insensible messages and tend to purchase the products. Some people face so much that they often go for pricey skin lightning treatments. Although women are more pressurized to be fair, men have started to get influenced too.
Obviously, there are enough advertisements to make them believe that they can’t be handsome if they aren’t fair. Same goes with women. Advertisements exhibiting that if you apply whitening creams on your face, you will become confident instantly, is loathsome. Celebrities that we get inspired by, are often seen doing advertisements claiming fair as more attractive and demanding. These kind of endorsements lead to normalisation of cruel colourism.
This is not the end. There are advertisements in the newspapers, demanding a ‘fair’ bride/groom. Fair is celebrated this much, that even if you go to a store to buy a normal moisturizer or other skin care products, the staff will give you an uninvited advice for lightning your skin. Even Salons don’t stay behind. For them perfect skin is ‘fair skin’.
Fair people get advantage over dark skinned people most of the times- says my own experience. The growth of skin lightning products in India is booming. I wish the love for self and respect for others would boom in the same way.
Few days ago, Zozibini Tunzi became the first black Miss Universe. And the reason why people were so surprised about her win, was her skin tone. She even confessed her struggles of being black. If she wasn’t black, there would be no people who would be surprised.
Our preference for light skin doesn’t only create beauty standards, it creates inferiority complex among a lot of people too. This feeling can be debilitating at times. Light skin is respected while dark is not. Especially dark woman have to suffer a lot. A shocking case is of a women who was burnt by her husband because he thought she wasn’t fair enough to keep his pride. ‘I was put in the last row despite being a good dancer, due to my colour- says a school student.’ ‘People don’t talk to me. I know it’s due to my colour. They don’t like me around- states a college student.’ Even after a lot of campaigns, our so called beauty standards haven’t changed one iota.
What we really need is to change our mentality towards a ‘not so fair’ person. We are all creations of God, and each creation is beautiful and unique in it’s own way. We need to respect and celebrate each other a little more and most importantly cherish what we are. Accepting yourself is the key. Commenting on someone’s colour just to make them feel bad is absurd, because our society is made up like that. Being called fair is not an abuse while being dark is taken as an abuse. A lot of people say that black is their favourite colour, why this notion changes when it comes to a person? India will never develop fully, if our people would not change their mentality. They need to stop comparing white with black. Both are beautiful.
Brands really need to stop gushing about the benefits of being fair. Rather they should embrace every colour. Because every colour is DIFFERENT and BEAUTIFUL in it’s own way.