I watched this segment on Dr Oz while having lunch this afternoon about skin color and how Asians, Indians, African Americans are so obsessed with lighter skin color. If you grew up in the Indian subcontinent or in Asia you know exactly what I am talking about and need no further explanation. If you do not know much about this matter, I’d say I am glad you were not exposed to such a thing. There was an Indian girl on the segment who has used such harmful chemical on her skin for years just to get shades lighter. She feels she is way prettier than what she was at 14 because she had much darker skin at that age. It was all because of social pressures that she lost her confidence and wanted to change the way she looked. I felt quite sad watching her.
I would love to share my story here. Other women in my family have a much lighter skin tone than me. It was hard growing up listening to constant comments about my complexion. I went through a phase during my early teenage years when I never wanted to go out specially to family gatherings because I was quite dark. I would shy away from boys just because I was dark and felt way inferior to all other girls I knew. I was good at school, great at art, craft, painting and other things but this was a silent struggle.
A lot of the times when I went out, aunties suggested creams and ways to lighten my skin. “Oh, you should bathe with milk and roses, use gram flour mixed with 27 other ingredients that are used to make curry and rub them on your face just till your skin starts to falls off, drink magic potions every morning and apply the “hate and ugly” cream every night before going to bed. Do not go out in the sun at all, it is ok if you are a dull kid and sit at home all day and get fat because then we can make fun of your size too!” Thank you so much Aunt confidence killer. I will surely try all that. It was nice because they “felt concerned” and all help was appreciated…. because obviously who would marry such a dark Punjabi girl ! It made me sad. I even prayed in my own innocent ways for god to make me fairer.
What I want to emphasize here is that you are not born with an understanding of skin colors and about what is beautiful and what is not. I do not know any child who would look at a dark person and look away. The people around you appropriately program you and I would like to say it was mostly other women who made me feel non-beautiful (I will not use “ugly” unless you don't have a face at all). Thankfully, my mother understood me and always told me I looked beautiful. It wasn’t enough but it was calming. I struggled, but as I grew up, I gradually learnt that there is much more in life than just my skin color. There are real battles to be conquered and life is colorful and not just white.
It is totally awesome to look after yourself and enjoy fashion and appreciate makeup and everything but it is totally different when the reason behind all these things is that you constantly feel ashamed and embarrassed of how you look. Don't dress up to compete with other women, dress up because you like it.
The fairness cream market is probably a million dollar industry in India. It’s shameful. It is even more shameful that the dating and matrimonial websites ask you your skin color. It’s an entirely separate subject than ethnicity – this is way more than that, its much more personal and disrespectful. Parents searching for an eligible bride for their son still post “looking for a slim, fair………… girl for our son”. Please note the son might look like 50 cents (Pun intended).
You have a fair complexion or not, be fair to other women. So may be gather your feelings and discard your beliefs today and when you see someone looking gorgeous, tell them. When you feel someone is doing well, support them. Compliment other women's work, their outfit, makeup, their cooking skills, their struggle and the way they live their life. I feel only strong women can compliment other strong women!
If you agree with me, please share.
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