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Not fair yet lovely

September 17, 2015

So, this was an unplanned mid week post which I thought was very important and needs to be put out there. I recently watched one of my favorite you tuber, Scherezade Shroff, make a video about being comfortable in your own skin. She talks about how she often gets complimented on being ‘so fair’ and hence pretty. It not only makes her unhappy but she also feels extremely disrespected. Why? Because in my country most people strongly associate prettiness to the shade of ones skin color. So if you’re fair then you’re lovely, but if you’re dusky then god save you from the incessant nudging and constant feed of home remedies by the irritating nosy aunties! It’s very demeaning to say the least, but unfortunately its the truth and has been around for many many years now.

Being born in a south Indian family and inheriting the beautiful skin color, was not such a proud thing after all. As a kid I was darker than a lot of my cousins and friends, not that I cared or was even aware until people started making me conscious about it. It’s disheartening to see how the society looks down upon a person just because they are dark skinned, it’s only a reflection of their pettiness.These disgusting fairness cream ads are just a cherry on the cake. Their repeated illogical attempts of portraying a woman who’s unhappy and depressed for being rejected in an interview because of her dark skin. Who by the way then goes onto use the magical fairness cream and tadaaa is back to life, now she’s successfully making her way up the corporate ladder, who says you need degrees and education?! It’s sad to see how she conveniently attributes all her success to the fairness cream that she smothered on her face. These made up reality scenes are SOO believable, that these creams sell like hot cakes and make huge profits! Only if in real life things worked that way! As an adult I understand this, but teenagers who are easily impressionable, will believe these marketers. They are very smartly & slyly capitalizing on the emotions that are linked to age old beliefs and narrow mindedness. I’m not going to lie, back in school I was guilty of using these fairness creams too, only to realize it made zero difference to my skin, my confidence or to the person that I was aspiring to be!

What is more amusing is how everyone seems to be wanting a fair wife/gf, like that’s the only apparent criteria for a lot of men. OK, I understand, to each their own, I’m not judging you. Go ahead and choose the fairest and throw all the logic out of that window, I promise I  still won’t judge you. Except that, I’am downright judging you for your pea-brained, shallow, almost dysfunctional ability to think! You know what I’am most angry about, how these fairness ads displaying a sad,depressed,rejected,unsuccessful portrayal of a woman has been tolerated for sooo many years. Especially, even in this day and age where we know of so many successful dusky women, who have made it big not only in non-beauty industries, but also in fashion and movie businesses which is highly dominated by the fairer crowd. The irony is,the same actresses who are dusky and successful endorse these fairness creams and hence creating a huge demand! If economics taught you well, you’ll know when there is a huge demand, there is an equal & almost overflowing supply too, so we are to blame as well. If we just understand the simple fact that every skin color is equally beautiful and attractive. That by being different or unique as a person is what sets you apart and not just being a fair skinned human. Then these creams wouldn’t see the day light and we can probably fill their empty shelves with something more worthwhile, like ice cream may be, I mean come on!

I understand this issue on a more personal level,because I’m not conventionally ‘fair’ and there have been times when people made me feel less about myself because of my skin color. Over the years, I understood that your skin color is not a representation of your beauty, your skills or anything that you are as a person and learnt to truly accept myself. I also learned, that its ok to go out in the sun and live your life without having to cover your face all the time. That it’s ok to gulp down cups of your favorite chai & stop worrying about it making you darker. That it’s ok to be just YOU because no-one else can be you better! I know there are a lot of girls out there, who aren’t confident & succumbing to the societal pressure by constantly looking for solutions to become a shade lighter. Believe me when I say this, there is nothing more liberating & life changing than truly accepting oneself. The day you can smile with pride when someone calls you dusky or dark instead of feeling disgusted or insulted then that’s your win. We’ve been blessed with a beautiful skin color and that stupid shade scale can’t tell you otherwise!

So, please stop trying to become fairer and obsessing over fairness creams,they will only make your pockets lighter and nothing else!

Smile, shrug off and surge ahead people, it’s only an extra amount of melanin we’re talking about, it can’t be this important! So say NO to fairness creams and be your own kind of beautiful!

Love

Swati, a proud dusky Indian woman.

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28 Comments

  • Reply Vinitha September 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Great post Swati.. its seriously such a shame on our indian mindsets ..being a south indian myself, I have gone through this so many times …I did get affected as a child and I used to sit and cry all day..but now that I am all grown up , I am so confident in my own skin and proud of my colour….we all really need to accept the skin colour we were born in and stop the discrimination! #brownisbeautiful and of course , all women ( irrespective of their skin colour) are beautiful…I hope there comes a day when Fair and Lovely and all those stupid fairness creams stop selling in India…:)

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      So true Vinitha,I really hope people change the way they think and these fairness creams are gone forever!

