India and its vast majority is still driven by the ridiculous belief that fair skin translates to being beautiful. The belief is prevalent everywhere you look; in movies, advertisements, on matrimonial sites and it has been systematically reinforced down the ages. Dusky or dark is ugly, white skin mimicking certain western ideals is desirable not only in women, but now also in men.
Advertisements insultingly show instances of fairer women attracting more people as opposed to dark women and this ad is just one small example of the way this stereotype is perpetuated.
For a country with so much diversity in terms of races and culture, this obsession with white skin is rather self-defeating.
A social media campaign kickstarted by photographer Pax Jones, aimed to shut up such blatant discrimination and colourism by encouraging dark women to share their selfies and add instances in which their complexion was pulled up as something undesirable. Named #Unfairandlovely after a skin whitening product, the campaign had hordes of selfies pouring in of dusky and gorgeous women bashing the ugly belief.
One of the selfies which has recently gone viral on Facebook with about 40,000 shares belongs to Abirami Ravichandran Pillai from Singapore who is seen posing with her cousins dressed up in Indian attire. The photo was put up on a Facebook page titled the 'The Faces of India they won't show you' and has since received phenomenal responses with people narrating their own experiences and putting up pictures of themselves.
Abirami was pleasantly surprised by the responses pouring in and told ScoopWhoop,
"I had no idea that a simple selfie with my cousins will go so viral. At one point I was uploading it to my Instagram page, next thing I know it was being shared on Facebook a thousand times. It was very unexpected to us that our selfie would get so much attention on social media around the globe."
Initially, as a child she faced instances of discrimination against her dusky complexion and had qualms about it.
"Always even as a child, I was darker than most of my siblings and cousins and was always compared to them. There was always a sense of inferiority complex. But as I grew older I learned to accept and embrace my complexion and I found myself to be much happier person!"
Fortunately, Abirami's family helped her dismiss such negativity and encouraged her to embrace her beauty and colour,
"They just told me to love myself and that I am special and beautiful in my own way."
The response to the Facebook post is both beautiful and inspirational with thousands embracing the way they are.
Love yourself and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.