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Barbie dolls are fair, cartoon characters are fair, almost everyone on TV is fair. From childhood everything you were exposed to that was considered good was fair. Everyone who is famous is fair. If not, they are famous for being famous despite their skin colour. White is always the dominant colour. This is the idea prevalent in the society, despite various efforts to take on this convention.
The natural human tendency to compare everything and everyone around them leads to a lot of racist comments, often within the family or the same peer group, with the fairer sibling or friend being called pretty and the darker one, the ugly duckling.
The media also projects this idea with fair-skinned lead actors and casting the dark-skinned in side roles and blink and miss scenes. You can have a dark heroine only if the film is labelled art cinema, a dark model only if it is accompanied by a social media post that says the designer has a large heart since he got dark-skinned models to walk the ramp for him.
No matrimony ad seeks a dark-skinned spouse, neither does it speak of a dark-skinned seeker, all thanks to the word ‘wheatish’.
All these often affect the dark-skinned, taking a toll on their confidence, self esteem and self worth. It makes them shun away from the public eye, and brings a lot of shame and hatred towards oneself. No one speaks of colourism, sssh, why would you want to draw attention to your skin colour by speaking about it, it is better left ignored, and if addressed, all you should do is bow your head in shame and feel dejected.
The few movements towards establishing that dark is pretty saw pretty(dark) women campaigning. The campaigns hit the headlines but did not quite hit the right spot in the hearts and heads of people to make them open their eyes and change their perceptions. Or even if they did, they didn’t gain momentum because it isn’t very easy to change an idea that runs deep and still enjoys support in all walks of life. It needs more force and representation from the melanin and mocha!
Past the period of colonialism, past the age of varna system, the dark skin stigma is still something that needs to be done away with. It is still fair that is lovely and it still is a long way for dark to be called pretty!
Nandita Das’ Video ‘India’s Got Colour’ Mocks Our Obsession With Fair Skin
‘Chittiyaan Kalaiyyan Ve!’ Bollywood And Its Obsession With Colourism
How Unfair: This Prejudice Cuts Across All Of Indian Society
A 22-Year Old Bride Murdered For Being Dark Complexioned. This Needs To Stop!
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