Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?

Published: April 23, 2017

Dark-skinned girls in Bollywood like Bipasha Basu and Lisa Haydon are labelled as ‘dusky beauties’ and referred to as ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’.

Every day you’ll see tonnes of confessions by India’s dark girls (savli, tan, dusky or whatever you would like to call us in the milder version!) on different opinion blogs where they simply blurt out their deepest frustrations.

Some have been rejected by their crush/lover, some were shamed by their potential in-laws, and some were even rejected during interviews only because of their colour.

And India is not a racist country? Oh please!

Dusky beauty’ is something that my ears have been bombarded with ever since I was a teenager. Yeah, not just beauty but dusky beauty! And this is the reason why most of the people I’ve met, including my former manager, thought I’m a Bengali.

Yes, because if you are dark and beautiful, you are Bengali, if not (according to their standardisation) then you are south Indian. Prejudices!

I’m none though!

‘Dusky’ is a euphemism for dark and is often used by Indians to refer to dark-skinned girls whom they find quite attractive. Going by this new norm, dusky is exotic, dark isn’t! This is the reason why dark-skinned girls in Bollywood like Bipasha Basu and Lisa Haydon are labelled as ‘dusky beauties’ and referred to as ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’. However, using another word to illustrate the skin colour of a girl one finds attractive shows that ‘dark’ is used as a derogatory remark.

The stigma of being dark is plaguing the Indian mind-set even as you read this piece. Many of us would endorse the idea that ‘dark is beautiful’ here in the comment section but would reject a girl merely because of her colour in reality. There are guys who leave their girlfriends whom they love dearly, merely because they are dark and their parents won’t accept them as their life partners. What would they showcase to their relatives, the dark-skinned bahu (daughter-in-law)?

Oh no! What will happen to their prestige? After all, Indian bahus right after the wedding are no less than a showpiece where everybody comes and gives their ratings on their skin tone, eyes, nose, weight etc.

The acceptance of a girl in India as a potential bahu is directly proportional to her colour. Her education, business skills, communication, career and even her personal nature go for a toss. So what if you are an ideal bahu who can keep the family intact and become the most awaited member of the family, but are dark by the virtue of your colour? You are destined to bring shame to the family, unfortunately!

And if you are the one calling those guys (the one that I mentioned above) cowards and giving them names, my friend, be the change you want to see. The guys are not as happy as it is because they know they are at a loss, and not the girls. Moreover, the recent trending convocation speech by Shikha Sharma at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) clearly explains their loss.

People have a strange belief that all the jokes surrounding dark skin offend us, well, mainly because many of us deep down believe that our dark skin is our shortcoming. Well, honestly, people who get offended by jokes about dark skin are not the ones who think that being dark is a shortcoming. Girls like me find such so-called humour offensive and highly oppressive, not because our dark skin is a shortcoming but because our society portrays dark skin as a shortcoming.

Besides, the offensive humour gives liberty to mock a particular skin colour by devaluing their identity. Jokes about dark skin clearly show that it is absolutely fine to make fun of somebody’s body.

I know few dark-skinned people, especially guys who are fine with it, if somebody makes fun of their skin-tone. Unfortunately, their act of being a ‘sport’ demands other people to be like them, to be as mature as them, and to have a sense of humour like them. However, not all can believe that it is humour and our thinking that is offensive and not the society’s way of dehumanising us.

This post originally appeared here.

Deepti Verma

Deepti Verma

The author is co-founder of NationalViews.com - an online portal for articulating opinions, views that needs national as well as global attention. She tweets @universal_rover

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Dark-skinned women will always be considered slightly inferior to their fairer counterparts.

    This happens even if the dark-skinned female is highly educated, and well accomplished in her profession; men and women both are automatically conditioned to get attracted to a fair-toned woman.

    Dark-skinned women, should try to make babies with lighter-toned men, so that their future generations don’t have to feel the heat of skin-color-based racism.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Blame the advertising industry for projecting this image, but having said that.
    Why are you asking this of the flawed humble human ……let me pose a counter question. Why do unlike poles attract and like poles repel ? Answer : ……because they just do.Recommend

  • akhil g

    “Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?”

    Because whites (You can call them European descendant) got more money.Recommend

  • Jiya

    India’s most popular actresses are likes of Deepika and Priyanka
    And the so called “fair” actresses like Katrina and Sonam are rejected and on the bottom pit!
    Even in television, usually a husky girl plays the lead while the “whiter” girl plays a vamp!
    I myself have been told that I look older compared to my ‘saavli’ friends coz age reflects more on fairer skin!
    If anything, India is becoming racist to fairer girls.
    Recommend

  • nishantsirohi123

    Reading the comments online, it seems anyone with dark skin is Indian and anyone fair complexion is Pakistani Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    Actually Pakistanis say the same thing about indians. You see Pakistan has sizeable Indian origin population residing in Pakistan called Muhajirs who mostly are dark skinned and they are mainly from North indian states UP and Bihar. The North indians think themselves as gore/fair due to proximity to pakistan (they are not goray or fair). it is a better truth that north indians rather associate with Pakistanis than with their own country people in south india. Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Feel sorry for pak’s education systemRecommend

