“What’s Her Complexion?” When Will We Stop Asking This Question About A Prospective Daughter In Law?

We equate fair with beautiful, and a dark complexioned woman is considered to be not beautiful by default. When will this change?

We equate fair with beautiful, and a dark complexioned woman is considered to be not beautiful by default. When will this change?

“It would be okay if she is arrogant, but she has to be fair.”

It’s hard to believe but I have heard someone saying this when she was asked about her prospective daughter-in-law. This someone is also the mother of two dark-skinned daughters and was having a hard time finding eligible grooms for them. Reason? No point for guessing.

Shyamli is masters in mathematics and takes tuition up to graduation level. She is a great cook and a very good natured 29 years old girl. Despite all these qualities, her parents are worried about her marriage. The reason is simple – people asking, “What’s her complexion?”

She has been rejected several times because of the colour of her skin. All her attributes have shrouded behind this crazy desire to ‘choose’ a fair complexioned woman. Sometimes, she had been displayed in front of a few prospective alliances and ‘so called judges’ of her beauty. Some of them even asked for a vast dowry to compensate her complexion. Isn’t it disgusting?

There are so many families, where in-laws prefer and give more importance to a better-looking, fair-skinned bahu. I’ve known some families who rejected some qualified girls to get a fair complexioned bahu.

It’s perfectly okay if the boy is ugly. His wife has to be an angel. It is sad when your choice of partner depends on skin-tone.

It’s good to see that some celebrities like Kangna Ranaut and Abhay Deol refused to endorse fairness products but I wonder if it would make any difference. Because even in entertainment industry actress are suffering racism. Last year, ‘Parched’ fame Tannishtha Chatterjee walked out of a comedy show after they made mean comments on her skin tone.

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Those relentless fairness products advertisements are so sickening. A girl not able to talk to her father until she is fair. A girl thinking that her dreams could be fulfilled only if she turns fair.

Paridhi, the female protagonist of my debut book, We Will Meet Again, is dusky, and I was surprised to see some readers not understanding how a good-looking man like Abhigyan (The male protagonist) can fall in love with a girl like Paridhi.

“Why would he fall for her? She isn’t even beautiful,” someone said this to me.

Nowhere in my book had I mentioned that she isn’t beautiful. But, since she is not fair, people presumed she isn’t beautiful. Isn’t it strange?

There’s no point defining beauty by skin-tone. The warmth of your nature, kindness and positive attitude towards life make you beautiful, and confidence enhances that beauty. You can’t feel beautiful if you are not confident. And, confidence comes with knowledge, efficiency, talent, not just good-looks or fairness.

Self-approval is important. Once you accept the way you are, mean comments don’t bother you anymore. You start working on other relevant aspects of your life that lead you closer to success. Try to be an achiever, not fair. Once you are successful, who cares what’s your complexion?

Published here earlier.

Image source: By Angharad Woods (Contact us/Photo submission) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commonsfor representational purposes only.

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About the Author

Tarang Sinha

Tarang Sinha is a Delhi based writer, translator and painter. She's the author of We Will Meet Again. She has translated a book titled 'Don't You Quit' published by Westland Books. Her articles read more...

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