A dark complexion in Pakistan, is often seen as a fatal flaw in a person. Women with darker complexions face a constant struggle to retain their self confidence. It is alarming how acceptable dark-skinned jokes are, how normal it is to mock a certain skin color and devalue a person’s identity. Judgment is based on the color of one’s skin, rather than the content of their character.
Women with a darker skin tone are often rejected by mothers hunting for a ‘pari’ (Fairy) for their son. The theory behind this is a fair ‘bahu’ will produce fairer grandchildren, this will help achieve a ‘Gora Pakistan’ (Fair Skinned Pakistan). The chalk white grandchildren can also be showed off, to other mother in laws for a comparison like a prized bull. Ladies rush to parlors in hopes of looking their fairest, not their best; physical features don’t amount to anything if you are dark skinned. Our society has no room for the dusky ones.
It is common to see billboards and TV adverts, openly advertising creams as treatments for a dark skin tone. Multiple products being advertised like soaps, face washes and other cleaning products, focus more on washing off the dark skin color off than actually cleaning it. The creators or the sales teams aren’t the main culprits, the main culprit happens to be our own mindset.
Even though it is a hard pill to swallow for many, Pakistan is a country where it is genetically common to possess dark skin. There is no shame in being dark skinned, neither does a dark complexion mean someone isn’t hygienic. This disgusting notion has run amok in our society long enough, the popular use of skin-lightening products has only encouraged this unhealthy, archaic ideal.
We need to drop our colonial mindset and start accepting the fact, that skin color is not the key to a better life. We need to stop promoting these false ideals for beauty. So the next time someone makes a racist remark, let them what you think of their regressive mentality and always be proud of who you are.
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17 November, 2019