“I am quite dark, do you have something for me?”
Fashion clothier Ayush Kejriwal mentioned he regularly will get this query from girls taking a look to buy one in all his sarees or frocks on-line.
For Kejriwal, a 35-year-old British Indian clothier primarily based in Scotland, those inquiries from purchasers are reminders of the way deeply ingrained the need for lighter pores and skin is in South Asian cultures. The stereotype that “fair” South Asian girls are extra stunning and fascinating is so prevalent that some “darker skinned” girls really feel that they may be able to’t put on positive colours.
“It saddens me when people feel they can’t wear what they want just because they are of a darker skin tone,” Kejriwal instructed HuffPost. “How we look should not … dictate how we live our lives!”
To struggle the stereotype that most effective “fair and lovely” girls are stunning, Kejriwal instructed HuffPost he’s made it some degree to function South Asian fashions of a spread of pores and skin colours dressed in his types ― and to decorate the entire girls in vivid, daring colours.
“The most gorgeous coloured flowers of all sorts grow on dark brown soil and they look stunning. Nature doesn’t feel shy from experimenting with colours then why should we?” he wrote in an Instagram put up. “Society, people’s opinion or Bollywood celebrities should not dictate what we wear.”
South Asians’ obsession with lighter pores and skin is centuries outdated. Some declare this is a remnant of British colonial prejudices, whilst others say it additionally dates a lot additional again. The fantasy that honest pores and skin is lovely manifests itself lately with the sale of skin-lightening creams, lotions, or even a frame wash that presupposed to lighten girls’s labias. Bollywood’s most sensible celebrities take part in perpetuating this stereotype via endorsing pores and skin lightening lotions in tv advertisements and billboards.
The stereotype additionally presentations up in unsightly tactics in other folks’s on a regular basis lives ― thru backhanded feedback at neighborhood gatherings, or a grandmother’s blunt research of a darker-skinned girl’s marriage potentialities.
Subarna Manikkaratnam is a 22-year-old British scholar and type who’s incessantly featured in Kejriwal’s shoots. She mentioned that even if she’s by no means been bullied at once, she’s had other folks make backhanded, derogatory feedback about her pores and skin tone previously. They’d say such things as, “You’re pretty even though you’re dark,” or “You can’t wear that because it’ll make you look darker.”
“As a Sri Lankan, it’s pretty normal to have dark skin, but a lot of young people even in today’s day and age still believe that certain skin tones are superior to others, which is truly saddening,” Manikkaratnam instructed HuffPost. “As I was growing up, at one point I did wish I had fairer skin, but luckily for me this was only a small phase – I know for many girls and women this isn’t the case.”
“I can now say I love my skin and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I have to be honest, I’m sometimes wary about whether other people (especially designers) will have a problem working with me, since the media is more than often flooded with what a typical Asian girl should look like, even though it goes to say that this stereotype is far from accurate.”
Times are converting, albeit slowly. Fashion magazines had been addressing the problem on their entrance pages. Since 2009, the Dark is Beautiful consciousness marketing campaign has been operating to teach other folks about the problem of pores and skin colour bias thru media literacy workshops and social media tasks.
Manikkaratnam mentioned she’s happy that her pictures had been conveyed in a favorable means thru Kejriwal’s paintings. She mentioned she’s additionally been contacted via girls who’ve observed the photographs and are on the lookout for recommendation about how to conquer their very own insecurities about their pores and skin colour.
“The message I hope people will take away from the photos is that it’s okay to be any shade of brown. Whether you’re fair, dark, or somewhere in between – you are beautiful. Often we become our own worst enemy when we start hating ourselves for something we just cannot change,” she instructed HuffPost. “But it’s important to remember that most people will not judge you by the colour of your skin, or your size, or any of your physical attributes. They will look at whether you are a kind, compassionate person, and that’s what truly matters.”
“I really hope that I have given at least some people the confidence to be happy in their own skin, and hope I have empowered those who may be suffering from bullying as a result of their skin colour.”