Challenges of being dusky in India

In India, where being fair is glorified and considered synonymous with being beautiful, if you are dark-skinned then definitely it has not been a cakewalk for you. We had asked our readers to share their experiences and challenges that they faced due to society’s obsession with lighter skin.

Read on these stories by three women who are dusky and lovely .

APARNA

We spoke to Aparna Ajith, a South Indian from Kerala who has lived in Gujarat for the past 20 years of her life, and she revealed how she was always judged for her complexion and it ended up making her feel miserable.

“Kids used to compare me to the colour of a road, call me a crow or would mock at me saying “Kaali” implying black girl. I was upset with my looks. I used to be depressed most of the time and cursed myself for having a dark complexion. I felt like asking my mom at times if I was adopted. Probably because my whole family is fairer than me”.

“When I used to go to Kerala for my vacations, somebody or the other would pop up the question, “Chitra (my mom) is she your daughter? How come you are fair and she’s so dark? Something has to be done, else when she grows up she won’t get a good guy and blah blah blah!”


And I used to think, shut the heck up . I used to keep mum and listen to all of this. At some point, my mom felt that something needs to be done.

She got some home remedies from her relatives and asked me to apply it on my face. I tried every shit, trust me. I applied Chickpea flour, some Ayurvedic oil, different scrubs and what not. And what happened, my skin got even worse as I have extremely sensitive skin. I started getting acne all over my face. By this time I think I was in my 11th grade. Going to school with all those acne used to be terrible. This went on till 12th.

Then came graduation. The phase of life where you expect people to be mature and not judge you solely based on your complexion. Alas, hope was lost there too. Life was miserable again.”

She reveals how It took her a lot of time to love herself and accept the way she looks.

ANUKRITI

Anukriti Shrivastava recollects her challenges of being dark skinned and tells us, “I was three or four years old when my grandmother came to visit us. She Looked at me in a horrible way and said – “Dolly (my mom)is she really your daughter? Why is this girl so black.”

I was a child but I broke into tears.”

Recollecting her childhood ordeals, Anukriti reveals how she used to be bullied at school due to her complexion.

” I used to sit alone. No one wanted to be my friend. Other children barely talked to me. When I was in 2nd standard, our whole school was busy with the preparations for our annual function. I also wanted to take part in it. But my class teacher refused to take me in the dance act, as she wanted only good looking and cute kids.

All these incidents turned me into an introvert and made me under confident. I became a girl who was forced to think that she was ugly and would never get her prince charming.”

She says it was her brother Priyansh who always made her feel beautiful and instilled confidence within her.

She concludes by saying “Those who matter in my life don’t care about my skin colour. And those who care about my skin colour don’t matter in my life”

Anukriti

AMIRTHA

Amirtha Govindraj recalls her experience and says “I am from Tamil Nadu, where the majority are dark-skinned but still get ridiculed for being dark.”

I was tired of phrases like “If you had been a bit lighter, you would look amazing “.

“Then comes the school phase, where guys used to tease other guys with me to insult each other. That’s how the schooling went. Girls behaved more or less the same way. I was good at studies, extracurricular activities and even received the best student award. Yet I was teased for my skin complexion. Many guys used to avoid talking to me as they felt it would lower their standards.

Due to the way I was treated during my childhood, consciously or unconsciously I developed an inferiority complex.

Eventually, I got rid of the thought considering my dark skin as a curse and started to rejoice my complexion. Even now many don’t consider me beautiful just because of my complexion.”

She concludes by saying that,” Dark skin is not something to be ashamed of.

Amirtha Govindraj

Do you feel dark-skinned people are unattractive?

Isn’t it sad that these girls underestimated themselves because society made them feel ugly? They are beautiful in their way and its high time we stop equating fairness with beauty. Beauty comes from within. Being compassionate, respectful, forgiving and kind is what makes a person beautiful. Who cares whether you are white, black or for that matter a shocking pink!

Why is there so much of obsession with having fair skin? DROP IN YOUR COMMENTS

Published by

Sneha

Sneha is an award-winning blogger and has also been featured in Deccan Chronicle newspaper. She left her job at IBM India to venture into blogging in 2018. This blog is India's Feminist and Personal Development blog for women and focuses on self-improvement and self-acceptance.

15 thoughts on “Challenges of being dusky in India”

  1. It’s so strange. In my neighbourhood there are a lot of Chinese immigrants, and when it’s sunny outside many women have umbrellas or visors so their face doesn’t get tanned.
    Meanwhile, white people will go to tanning salons wanting to get darker.

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  2. The color caste system is prevalent in the black community as well. It’s sad that beauty is judged this way, these woman in your article are beautiful outside and inside.

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  3. Take any matrimonial column. You will find the bias in a big way. This is India. We have an obsession with white. May be we were ruled by whites? Or was it before that also?

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    1. The British rule certainly contributed to the obsession with the lighter complexion but I think it has got more to do with it being considered a prized possession since it is less seen compared to wheatish and dark complexion in our country.

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  4. I have no idea why there’s such an obsession with fair skin. You get burnt more easily, you get wrinkles more deeply and younger. It gets really dry and it shows. But it’s been ingrained into our cultures for such a long time. Every single one of those girls are absolutely beautiful.

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  5. It’s actually sad. I can relate to all of these stories. Growing up I’ve been called “ugly, dark, crow-like” and other regional, local terms that sound worse than their English counterparts (in the department of insult). The worst bit is – all of this began with my mom and my extended family; they would always stare at me like I was an alien who’d dropped from outer space. In fact, I’ve frequently been told I will find it hard to marry because boys don’t like dark girls. It’s a different thing my mother, in addition to being a racist and a sexist, is also a narcissist and her loathsome anger and derision has always been directed at me (never my younger sister or any other child in the family, despite the fact that there are some other dusky people in the family). This deserves a separate post altogether which I’ll likely write about some day.
    But the fact remains – such remarks can actually puncture a woman’s confidence and tower over every accomplishment in her life. Her whole being. I was lucky because I was strong-willed to not listen to or believe those negative voices. But many others are not.
    Being dark or fair is NOT a virtue. It is not something you earned, and it doesn’t determine the quality of your life or the depth of your character. People should just stop with such appalling behavior already!
    Thanks for writing about this Sneha. More people need to wake up!

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    1. Sending hugs to you Shravani. It sounds so sad. You are a very strong lady.
      I have a wheatish skin , I remember when I was a kid, I used to pray to god to make me fair .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. Yes, I’ve risen above that childhood trauma. Not forgotten though. Maybe that’s why when you’re in your own lil bubble – you hear only you heart’s voice. Rest everything is a chaotic din..

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