The “Dark is Beautiful Campaign”. Why I think the name is unfit.

I recently stumbled upon this page and blog.


Dark is Beautiful is an awareness campaign that seeks to draw attention to the unjust effects of skin colour bias as well as to celebrate the beauty and diversity of all skin tones.

Nandita Das, an Indian actress is also involved with this campaign and is doing her part in full stride. I really appreciate her efforts because there are only a few Indian actresses who actually care about what they are portraying on-screen and what kind of message and impact it has on the audience.

My post is not against the campaign as this one which criticises it. My only objection is to the name of the campaign and the not the campaign itself. Though I fully comprehend the idea behind the campaign “Dark is beautiful. Beauty beyond colour”, the name still cringes me. There are a few points that I think are quite not right about the name and which give a false impression of the campaign.

1. Dark. So now instead of saying that white/fair is beautiful, we are saying that dark is beautiful. Are we forgetting that we are a diverse country and across the length and breath of this country not all women are actually dark or brown. The moment we say dark is beautiful we are already segregating some women, though a small number but still. Then we aren’t doing anything better than those fairness products’ advertisements because we are excluding a lot of women and now giving an opposite image of beauty by saying that if one has to be beautiful one needs to be dark. Next we know there would be darkness products and people running for saunas and sun tans.

2. Also, it is catering to the western image of brown/bronze skin which is considered beautiful. I find it very silly that we Indians are crazy about white skin and they about brown skin. Why is the grass always greener on the other side? Living in Germany since the past couple of months, I get to hear this at least twice a week that I have such beautiful skin and that they would like to have my tan. Everyday I see people spending hours in the sauna or just sun-bathing to get a tan. It is a very weird feeling to stand in the centre and see how both the halves of this world want to look like each other.

3. My third point is the one which I find most disturbing. And that is the word beautiful or beauty. Why are we still stuck with this word when referring to women? Do women have to be always beautiful? Can’t they be not beautiful just be like they are, or even ugly? Why is it so hard to accept? Why does the whole notion of beauty revolves around women which in turn leads to objectification of women and/or oversexualization of female body parts. Why do we even have to define beauty? The notion of beauty has already brainwashed enough women all over the world. Are we cutting short the value of women on the basis of how beautiful they are? This adjective has been used with regard to women ever since the turn of time and it is high time now that we look beyond these materials which in the long run won’t bring us any good.

So a name which conveys the idea of being comfortable in one’s own skin, regardless if one is white, fair, wheatish, yellow, brown, black, etc, would seem more appropriate. Colour should not play a role and thus not be mentioned.


23 thoughts on “The “Dark is Beautiful Campaign”. Why I think the name is unfit.

  1. I was so shocked at TV advertisements about skin lightening cream when we arrived in INdia. But then I remembered how light skinned women in the :US will spend hours and $ to darken their skin in tanning booths, even risking skin cancer. All this i think is how many people are just unhappy with their appearance and want something else. Curly hair if you have straight hair or vice versa! The Human Condition!

  2. I am dark and there is nothing to feel proud or feel bad. It is not something that I achieved. It is what I am. I always had urge to sue these advertising people right when it started. I was seeking for marriage alliance and these advertisements made my life miserable with all provoking and forcing me to use. YOU CAN NEVER CHANGE YOUR SKIN COLOR. IT IS A FACT. All you can do is glow your skin, remove tan to some extent but your natural color can never change.

    I hate to go to beauticians because of their unwanted advise. I tell them straight that I don’t want to be white color looking. I am just here for something else. We should stop these advertisements. This is purely discrimination.

    1. I understand, it can be very irritating. I am brown and the only brown child in my family, all others are fair. So even I had my share of taunts. But I didn’t listen, I answer back, get into arguments, earn myself a bad name for being badtameez. But the best part is that I love doing this. I have a no nonsense stand and I live by it.

  3. Everybody is beautiful, we just need the right eyes to admire it. 🙂 Beauty is beyond color, race, gender, ethnicity or any other social identities for that matter!

  4. Personally i have no issues with the name of the campaign. I believe it to be a direct response to the obsession In India about fair skin and how that equates to true beauty in Indian society.

    I believe the idea is to let women who have darker skin know that there is nothing wrong with with their skin color. I mean lets be honest people with fairer skin are rarely stigmatized and even with the Dark is beautiful campaign they are not going to wake up one fine morning and say “oh my god, I’m fair and ugly!!”. We most definitely are not bombarded with products or advertising that focus on making your skin darker now, do we? The focus of the campaign is not people who do not believe they have fair skin or those that pesters others to have fair skin.

