For many years, there has been this on-going conversation in the African-American community about light-skinned versus dark-skinned. We have seen documentaries like Dark Girls that tried to give us an idea of how it is to grow up hating your own skin because the rest of society wants you to believe that it is ugly. While we know this is common in our communities, a recent movement online has shed light on this being a worldwide issue.
The hashtag #unfairandlovely began trending online as a parody to the ‘Fair and Lovely’ skin lighting cream that is marketed to women in Asia. It was started by a few students at the University of Texas and inspired by a project that UT student, Pax Jones, began in December. It was mainly used to draw attention to the colorism among South Asian women. It has been an ongoing subject in India for years. Although this is not related to the Caste system, like many researchers believe, many women spend their whole life trying to be lighter.
The skin lighting business is a multi-billion dollar business in India. After doing some research online, it seems as though the struggle to be light-skinned is worse than here in America. Advertisements make people there believe that with a lighter skin they can find a husband, get better jobs and live a better life. There are even some that are convincing women to bleach their private areas. One research firm stated that more skin lightening creams are sold in India than Coca Cola. This campaign was meant to uplift those and convince women to throw away those bleaching creams.
Pax Jones, one of the creators of the hashtag stated on her Twitter. “Further, #unfairandlovely aims to combat underrepresentation, hypo-visibility, and erasure of dark-skinned people of color.”
The hashtag went viral. It started with South Asian women, then ended up being something that is meant to represent all women of a darker skin tone. It has over 3,000 results on Instagram and over 130,000 Google results. Many people weren’t aware of the colourism issues among South Asians. There are darker skinned tones in nearly every culture that isn’t Caucasian.
This campaign and others like #Melanin are social movements created to help women understand that you are beautiful just the way you are.
Many women are often told that you can’t wear red lipstick, color your hair or certain clothing just because you are darker skin tone, this hashtag is letting the world know – they are all wrong. Don’t let marketing and photoshopped magazines covers make you feel any less valuable. For every woman trying to be light skinned, there are 3 others trying to be dark skinned. The topic of Colorism, just like racism, body shaming and women rights seems to be something that will never let up.
Written by Deprina Godboldo Staff Writer and host of “The Pri Party” on Bullsradio.org, Modern Domestic