Dark is Beautiful by Divya

Blog post by Divya Mani

Wherever you look around, there are subtle reinforcements that only fair is lovely.

Yes I’m dusky and I’m also tired of this unreal stereotype of how dark is considered to be less than fair. In a world where most fair-skinned people are trying to get a tan whether from the sun or out of a bronzer most of the time, why should dusky people be ashamed of their complexion?

It’s all around us – in trains, buses, supermarkets, magazine covers, all you need to do, is keep your eyes open & remain clued in. White supremacy seems to rule the roost today through beauty clinics and teleshopping networks dishing out fake promises and giving rise to unrealistic expectations.  Parents seem to feel slighted if not subjugated if their daughters are not ‘Fair.’

I am appalled & at times even amazed at the trash being concocted by advertisers in the name of marketing today.

What then happens to a girl who is dark? Or shall we say dusky – a glamorous substitute for the same word.

They say black is beautiful, but to what extent? What if you are not a ‘Naomi Campbell’, ‘Bipasha Basu’, ‘Nayonika Chaterjee’, ‘Kajol’ –from her pre Olay Special effects days, ‘Rani Mukherjee’ – from her pre Yash Raj days, ‘Malaika Arora Khan’, ‘Sameera Reddy’? Would ‘dark’ then still be considered ‘dusky’?

As a child during my growing up years I always wondered why I wasn’t fair like my mom. My Father always joked he couldn’t thank God enough that I had his sense of humor & my Mother’s brains. This is something I am thankful for too no offenses whatsoever. But did I have to inherit his complexion too….This is a thought that did come to my mind a couple of times as a child, but as I grew older & I’d like to believe smarter, not even once did I think on these lines. In between music & dance classes, studies, debates, elocution’s, attending lectures & trying to shape myself into someone who my parent’s could be proud of, who had the time to waste on such frivolous thoughts??? Not me.

But yes this topic did come up. Once I graduated my management course, my parents were keen to see me get settled. Like all parents they wanted to see me married. Coming from a typical TamBrahm family they did the usual rounds of matrimonial sites & newspapers advertisements besides informing all Mamas’ & Atthais’ & Chitappas’ to keep their eyes & ears open for prospective candidates who could be a worthy consideration as a potential son-in-law.

We posted ads, we also went through quite a few posts specifying their requirement for a fair skinned bride for their sons. And if per chance anyone happened to have a fair skinned daughter of marriageable age,the skin complexion was the first quality mentioned in the ad making it a major achievement of magnanimous proportions. Despite such racist advertisements I had a couple of Mama’s having the audacity to call up Appa & tell him “My son wanted a fair bride, but though your daughter is dusky, she has sharp features. My son is interested.” Excuse me!!!

Aren’t we missing something here?

For most of us fed on a staple diet of Mills & Boons romances all through our teenage with  progesterone, testosterone & all those other hormones – whose spellings we had difficulty learning for science dictation –on a zealous romantic overdrive, the idea of an ideal male, is someone who is ‘tall,dark & handsome.’ But is the same male’s attitude towards woman so pitch dark that he is completely blind to her other deeper attributes?

I consider myself blessed to have wonderfully fair parents who never made me feel I’m any less because I’m not fair. I consider myself lucky to have a husband who always has been appreciative and encouraging all through helping me rediscover buried faculties within me nurturing & harnessing them every step of the way. I have fair, wheatish & dusky skinned friends who have never made me feel inferior but are as loving & caring towards me as I am towards them.  God Bless.

It is important that we stop this malaise & colour bias from spreading to future generations. Let fairness remain an attitude. Let us all aspire to be fair in deeds not in skin pigmentation. My success depends on my hardwork, commitment, dedication and confidence not the color of my skin.

Because a person’s worth, talent, skills are not determined by her/ his colour. Because for the advertisers, fair may be lovely but in reality, dark is beautiful too.


4 thoughts on “Dark is Beautiful by Divya

  1. A lot can be written on the Indian bias for fair skin. I assume the present generation is giving less importance to it , though the marriage ads still disclose the complexion. We do not love our parents or siblings less or more based on their complexion. So why we should seek a partner based on complexion is beyond understanding. What we should look for is a good human being who is capable of being a responsible member of the society. May be bit of daunting task as it is not possible to assess another human being completely. But that is what is of primary importance.


  2. I am surprised at this post to an extent. I am a Tambram and married a Westerner, a Scandinavian, 66 years ago
    but I had not thought of her complexion then. An old Indian acquaintance, disappointed I chose my own, asked me
    if she was a Negro and ad I assented. Then it struck me.
    But this is the curse of of our men who advertise or ask for comlesxion of the girl!



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