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Living In Indian Society With A Dark Complexion: A Social Stigma

A society that is obsessed with skin color, that to the lightest of shade, being dark-skinned comes with a lot of hassle and inconvenience in daily life. The hassle starts at a very young age, the moment a child is born the people out there start comparing their skin color with their parents and siblings. Most often this bias starts in their own family. They sigh with disappointment when the color of their offspring's skin is darker or not as desired. The child is made to feel unwanted because of other people's bias towards lighter shades of skin tone. They are subjected to constant taunts throughout, which ranges from ‘stop playing in the sun’ to ‘start applying these creams’ and sometimes the really stupid ones like ‘don't drink tea, it will darken your skin’. 

This prejudice is so deeply rooted in our society that even school-going young minds are somehow convinced to look down upon their peers who are dark-skinned. Dark-skinned ones are continuously subjected to humiliation, they are called names and racist slur. Leave them, even the teachers in school preferred fair-skinned students to have the limelight in their dance functions and the dark-skinned ones are made to stand behind everyone else, even though they might have performed better than the rest. These instances make one vulnerable and question their individuality. They start self-hating and self-condoning themselves. They start believing that they are, in some way, inferior or uglier from the rest. 

This is not their own belief but something society has forced them to believe. Those teenage years are spent by being uncomfortable in one’s own skin and mothers putting all the ingredients from the kitchen on the child’s face, relatives advising to apply numerous creams. Everybody looks at you like you are some lost cause. You start taking rounds of appointments to the dermatologist, your friends start saying things like ‘you are dark but your features are beautiful’.  Even compliments sound pitiful!

It takes a lot of years to realize that you don't need to be sorry for having some extra melanin in your skin. One needs to embrace their skin color, but how should one? People around them always made it look like some shortcoming with their snide remarks. One of the biggest issues of being dark-skinned is not the skin color but being told that your appearance is not beautiful.

One of the main ways to change this perception is to slowly change the narrative in your own head and tell yourself that your skin is anything but ugly. It is when you will learn to love yourself. Don't let anyone tell you ‘you are pretty for a dark-skinned person'. Dark skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious masterpiece God created himself. Beauty is in every shade and size. We all have got something special in us. Melanin is exquisitely beautiful. Love and embrace the skin that you are in. Light, brown and dark skins are all equally gorgeous.


Deepa Bairi

Delhi North '23

Student at University of Delhi, New Delhi. She is an introvert who overthink every situation. She writes her heart out, during her free hours loves to paint and hum to Bollywood songs.
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