    And this is how I see the Dark is beautiful campaign, it seeks to tell women and men that regardless of your color or how dark you are that ‘as a person’ you are beautiful. The color of your skin does not and should not define you.

    1. Hi Jeremiah,
      I fully comprehend and also somewhat agree with you. My biggest problem was the word beautiful and the notions of beauty because I don’t want this word to be associated with women at all. But for the masses, maybe this may work. Well, if it does then there’s nothing better than it. One more thing, I fully support the idea behind the campaign, just didn’t like how it is portrayed.

  5. Spot on. I couldn’t agree with you more. Even I used to think why the adjective beautiful is always linked with women.

      1. wats wrong in using beautiful?? “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” , wats is ugly to ur eyes might be beautiful to someone else… and i believe everyone is beautiful like how for a mother, her child is the most beautiful baby…women arent being objectified with that word…men and women can be beautiful…and the campaign says dark is beautiful, not dark women are beautiful…and we do need such campaigns in india to get notions corrected in this country….which is jus letting people know u r beautiful inspite of your skin tone…

  6. The statement “Dark is beautiful” does not mean Fair is not, it does not say anything about the other, and by making an alternate statement saying that Dark is also beautiful, I think the point is defeated there, plain and simple. The fact that colour is being mentioned here is because of the high bias against dark skin. So once we reach a stage where people can see beyond that may be segregation is not necessary.

    1. About beauty, that is a personal thing, it does not state beauty as a physical attribute, which it may or may not be. You could say that beauty need not be about physical appearance, instead perhaps.

  7. I guess they tried to say dark is beautiful too! Or rather try to mean that. I understand your point, but to appeal to the general mass I think this statement (with the word beautiful) makes a big impact. I hope it will. Yes it is funny how in the West the craze is for tanned skin and people are getting skin cancer by constant sunbathing and visits to tanning salons! The skin color issue just amazed me when I went to buy a face powder. As my skin tone is almost at the center of their spectrum, in India I the girls suggest I get a “cool” shade to make me look fair and here in the US I get the “warm” shades to make me look darker or the term they use is like bronze! 😀 Humans would never be happy!

  8. True that! I too get to hear it all the time from my foreign friends: “oh wow, you have such a nice skin colour” and from Indians, some are like “brown is sexy” and others who prefer fair, don’t say it out loud but their comments give you that hint.

  9. Regarding your second point, I got to know the reason, through a show on Discovery channel, of why there is belief among Europeans of considering dark tanned skin as beautiful. We know that when we go out for vacations and return, people say that our skin has become dark, due to sun. Similarilarly, in the medieval ages in Europe, when people would travel and come back, they would be tanned. At that time, only the high class, the aristrocratic people would be able to afford to go for tours. Hence, dark skin indicated that they have gone for vacationing, and it means that such people are rich. So, gradually dark skin become associated with being of high class. People forgot the original reason, and it became a desired quality of beauty to have dark skin.
    Your article is very good and it shows high level thinking. I especially like the third point. and it is even good that being a woman, you have questioned the notion of beauty. Being a woman, because it is unexpected for women to have such a view, though of course not impossible. It is because women in our society from their chilodhood itself are made to believe in the concept of beauty, and are brainwashed to be conscious and concerned about how they look. It is really a sad thing. It is not so much for boys as much for girls. But it is good that there are women like you in the world, and I hope we can change the discriminating norms, stereotypes and customs.
    People are obsessed with the idea of beauty and judge everything by their looks, rather than their usefulness (for non-living things) and character (for humans). Many people have low self-esteem and hence they think in such a way. I am writing an article about this as in philosophy, and would like to refer to and quote some things from your article. If you have anything more to say about the unimportance of beauty, do tell me.

    1. Hi Yash, first of all thank you for stopping by and giving feedback, highly appreciated! Secondly, I find your input very insightful. I myself was not aware of this reason, the one of tanned skin, so it’s great that you have watched a documentary on it and shared with me your knowledge. Thirdly, true as a woman, conditioned since childhood that looking beautiful is the most important thing, it is very difficult to rise above that. It takes a lot of efforts but it is not impossible. I hope more men and women start believing that looks don’t matter.

  10. Dark is beautiful. Hmmm
    Actually my best friend is darker than me and she has that inferiority complex. She expressed her jealousy through her usual satire words several times.
    We keep telling her stuff like dark is beautiful indirectly.
    What do you suggest I should tell her because this one is a bit difficult to convince

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