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

I recently stumbled upon this page and blog.

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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.