Opinion

Why aren't we comfortable in our own skin? #UnfairandLovely

Prateeksha Nayak
15th Mar 2016
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Are you looking…

…for a job?

…for a life partner?

…to get admission into that college you always wanted to study in?

…for a job promotion?

…to do anything?

But, have you been unsuccessful in doing so for some reason?

Well, there seems to be a definitive solution… Fairness creams!!!

Yes, it is as hilarious as it sounds. But, can you believe that the thriving fairness industry has been pitching their products to you and me with such ‘illogical’ plots for years now? And that we have either been falling prey to or accepting their presence, because well, they ‘ve always been there?

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Surfer Ishita Malaviya

“There is a lot of social pressure on women to look and dress a certain way. Dark skin is not considered beautiful and so most women are afraid of getting tanned.” – Ishita Malaviya, India’s first woman professional surfer told Herstory when we asked her what keeps Indian women away from the seas.

But things are changing. A group of girls at the University of Texas have decided this has to change. Thus was born #UnfairandBeautiful, a global campaign on social media against ‘colourism’. It challenges the widely-held belief in most parts of the world that only fair skin is attractive.

Pax Jones, a 21-year-old African American student at the University of Texas in Austin created a stunning photo series featuring her South Asian classmates – sisters Mirusha and YanushaYogarajah. This was for a project she started in December 2015.

The series, called “Unfair & Lovely”, became a rage on social media and inspired the hashtag #unfairandlovely – named after the hugely popular and yet much-reviled Indian skin-lightening cream Fair and Lovely.

Unfair and Lovely
A still from the #UnfairandLovely Campaign Credits: Pax Jones

What the campaign did.

The campaign, which aimed at celebrating dark skin, asked dark-skinned people to put their photos on social media. This garnered widespread interest from the global online community and triggered discussions on Twitter and Facebook. The campaign saw nearly 1,000 people posting their photos on photo-sharing platform Instagram.

Times have changed for the better!

Closer to home, while most mainstream superstars and celebrities can be seen endorsing fairness creams, there are a few who have not just begged to differ but also expressed their disgust and non-approval to the bizarre phenomenon by sending out strong messages to the general public.

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Credits: Dark and Beautiful

“I am shocked to see the rise in the number of fairness creams, dark actresses looking paler and paler with every film and magazines, hoardings, films and advertisements showing only fair women”

Renowned actress Nandita Das brought about some much-needed awareness by backing Women of Worth (WOW), a non-governmental organisation based in Chennai, to promote the ‘Stay unfair, stay beautiful’ campaign. This widely popular campaign saw thousands of Indians signing petitions on social networking sites to stop discrimination based on skin colour by the fairness industry.

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Credits: Indiatimes

“Endorsing fairness creams is a criminal activity”

Bollywood actress KanganaRanaut has also time and again spoken against endorsing fairness products as she believes no one skin colour is beautiful.

Think about it!

We have all grown up amidst remarks like,

“Are you sure you want to wear that colour? It makes you look dark!”

“Don’t go out in the hot sun! You will get dark”

And the most infamous of them all…’Looking for a fair, tall, slim, homely girl for a well-built engineer’

It’s about time we addressed this bizarre fixation for white skin and celebrated diversity.

Yes, fair is beautiful.

If you are fair in the way you think,

In the way you judge,

In the way you love,

All be well with the world.

 

Also read:

Stand up for yourself and the world will stand with you – Life lessons from Sunny Leone

Unconventional is cool; Sapna Bhavnani shows you how it’s done

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