The Shade-ism Blog

To many who say fair is lovely or fair is enchanting, I always reply being dark is divine. Dark is a word that irritates us the way moment hear it and this case becomes strong in South Asian societies where colorism or shadeism is in an all- time high.

Colorism is another form of discrimination in which fair skinned people are favoured while the dark coloured people are ignored only the basis of skin colour. Colorism is one social issue that acts as a parasite on our society even in the 21st century.

Our entire lifestyle is somehow altered with our skin tone and the worst impact is left on us when the most inspiring people like Shahrukh Khan advertise endlessly on the need of buying a fairness creams, to even analyse the impact on a childlike psychology of these fairness advertisement is unimaginable. From the fair girl playing the rich aristocratic roles to a dark skinned one always being the one subjected to poverty, to marriage advertisement always starting from “Fair brides wanted”, the impact on a highly impressionable child psychology is unfathomable. In schools children with wheatish skin tones are preferred over dark colored ones. Book The Skin I’m In depicts the everyday struggles of a girl and the root cause of these struggles emanate from her dark skin tone. This book’s protagonist Miss Saunders is daunted by a rare condition and is a testimony that how nothing else matters, only what matters is a positive outlook. Another book that gives us a very clear insight on abuses inflicted on people having dark skin tone is The Darkest Child. It is the story of Tangy Mae, who is the darkest amongst all her siblings and how lowly her own Mother treats her due to her skin tone. The thoughtful and the complex nature of this novel, forces you to think about what certainly is wrong in our psychology.

A colour consciousness is dwelled deep in our minds that we are not at all able to see the beauty in dark.

However much difficult might be to make everyone understand that beauty is not determined by skin colour. Our ancient scriptures beautifully understood this and this can be proved. Lakshmi and her incarnations were dark in colour, and so were Kalidasa’s women protagonists. Draupadi, who was considered to be an epitome of beauty, was also a dark skinned. Yet it is shame on us that we obviously cannot borrow such beautiful ideas from our past and let them glorify on us.

There is an increased pressure on Indian girls to turn pale to fit the parameters of a marriageable girl and so much so this has benefitted the Indian fairness industry that the number has risen from USD 397 to USD 638 in mere 4 years. Skin lighting products in India accounts for a huge 84% of market share in Indian moisturizers. This kind of data puts me into a state of shame for me being a member of this society.

Not much has been done against it but we see movements like ‘Dark is beautiful’ by Nandita Das who has preferred to act in unconventional cinema and has tried to send a message across through her work. She has blatantly insulted the makers of fairness creams and Indian government for not banning them. Das has also said that people have questioned her inner strength and confidence just because of her colour. 


What surprises me is that how we very ignorantly create a bias against inferior and superior, beautiful, and ugly. It is time we move out of the dilemma that fair skin is a pre -requisite to gain success and affection from others.


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