Dark is beautiful !!
Discrimination in India based on skin colour can be traced back to the ancient times in which it existed collateral with the caste system. Women in our society have been subject to severe criticisms and judgement for their dark skin colour since time immemorial and that too not only by men but also by women themselves. It is indeed mortifying and somewhat preposterous that even today,the fact whether a woman is beautiful or worthy is determined by her skin-tone. While a fair girl is valued and accepted with open hands by the society, a dark-skinned girl is considered ugly and treated as outcast. It is shameful that this condemning phenomenon is widely pervasive; not only among the unlettered and impecunious but also among some of the most sophisticated and educated people.
Many times women are rejected and are considered unsuitable for marriage because they are ‘too dark-skinned’ to be married to. A glance at the matrimonial advertisements even reads ‘WANTED FAIR AND BEAUTIFUL BRIDE’ corroborates the fact that almost every man or his family desires a fair bride. Frequently, the words ‘beauty’ and ‘fair’ are used with prejudice to mean the same thing.This unfathomable craze for white-skinned women has often been rationalized by stating that fair women tend to procreate fair children, which is again desirable to our biased society. The colour bias is etched deeply into the minds of a lot of Indians and influence them to invest in skin-whitening products so much so that the advertisements portray dark-skinned men and women as unhappy and depressed due to their skin colour. Various campaigns and petitions have been filed across the country and hundreds of people have come forward to voice their concerns against discrimination based on skin color. Renowned actor and director Nandita Das has given her support to the online campaign ‘Dark is Beautiful’ launched by ‘Women of Worth’,which attempts to spread the message that the value and beauty of an Indian woman is not determined by the fairness of her skin.
This fair skin syndrome is more like a social disease which cannot be eliminated entirely with the aid of laws. While our Indian laws condemn discrimination based on skin colour but our minds foster the very idea of spurning them and persevere with the bias.It is rather baffling that women in our society are more prone to colour bias than men. Remedy will be unattainable till the mind-set of people changes in this regard. The eternal truth shall always remain in the fact that beauty comes from within. It lies within the soul of a person.
In the words of Adam McKay, “Can anything good come of a backward way of thinking like judging someone based on skin color?No way.”
— About the author: The article is contributed by our intern, Deepshikha Bhowal.