Thursday, March 13, 2014

Black, white or brown all are beautiful...

I already wrote couple of posts in past which are somewhat related with this topic which I wanted to discuss today (please see the links below). The topic is about skin color and perception or definition of beauty. I was born in a society obsessed with fair skin, I think India is the world leader in sale of fairness skin products (products like fair and lovely or fair and handsome are very popular brands). I have a dark skin by birth. I guess I have darkest skin complexion among all three siblings of my generation in our family. As a kid I always used to get consolation that even though my skin is dark it's not that bad, so I should be happy that it's little bit fairer than 'X' (some cousin in family or neighbor who is cited as an example for being darker than me). I was also consoled that as I am a boy it won't be a much of a problem for my marriage as my gender itself gives me upper hand (superior status) in marriage bazaar. Just because I am a male I can easily demand or choose a fair skin bride to strike a balance in next generation (!!). This might sound ridiculous or crazy but this was how it was, but luckily for me I never felt any inferiority complex any time in my life because of my skin color or physical appearance. I never bothered much about anybody's physical appearance, may be because of influence of books I read or may be because of my 'I don't give it a damn' attitude towards these type of comments. I can't say exactly what was the reason but I never felt guilty or inferior because of my skin color, rather more people commented more proud I felt about it.

I know and understand very well now that skin color doesn't matter at all. No one should feel any bad about their skin color. Black, brown, white or anything else all are beautiful and unique in their own way. This is now easy for me to say, but back then when I was a kid it was not that easy, I saw many people feeling depressed or inferior just because of their skin color. It is not easy to ignore when people around you comment about your skin color negatively every time they discuss about your physical appearance. It is not easy when your skin color is used to tease you or humiliate you. Rather it's quite possible that these people start thinking that something is wrong with them that's why I totally understand the situation when I read news about girls going in depression because of their dark complexion, or people's desperate desire to make their skin fairer in order to look beautiful by using whatever means are available to them. This all happens because of tremendous social and psychological pressure created on these individuals by this hippocratic behavior of society around them. We need to diffuse this pressure, as I said it's not easy for everyone to understand that skin color really doesn't matter, most advertisements of fairness creams are completely racial and are examples of pathetic attempt to earn money by demeaning and insulting dark skinned people. As some of these products are endorsed by some famous celebrity more people start believing on these ads and get trapped in this racial prejudice.

I still remember when my mother used to put lot of white talcum powder (only cosmetic product which we can afford) on my face so that I look little fairer during any photo shoot or social function (like marriage ceremony or festivals). I know that she did all these things out of concern about me. She was worried that someone might comment about her son's dark complexion. She didn't want someone call her son ugly because of his skin color. This worry was instigated in her by society around her. That's why I feel campaigns like 'dark is beautiful' or people like Lupita talking about their experience related with stigma associated with skin color are very important. This post is also a small effort in that direction, there are many issues in world about which we need to worry but our skin color is not one of them, no matter what these advertisements say every skin color is beautiful. We need to question and challenge these prejudices about skin color which still exist in our society. These prejudices are propagated by many advertisements, some programs of TV (in many comedy shows in India they always make fun of dark skin people and also overweight people). Now whenever someone tries to console me for my dark skin, I tell them not to worry about my skin color, rather I insist them calling me dark skinned or black person. I take it as a compliment as I am really proud of my skin color. I make very clear to them that I don't need their consoling or sympathy about my skin color. I love my skin color and I advise everyone to love theirs. Let it be black, white, brown, fair, dark or whatever they all are equally beautiful and adorable. Lets kick this prejudice out of our minds which is largely result of some racial marketing of some beauty products and enjoy this colorful world. Remember "we all are beautiful".

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong'o's Speech On Beauty
2. What is real beauty?
3. We all are beautiful.
4. http://darkisbeautiful.blogspot.com/

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