Dark is beautiful: the battle to end the world’s obsession with lighter skin by Mary-Rose Abraham
Dislike of one’s own skin tone starts right when a child comes into the world, with their own family and classmates and teachers. May-Rose mentions that family members are a huge part of stemming hate with the child’s own skin color once they grow up. One girl name Pooja Kannan, 27 years old, shares her story of growing up discriminated which led to her being obsessed with whitening cosmetics when she grew up. Growing up, she had a healthy natural brown tan, but her aunt would constantly tell her that “you have turned black” and in some cases the idea that if you were light skin, you would be much prettier. Kannan said she felt insecure her whole life even in career and love life. Kanan shares that when she was getting ready to go out, she would remember what her aunts and others say and would put on more makeup”. This is a powerful line that she shares, which I think affects a lot of other Indian girls. Not only was she discriminated and made uncomfortable about her skin tone at home, she also faced discrimination and insecurity at her work too. Kannan is a dancer and she mentions that the fair, skinny and tall girls were placed in front of the show while no matter how good of a dancer you are, the darker and shorter girls were placed in the back. This biased and discrimination is widely affected in India. As a small girl growing up in India, my music teacher favored the ones with lighter skin students over the dark skin. I was put in the light section, however, the others who had a lighter skin were more favored. These are the adults I looked up to while growing up. As a child, I did not understand what whats wrong with good. Although, I was lucky that I got the chance to be educated and away from that environment, but my other peers who also grew up looking up to people like music teacher share the same narrow mind about skin color. This is a sad truth that keeps repeating itself reproducing generation of people obsessed with white cosmetics and biased.
India is a nation who is obsessed with being white. It is no question that darker skin Indians face discrimination and goes far as racism as sometimes is found systematically such as career and in education. In school, some of the textbooks contain a picture of a girl with white skin and are labeled beautiful where dark skin picture girl is labeled ugly. The problem that Mary-Rose brings out that I also noticed while doing this research is that no one in India is talking about this issue as well as acknowledge that there is an issue surrounding skin tone.
Women of Worth is an NGO that stands up against the bias and unequal treatment in India due to skin color. They launched a campaign called ‘Dark is Beautiful’ in 2009. The founder of Women of Worth mentions that it is a campaign that seeks inclusivity and not an anti-white campaign. The campaign reaches out to others by running workshops with media and literacy and advocacy program in schools.