  • Reply Supritha September 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    It’s an insightful post Swati but, I think it’s the society we grew up in that is to be blamed. I’ve been there too, not for my skin but, for my body. My story is how I’m so skinny in life. I’ve been criticized to this date about my body. People have tried to make me conscious, all my life. How I need to put meat on my bones, Don’t go stand outside when it’s windy, you’ll fly away, yada, yada, yada.? Honestly, I don’t give a rats! I’m comfortable the way I’m and it’s about not paying heed to such BS that matters!

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Oh yes! I totally agree, it is the society that needs to change and that includes all of us! I completely understand what you must’ve gone through, I was hell of a skinny too (you can’t tell now) 😛 people had a lotta things to say then and even after I put on weight people still had a lot to say! So like you said, I don’t give a hoot!

  • Reply Harivaindaran September 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I shared this post on my blog Facebook page. Good one Swati! This happens in Malaysia too and I think it is absolutely ridiculous!!!

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Aww thank you so much Hari! It’s beyond ridiculous that people think this way! I really hope it changes and we become more accepting!

  • Reply NOI h. SAF September 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Swati I can’t tell you how much I loved reading this post. Reading about your experience made me angry because I think you’re gorgeous.
    This a conversation that needs to be had by everyone, because across all cultures darker skinned people suffer the worst sociological effects, and it’s primarily due to ignorance that people pass on to their children. Also, as a blogger who blogs about fashion and beauty it’s somewhat silly of me to criticize the beauty industry but the truth is that the whole business of beauty is to create and feed on people’s insecurities because the business thrives on that. If people are happy, and love and embrace themselves, no one is going to buy any beauty products, and that means less money for the beauty brands. But if people aren’t feeling that good about themselves and they see an ad say something like “Be your best self with *insert product name here*” and they see a gorgeous Photoshopped image of a celebrity endorsing this product of course they’re going to feel like they absolutely need to have it in order to feel better about themselves. And you are absolutely right about teenagers being the age group that these ads negatively affect the most.
    And another thing is they (corporations) sell us Characteristics of Each Other. So say if someone is darker skinned they target them with fairness/bleaching creams, and if someone is fair they target them with tanning products, and if someone has a thin frame they target them with cosmetic/diet/workout plans to achieve a curvier frame, and if someone is curvier they target them with diet products. The whole thing is just … it’s insane when you think about it.
    I think that we combat these issues with education. As early as possible introduce kids to diversity in cultures, people, languages .. as much as possible. Explain to ignorant people that MELANIN is a pigment which the body naturally produces. Some people have a higher concentration of it and some people have a lower concentration but we all have it, and having less or more doesn’t and should never determine attractiveness. As beauty/fashion bloggers we also have to pay attention to the content that we repeatedly post. We should all celebrate diversity with the people/celebrities we write about, also pay attention to the ads that constantly make you feel bad about yourselves, take note of them and don’t support those companies that make you feel like you’re not good enough.

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 17, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      I loved your perspective on this! It’s actually so true, no beauty product can be sold if we all are happy about the way we are. We all are insecure in some way and the beauty brands feed on that. Like you said if you are fair,sell them tanning products, if you are dark, sell them bleach or fairness creams. But it’s a lot more difficult for dark skinned or brown people to be accepted especially by a society that is over obsessed with fair skin. There is a thin line between trying to groom yourself and trying to change yourself.We need to know when we are crossing over to the other side! We all thrive to look good and feel good about ourselves, but you should also be able to walk around without makeup feeling as good as you felt when you were dressed up. That’s when you will know you have truly accepted yourself.I don’t honestly have a problem with cosmetics or make up, they enhance your features or beauty. But if a brand claims that you are going to be unsuccessful or rejected if you don’t use my product,then I have a problem with that!My confidence cannot be altered by usage of a product.I completely agree that we all have to be so aware of what we endorse or talk about, it should not give out a wrong message to the readers.Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment, it really made me think about a larger picture!:)

  • Reply NOI h. SAF September 17, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Oh gosh Swati I didn’t realize that my last comment was so Long. Oops…

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Haha..No problem at all, I loved reading your take on this. I enjoy when people share their thoughts openly.Have a great day! 🙂

  • Reply Devina September 17, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Swati,

    This is spot on. Some countries associate beauty with fair skin, and it is unfair to a lot of people who are dark skinned. I was born in a family of mixed blood, so I resulted in being very pale, and I didn’t realize it till recently that my pale-ness meant that I was worth ‘more’ where I was born in. There are creams for lightening skin tones and colors everywhere, comments on how unattractive some of the most beautiful women are, just because of their skin colors, and it is a nightmare. Once I got a call to model, and I did for some skin care products. Only after the shooting was done did I find out that it was a skin lightening product I was modeling for. I said no to any other offer after that. Because I felt so ashamed, and that was a scam! No one would get lighter from using that, I was born with this color, not transformed. And people were making money out of cheating others into believing that such thing was possible, and from making others feel ‘not enough’ about their looks and that affected people’s confidence. It is benefiting from the fact that we tend to want what we do not have. And I can tell you that I’d give a lot to have your skin tone.
    I think you are absolutely beautiful, and I am really glad that you embrace that and not support the creams. And this was such an inspiring post. I know it would be bad for the beauty products market, but I do hope that more women will start to reflect upon this and think the way you do.
    I love, love, love this post. Just made my day! Thank you!

