When I first received an invitation to like the page Dark is Beautiful from a Facebook friend, I didn’t think much of it. I ignored it as just another spam message. But, something led me check it out one day when randomly surfing the net. Perhaps it’s the involvement of celebrities like Nandita Das or perhaps the manner in which the message was conveyed. The campaign instantly appealed to me.
I have for many years now tried to avoid using any products that promise to make me fairer, sometimes illogically shunning even sunscreen just because of the message it conveys. But, the campaign for non-discrimination on the basis of skin colour hits a raw nerve. It is not very long ago that I was considered dark. Growing up, relatives often commented that with this skin time I would never find a suitable boy. A cousin once put her hand against mine and said, “See? Your skin is black. Mine is white. It basically just means you’re not scrubbing hard enough when you bathe. Scrub nicely and you will also become white and pretty like me.” For a 12-year old me, this statement was heartbreaking. The cousin in question was six years older and considered very pretty by my extended family. From then, the concept of fair is beautiful stuck on, much like the grease from a badly-baked cake, that refuses to wash no matter how hard you try.
It took me nearly a decade to get over my complex of being dark-skinned. A decade of feeling inferior and trying to tide over that complex by doing things that my fair-skinned cousins would have never dreamt of doing. A decade of trying to be the best in what I did in an effort to prove that my dark skin was not a handicap.
Nearly twenty years after that incident, I realize that I am worth much more than the colour of my skin. I realize that dark is not ugly and will never be. I realize I was perhaps foolish in trying to overcome what was never a handicap in the first place. But, the memories linger. Today, when I tell people that dark is beautiful, that being dark is nothing to be ashamed of, I am often greeted with the retort, “It’s easy for you to say because you are not dark.” No, I am not dark. I realize that now. But, there was a time, over a decade of my relatively short life, when I spent hours in front of the mirror agonizing about the pigmentation on my neck and the blemishes on my face.
It has not been easy for me to say this aloud. I do understand how people feel when they are called dark and ugly. But, it’s time we stop obsessing about fair skin. It is time we stop linking success and beauty to complexion. It is also time we stop relying of chemical cocktails that promise to make us fairer and lovelier. Fair is not always lovely. And dark is indeed very beautiful.

Dark is beautiful…

2 thoughts on “Dark is beautiful…

  • December 4, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Muhammed Ali put it very nicely,”Black is Beautiful.”

  • December 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Black is always beautiful.. it is all in the mindset of the people. Hope people come out of their ignorance…on these fair skin attitude.


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