Introducing Dark & Lovely.

Asha is well educated. But she’s depressed, lonely and in tears because she’s being constantly rejected at job interviews. Why? Because she’s dusky and doesn’t look “confident and presentable”. All of a sudden, a friend appears, just like the fairy godmother in Cinderella’s tale, and gives her a tube of fairness cream that glitters like magic. She starts using the cream and in just a couple of weeks, she’s fairer by three shades. All of a sudden she’s the cynosure of all eyes. People at the interview are mesmerised by her beauty and don’t even want to look at her certificates. Hypnotised and ‘blinded’ by her glowing white skin, they offer her a dream job. And yes, even the guy who always ignored her because she was dark, falls in love with her in an instant.

This is one of the many fair-y tales that are aired on TV every single day to promote fairness products like creams, whitening bleaches, body brighteners and even underarm whiteners. And how do they achieve their sales targets? By making women insecure enough to think that they will not be accepted by the society if they aren’t fair. Totally unfair, right?

We live in a society that’s obsessed with fair skin, so much so that only women with white skin are considered beautiful. And even in this day and age where everything around us is constantly changing, the dark skin stigma is kept well and truly alive by cosmetic companies. That’s why we still see matrimonial ads that explicitly say that only fair brides need respond. Can it get darker than that?

So what decides whether one will be fair or dark? The melanin content in the body - more the melanin, darker the skin. And yes, it also depends on which part of the world you’re in. We Indians have brown skin and our women are beautiful, smart, educated and talented. But the only problem is that they’re constantly told that they aren’t good enough if their skin is brown or dark. Such deep-rooted misconceptions about beauty cause them to feel inferior, which in turn can lead to extreme stress, depression and even marital discords.

How can we overcome this stigma?

The stigma of dark skin is so deep-rooted that it’s impossible to kill it. And to make things worse, corporates that sell fairness products make sure that they keep injecting more and more insecurity into the minds of women. So how do we change this vicious mind-set?

Beauty isn’t skin deep:

This is something that you need to firmly believe in and pass on to your children. Never let them refer to someone as ‘dark’ or ‘brown’. Make them understand the one simple fact that no one - not a single person - can be judged based on the colour of their skin.

Be comfortable in your own skin:

Your complexion, whatever shade it may be, is beautiful. And you’re the only person who should matter to you. If others have a problem, it just shows how dark their mind-set is. Believe in yourself and not what others try to make you believe.

Success lies in talent and hard work, not fair skin:

You’re smart, intelligent and talented. And unlike what you see on TV, success does not depend on the colour of your skin. Put simply, it’s hard work that helps you achieve your dreams, not fairness creams.

No body is perfect:

If you think celebrities and models in ads are as fair and flawless in real life, you’re totally mistaken. They are normal people with normal skin, made to look ‘super perfect’ with the help of make-up experts, smart lighting, good camera work and expensive touch-up software. So never, ever compare what’s real to what’s made to look real. You’re beautiful and unique in your own way. Never let anyone take that away from you.

Relationships don’t depend on fair skin:

In a relationship, it’s mutual respect, love, companionship and compatibility that matters - nothing else - definitely not the colour of your skin.

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