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 18, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Devina! It was admirable of you to give up modelling for that brand, not everyone has the courage to do that.You are beautiful, I really hope more people start becoming aware and more accepting of others.These fairness creams are such a scam, and its even worse to see how they portray a dark skinned girl’s life as tragically sad! I’am glad this inspired you, nothing makes me more happy! 🙂

  • Reply Averie Nicole September 18, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Swati,

    This is such a beautiful post and definitely something I needed to read at this point in my life. As a blogger, it’s so hard to see everyone around you having things you don’t have, having opportunities that have not yet come to you, and just so much more that can get me down at times. I strongly believe in what you have to say about being comfortable in your own skin and who you are and where you are at this very point in time. I read this quote recently and it went something like this “I WAS DYING. First, I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then, I was dying to finish college and start working. And then, I was dying to marry and have children. And then, I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then, I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying… and suddenly I realize I forgot to life.” Ever since I read that, I have been looking at life from a whole other angle. I am learning to accept who I am at this very moment in time and I feel much happier than I did when I was constantly comparing myself to others. Comparison truly is the thief of happiness.

    It’s very sad to see people just going with the flow of society and not being individuals. Whether it be within the family, within the culture, within society, or among all the people in the world, it’s so important to be an individual and people are so quick to judge just my appearance. So sad. I am so glad you wrote this and brought awareness to the issue you see! Great write up, darling!

    I look forward to all of your posts in the future!

    Besitos,
    Averie

    (www.averienicole.com)

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 18, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Aww Thank you Averie! So glad that you have accepted yourself, you are right, comparison does take away from us.People really need to take an individualistic stand on things, just following the herd will only do more harm than good. Thank you so much for writing out your thoughts, really enjoyed reading it! 🙂

  • Reply Mila September 18, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Amazing post girl, really happy to read something so inspiring and truthful around here 🙂 And we are all beautiful no matter our skin color!

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 18, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you so much Mila! Yes, we’re all beautiful irrespective of our skin color 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Rita September 18, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Great post Swati! Very well written! Beauty comes from inside. It’s so wrong to define it by skin or looks. I think this problem is everywhere not just in India, people judge you by your skin color or your looks. Its so sad. I think everyone is beautiful in their own way. You get only life to live. It is very important to learn to love yourself and be comfortable with who you are then only you can lead a happier, healthier life.

    http://www.styleroundtheclock.com

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you Rita! So true, I completely agree with you. Judging someone on their looks or skin color is absolutely wrong.Once people understand that, things would be a lot better!

  • Reply Doreen's Style Diary September 19, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    What an amazing post. I think you’re absolutely beautiful. I’m from Burma and I noticed the same kind of discrimination last time I visited there. I think everyone is beautiful in their own way. It’s important to realize that and be comfortable in our own skins.

    http://doreensstylediary.com

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you for reading Doreen! So true, each of us are beautiful in our own unique ways.I can’t agree more,thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • Reply apeksha September 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Hi,
    Being Indian (and not fair) I’ve felt so angry at those ads. They were basically implying that girls who weren’t fair skinned weren’t beautiful, and um, that is very very awful. Since when have people become so superficial that we decide how well a person will do based on their skin tone?! And this is not even getting into the argument of girls and women not being treated right based on the sole fact that they’re girls. So annoying.
    Thank you so much for posting this, it needs to be out there. LOVED your thoughts on this!

    X

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much Apeksha! Means a lot to me that people do connect and understand this issue! People really need to be more open and less ignorant!

  • Reply Shreya September 28, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    So beautifully written. Discrimination on the basis of skin colour is such a huge issue in India and definitely needs to be talked about more often. We hear so often about the discouraging comments in our everyday life that we tend to to brush it aside and get used to it. Glad you thought to write about it online so it can reach so many more people.

    • Reply Swati Dixit September 30, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Thank you Shreya! I completely agree with you, it needs to be talked and people need to realise that it’s just your skin color, we need to stop obsessing over it!

  • Reply Purba Chakraborty August 18, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    A wonderful post that will surely enlighten many teenagers. Loved the way you have shared your experience and thoughts 🙂

  • Reply Sapana August 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Beautiful post. I recently saw a video on social media in which 2 girls talked about same. It was taken up by people and media making the fairness cream makers change their slogans and the way they present their ads.

  • Reply Dipika Desai August 22, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I agreed on each & every word of this post. I hate those aunties who keep asking questions like ” beta bahot dhup me ghumte ho. ye lagao wo lagao. Ladke dark ho to handsome lagte he but ladkiya to gori ho to hi achhi lagti he” & they say they don’t discriminate on basis of skin tone.

    • Reply Swati Dixit August 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Hahahah Dipika loved your comment! Absolutely agree!:)

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