Blog / My Journey to Being Dark and Lovely
My Journey to Being Dark and Lovely19.10.2023 | Tanuja Harad
I am now perfectly suited for marriage in our Indian society; instead, I have crossed that age according to my parents and relatives. Therefore, they are passionately looking for a match for me. But in an arranged marriage, they mostly look for dark-skinned men for me, thinking that a fair-skinned one will reject me anyway because I am dark-skinned. The dark-skinned guys will also reject me because our society is obsessed with fair skin though one is dark or fair.
I have talked about my dark skin and the situations I went through since childhood on social media. But again, I am writing here because it affected me a lot, and it took so much time and hard work to overcome. I used to get humiliated by friends in school, family members, and relatives in many ways. It is widespread today also in my native place where I grew up. I was born and brought up in a small village in Maharashtra. Little girls are teased as kali, kalubai (dark-skinned), etc., and also jokes are being cracked on them. Fair skin is always connected with beauty and dark with ugly irrespective of other features.
Like a fairy tale, I used to think that magic should happen, and I should wake up as a fair-skinned girl. But that never happened. I used to read newspapers when I was in school, and I had a habit of looking at beauty tips given in small corners. I followed many such home remedies. I also used to apply ‘Fair and Lovely’ every day while I was growing up. Later, I got to know that these cosmetics are made up of chemicals that are not good for the skin. And skin doesn't improve as promised in the ads. Then I left using cosmetics. Now, I use cosmetics but only occasionally.
As a child, I thought that I cannot wear makeup or cannot wear fancy clothes. Because whenever any girl with dark skin tried to do so, they used to get taunts from others. Also, my mother did not allow me to wear makeup or wear fancy clothes. I studied in one of the reputed colleges in Mumbai. Students in my college were from upper-class backgrounds, fashion oriented. But still, up to graduation, I never wore makeup, not even applied kajal, thinking that it would look awful on me. After getting a job, I thought of applying makeup to look presentable.
Whenever a program or function used to happen in the village or in school, I could not stand in front because I was told that I am not good-looking. Many such incidences affected my confidence directly and indirectly. While approaching anybody in college or at the workplace, I always thought twice. I never believed in myself. I also have stage fear, and to overcome these problems, especially loving my own body, I worked really hard, but it still hasn't completely gone away.
Only education helped me make my identity, build confidence, and continuously prove that I stand amongst others and challenge them. If I had not been good in my studies, I might not be writing this but instead spending my life like other girls in my village.
Obsession about fair skin in India and also in the world is a big problem. It is historically there in our society. It is a social problem but not personal. The obsession with fair skin is mostly looked at by women than men. People are judged by their skin color rather than their behavior, nature, and kindness. The cosmetic industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Media and Bollywood play an essential role in building a discriminatory society based on gender, caste, and race. More than half of the population is dark-skinned in India. Still, there are no cosmetics available that are specially designed for dark-skinned women. Instead, we find ample amounts of products that tell us how to become fair by using them. I think there is no need to change the color of your skin tone, which is natural. We have different skin tones because of geographical genetic diversity. We should respect our diversity and treat everyone equally.
I threw fair and lovely. I now keep learning to embrace my dark-skinned, beautiful self!
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