  • sac_nair

    Hi
    What does the sentence ‘Pakistan has sizeable Indian origin people’ exactly mean. Does your sentence mean that Pakistani cities and towns have Arab descendants or European descendants?
    For thousands of years that land called Pakistan lay as one with this part and some 70 years ago a line was drawn. That does not mean that the other side of the line became different genetically overnight.
    Your other sentence ‘North Indians think themselves as fair due to proximity to Pakistan’- does the wind of fairness blow across the border? That is hilarious. I cannot stop being amused.
    So being fair has upped the GDP in someway or turned people into scientists and artists and highly productive people or something?
    Just curious to know.
    Also if a wind of fairness blows across the border from Pakistan into India I am sure we will have train loads of people visiting borders.
    Thank you for making my day. :)Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    Don’t blame pak education system it’s my own research. Recommend

  • Frank

    The vast subcontinent was never considered one country or one nation historically. It’s only Indian propaganda that pushes this lie. There’s one line separating Indians and Pakistanis today but historically there were DOZENS of such lines separating the many nations and countries of South Asia.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    You r a Pak girl from kpk.then read my assessment about you guys.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    Where is your proof?Recommend

  • hp kumar

    You need to read report of American agencies.google it pl.pakis can’t look otheway Recommend

  • hp kumar

    blog desk you can pass her comment and moderating mine.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    that is because no indian EVER allowed to get Pakistani visa (except sikh pilgrams) so many indians cry over this issue that why Pak never gives visa to indian nationals only few from india can make it into Pakistan.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    we don’t seek approval from indians you wish we do but truth is most indian men drool over pakistanis girls.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    They, the Indians, can keep drooling their dirty little thingy on their own kind. Zero affect on Pak girls.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    You have not interacted with any indian in your lifetime.thats why you r making this statementRecommend

  • hp kumar

    have never interacted with woman like you in my lifetime.indians specially hindus wouldn’t like to marry beyond their caste let alone religion.that shows how naive you r.and I think moderator must control you coz you r bringing bad name to your country by talking in this way.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Lady indian girl r very posh and can be very arrogant at times.they r very bold even.you dont see them much thinking about India Pakistan hindu muslim issue etc.their opinion can be very different from us indian men.they have their own glory of achievements which you Pakistani girls r far from achieving it.they r part of our great IT workforce,running banking sector,part of our space program,running bollywood and what not.they r winners of Olympic medals,badminton ,tennis and wrestling.you guys r nothing before them buddy.first you Pakistani girls need to showcase your skill to admire world community.making babies and doing chores jobs r not the only thing women can do today.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Having said that Muslim girls r disaster in comparison.they r not representative of indian girls.when I said it I talked about hindu girl onlyRecommend

  • Frank

    Her attitude represents pretty much the mainstream Pakistani view of Indians. Reality is very different to the fairy stories propagated by the Indian state and media, isn’t it? And most Pakistani families wouldn’t accept a marriage with an Indian Muslim never mind a Hindu.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    its already a pity conversation going on this boardRecommend

  • hp kumar

    Thats how your reply should be coz you r not the one who is to be taken seriously.the day it happens world is going to be in serious messRecommend

  • hp kumar

    You eat that big roti and I rest my case.very expected that you will speak in this manner since your community is known for doing thisRecommend

  • hp kumar

    How do you cook it by the way?in india you won’t find that big chakla.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    What is Chakla? Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Also India has Punjab as its state.so you see how ridiculous you sound.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    That’s because Pashto is not an indian language & so is kashmiri which is also derived from dardic languages spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Punjab region has been under Persian Empire for a long time they even named it Punjab after five rivers. Okay, on one hand your calling me I don’t belong to sub continent and on other hand your saying I am alienating myself? Why don’t you make up your mind first? The name INDIA doesn’t even belong to you people it belongs to my land where it was originated, so technically you people don’t belong to the Indian sub-continent. The name INDIA and your Constitution came after 1947 it means nothing before that. You people are just fake wannabe be indians just like afghans they are wannabe Persians. Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    The Punjabis in india rather associate with punjabis in Pakistan than with rest of india. Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    India has many states, langauges, cultures, food but when it comes to indian people most look alike. A person from UP, Bihar, Rajistan or Madhya Pradesh looks same as person from Tamil Nadu or Kerala, so there is diversity only in culture not in looks…the people in North india feel they are superior than people in south india because north india indirectly relate themselves more with Pakistanis. Trust me I don’t need to make my presence felt cuz indian people are already insecure and divided by caste and color of skin. Pakistanis think Indian people in general are not beautiful but indians think pakistanis in general are beautiful. Recommend

  • hp kumar

    I like your conclusions:)Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Leave India to indians…you should worry about pakistan.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Hahaha…burqua and skull caps r certainly not Indian culture neither those big rotisRecommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    Btw roti was also originated from Mohenjo daro. Recommend