Pressured to be beautiful? Here’s what you need to know about skin positivity!



flawless skin!

Definition of beauty has evolved to focus on appearance and perfect skin

Skincare has evolved this decade and transformed the definition of beauty.

Skin positivity movement since it started has given the message of loving your skin. To be comfortable in your own skin, living with it and expressing it in your own way. Beauty products have evolved this decade giving a positive outlook to how women look. The pivotal change has helped gain confidence in women and see them from a new angle.

What does skin positivity highlight?

Skin positivity in a crux is all about skin love. It’s the way you see your skin. The social movement started on Social Media on why the way we look at our skin needs a positive outlook. The idea is to stop feeling insecure about the way we look and not be ashamed of it.

A few years ago, a video about a baby went viral on Instagram where she says “Mommy, I’m ugly” and cries out. The notion of perfect skin lies deep-rooted from the millennials, Gen Z & the old aged.

Source: Pexels

We all love skincare, which is part of our daily routine, day and night. But the makeup musings on how to look perfect is portrayed wrong, changing your identity doesn’t make you perfect. It makes us question, who we really are?!

Why do women prefer beauty products?

Looking good or glamorizing oneself is to not to change their look or gain attention or spike the male gaze. The idea about looking good & using beauty products is matched with dressing up for the feel-good factor. A cherry on a cake.

You’re beautiful, the makeup is just a stylist. You are the real art!

Next time you see women advocating for themselves, don’t ask why women wear makeup if they want to be comfortable in their own skin?!

We are comfy. We are just styling it a notch up!

Normalising the dusky skin look

The Brown skin – described for Indians as the brown-skinned person. Often the term sparks racism when hatred loops in. But, the brown skin has now become a fashion statement, the dusky skin look- the natural colour. Given the positivity, the beauty industry embraced with brown skin, the idea of self-love grew.

5 million women in India have been categorised under various shades, but globally we are termed as “brown-skinned girls”. Brown colour, which is based purely on the colour and often told in a fantasised way. It became a fashion statement worldwide.

How ironic, when the world sees brown-skin beautiful, but we consider it ugly?!

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with being fair, but it has become such an obsession in our country that it is all we look for in beauty. There are so many stunning people who are dark-skinned and it should be celebrated. I would love to have a product that makes me darker.”

-Kalki Koechlin

Definition of beauty throughout ages:

How makeup was marketed in the 90s “breakthrough, so new and so sheer” and today the social media and a YT video is way more compelling. These beauty vlogs people follow gives a new image of how people are changing their lifestyle with positivity.

Today, consumers who are well informed of neutralizing the beauty culture- have more control over what constitutes beauty.

To down track the idea of how one looks and how one should look according to the beauty standards created across the industry, we are losing the individual identity of staying true to ourselves. To gel into the mass definition of beauty is costing women their space and their mind to the idea of where they fit in.

In 2019, study from the University of Copenhagen and other universities , according to the group of computational scientists deployed machine learning to analyse 3.5 million books. The books were in English between 1900 to 2008. The books include a mix of fiction and non-fiction literature.

And the results showed ” the words used for women refer much more to their appearances than the words used to describe men”

‘Beautiful’ and ‘sexy’ are two of the adjectives most frequently used to describe women. Commonly used descriptors for men include ‘righteous’, ‘rational’ and ‘brave

University of Copenhagen

I look at people like I look at art, a thoughtful idea, a strong character. A story.

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Dark, bold and beautiful!

A woman is more than her colour.

To this date, women across the world are judged upon their colour, body and labelled according to their appearance. Where fair complexion means beautiful and duskier shade is a black beauty. What is this black beauty? Isn’t she just beautiful. There’s no need to add a suffix like that.

colourism in India

Quote: Nandita Das

There’s a subtle reminder to us everywhere that fairness brings you success. Cosmetics called Fair and Lovely has recently been supplemented by a product aimed at men called Fair and Handsome. What? and Why? They are handsome and lovely the way they are dark, warm, cold and every shade. There is already a disgrace around marrying a dark-skinned woman in India. One has to only look at the matrimonial ads seeking “fair” brides, in addition to which our Indian cinematic songs and advertisements play a supporting role in such nefarious practices.

