“Do not wear purple. It makes you look dark,” so they told me. But today, purple is my favorite color.
The above two lines sum up my journey.
Chocolate, caramel, honey, cinnamon, and wheat! I am not stating the ice-cream flavors, but shades of brown skins that prevail in India.
And I am wheatish or maybe somewhere in between honey and wheatish!
Wheatish, in India, refers to the people who are not fair. The word ‘fair’ is not be confused with righteousness, but fair in this context alludes to the skin tone that is multiple shades lighter than wheatish.
Shadeism or colorism, whatever name you give to this prejudice, it does not matter. The important fact is India’s obsession with fairness though not new is still quite prevalent. Parents and relatives of the girls with dark complexion are often consumed with the anxiety of finding a suitable groom, and inadvertently transfer their insecurities to the child. The girl gets humiliated every time the society favors the light skinned.
No one deserves to get hurt for their color. No one! Period.
The big companies feed off these deep-rooted insecurities and blatantly promote their skin whitening products. They even rope in big celebrities who endorse the idea that becoming light skinned brings success in life!
We all know how superficial these claims are? Granted that because of the deep ingrained fundamental that ‘fair is beautiful,’ the light skinned people are favored by the unintelligent, but promoting the concept that fair skin alone can get you success is preposterous.
Get over it people!
The Matrimonial advertisements in the Indian newspapers further aggrandize the fair color. A typical ad for ‘brides wanted’ reads, ‘Wanted a fair, slim, beautiful and convent educated girl for our son.’ Any sane person would know that for a marriage to be successful you need a connection at the emotional level and not at the skin gradient level.
Bollywood Cinema that prefers to star milky white complexion women does little to abate this unfair bias towards white complexion.
I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, with movements like ‘Dark is beautiful’ (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/india-obsessed-white-skin-actress-article-1.1498783). There is a gradual shift in the mentality, and the new generations are not deeply prejudiced by the skin color driven beauty meter. But something that has been part of the society for decades would take years to change, and cliché as it may sound, ‘the change begins with us.’
This month of March is especial! Women’s history month, Woman’s day all fall in March. What better way to celebrate than to appreciate the beauty in each one of us-
' I am beautiful NOT like YOU... I am beautiful like ME.'
(This was posted by one of my friends on social media, and it strikes a perfect chord with this article.)