This isn’t racism, per se: it’s colourism, a vice prejudice.

In this era where we are striving hard to get our stand, acquiring education, research and yet, we are running backwards with our ethos. Women and men of colour are looked down on in disdain as though a lighter complexion brings good fortune. What we need to understand is the craze about good looks has corroded our brains. Judging someone on these criteria is utterly shameful and an act of vice.

With education at its prime level, yet our mindset is at rock bottom. There’s a huge change that we ought to acquire.

Maybe, it is time to educate our mid-age parents who still have such thoughts. If you see your parents, aunt, uncle, grandparents, neighbours or relatives talk about someone’s appearance, It’s time for you to step ahead and make them understand that good looks aren’t even a quality to mark check-list.

For the pious ones who claim to be divine followers of their religion and yet indulge in colourism, here are some facts you should look upon:

  • In Hindu mythology, even Krishna and Vishnu are described as dark-skinned gods in the scriptures, which are often entitled as fair. And then there is the elephant-headed Ganesha, even though there are no white elephants in India.
  • One of the messengers of the Prophet: Hazrat Bilaal, was assigned to call Adhan (call for prayer). He became the first Muslim to perform Adhan (call to prayer) and to quote he was dark-skinned as well. And when our very own deities and prophets were dark-skinned, with what authority and vocal consciousness do we discriminate people with colour? Have we ever thought about this?

Do we have more power than the almighty that we treat people unjustly? When the Supreme deity bears no bias for his disciples, then who are we look down upon them?

Constant reminder:

The way we look is not important than our values and character.

Our skin colour doesn’t matter.

It’s just gross to ask someone how fair the girl is, or how much she weighs. To judge someone’s appearance and concluding is a human’s most common attribute. Having passed comments on looks, they don’t realize the horror they are causing towards the girl and her family. They begin to apprehend that there’s something wrong with their upbringing. The girl herself starts reflecting if she was living in this imaginary bubble, where she is merely a puppet, whose whole life is a lie!

I loathe the category of folks indulging in such practices, and I do not have a reason not to do so.

Cookie Pointers for the one reading this:

  • Educate your Parents and Family on this issue. Many a time you are caught up seeing your mother handing over fairness creams to your sisters ‘Kaali’ (Black in Hindi, which she grows listening to). Or most of the times when your sister’s/daughter’s wedding is halted because the guy wanted a fair girl for himself or the mother-in-law wanted a whole new version of a shade of fairness for her ‘lalla’ (kid)
  • Isn’t this the time we, who have the power, energy, rage, and resources spark to change this mindset and voice against such daily dramas? It’s time to correct mother, father, uncle, aunt, guardian, and neighbours of their wrongdoings.
  • Ask, are we even CIVIL with our mentality? With our utmost wanting of outer beauty or should I say the altered beauty. The next time you hear or come across such spoonful hate or disgust for the women/men of colour, ask them how would they feel if the same had been said about their sons/daughters. It’s not just the hate, but it’s the realization that it’s wrong.
  • Remind yourself about the potential you owe.

If you’re feeling like this, I have an advice:

You are beautiful, just the way you’re

The acne on your face shouldn’t be your ache

The dusky skin ushers the same boldness

as the waves against the sea-shore

To conclude, let’s look at some things not to say or ask:

  • Is the girl/boy fair enough for my son/daughter?
  • I want a beautiful and fair wife/husband
  • Like seriously, get a life, Dorks!
  • Your classmates will tease you about your colour
  • No boy will marry you if you’re this dark. Apply those masks
  • Girls have to look pretty and be beautiful
  • If I switch off the light, I won’t be able to see you. (It’s so not funny)
  • Makeup artists make a note: Make them look like who they are and not brighten their ‘shade’ for no reason
  • Also when at Sephora or a beauty shop, if the person asks you to buy a lighter shade foundation than your skin stone, whack them right there
  • Eat these, eat that, it’ll give a nice colour to the baby
  • She had nice skin before. What happened now? Here, take these fairness creams. To conclude, learn to be comfortable in your skin. Voice your thoughts, and defend time and again until and unless people stop labelling us ‘dusky’, ‘wheatish’ or what I call “camel coloured.” Yeah, I’m camel coloured and I like it that way