Dark-skinned girls in Bollywood like Bipasha Basu and Lisa Haydon are labelled as ‘dusky beauties’ and referred to as ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’.

Dear Indians, why are we so unfair towards ‘dark’ girls?

‘Dusky’ is used by Indians to refer to dark-skinned girls whom they find attractive; dusky is exotic, but dark isn’t!

Deepti Verma April 23, 2017
Every day you’ll see tonnes of confessions by India’s dark girls (savli, tan, dusky or whatever you would like to call us in the milder version!) on different opinion blogs where they simply blurt out their deepest frustrations.

Some have been rejected by their crush/lover, some were shamed by their potential in-laws, and some were even rejected during interviews only because of their colour.

And India is not a racist country? Oh please!

Dusky beauty’ is something that my ears have been bombarded with ever since I was a teenager. Yeah, not just beauty but dusky beauty! And this is the reason why most of the people I’ve met, including my former manager, thought I’m a Bengali.

Yes, because if you are dark and beautiful, you are Bengali, if not (according to their standardisation) then you are south Indian. Prejudices!

I’m none though!

‘Dusky’ is a euphemism for dark and is often used by Indians to refer to dark-skinned girls whom they find quite attractive. Going by this new norm, dusky is exotic, dark isn’t! This is the reason why dark-skinned girls in Bollywood like Bipasha Basu and Lisa Haydon are labelled as ‘dusky beauties’ and referred to as ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’. However, using another word to illustrate the skin colour of a girl one finds attractive shows that ‘dark’ is used as a derogatory remark.

The stigma of being dark is plaguing the Indian mind-set even as you read this piece. Many of us would endorse the idea that ‘dark is beautiful’ here in the comment section but would reject a girl merely because of her colour in reality. There are guys who leave their girlfriends whom they love dearly, merely because they are dark and their parents won’t accept them as their life partners. What would they showcase to their relatives, the dark-skinned bahu (daughter-in-law)?

Oh no! What will happen to their prestige? After all, Indian bahus right after the wedding are no less than a showpiece where everybody comes and gives their ratings on their skin tone, eyes, nose, weight etc.

The acceptance of a girl in India as a potential bahu is directly proportional to her colour. Her education, business skills, communication, career and even her personal nature go for a toss. So what if you are an ideal bahu who can keep the family intact and become the most awaited member of the family, but are dark by the virtue of your colour? You are destined to bring shame to the family, unfortunately!

And if you are the one calling those guys (the one that I mentioned above) cowards and giving them names, my friend, be the change you want to see. The guys are not as happy as it is because they know they are at a loss, and not the girls. Moreover, the recent trending convocation speech by Shikha Sharma at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) clearly explains their loss.


People have a strange belief that all the jokes surrounding dark skin offend us, well, mainly because many of us deep down believe that our dark skin is our shortcoming. Well, honestly, people who get offended by jokes about dark skin are not the ones who think that being dark is a shortcoming. Girls like me find such so-called humour offensive and highly oppressive, not because our dark skin is a shortcoming but because our society portrays dark skin as a shortcoming.

Besides, the offensive humour gives liberty to mock a particular skin colour by devaluing their identity. Jokes about dark skin clearly show that it is absolutely fine to make fun of somebody’s body.

I know few dark-skinned people, especially guys who are fine with it, if somebody makes fun of their skin-tone. Unfortunately, their act of being a ‘sport’ demands other people to be like them, to be as mature as them, and to have a sense of humour like them. However, not all can believe that it is humour and our thinking that is offensive and not the society’s way of dehumanising us.

This post originally appeared here.
WRITTEN BY:
Deepti Verma
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (88)

Duniya Hasan | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend India has many states, langauges, cultures, food but when it comes to indian people most look alike. A person from UP, Bihar, Rajistan or Madhya Pradesh looks same as person from Tamil Nadu or Kerala, so there is diversity only in culture not in looks...the people in North india feel they are superior than people in south india because north india indirectly relate themselves more with Pakistanis. Trust me I don't need to make my presence felt cuz indian people are already insecure and divided by caste and color of skin. Pakistanis think Indian people in general are not beautiful but indians think pakistanis in general are beautiful.
hp kumar | 3 years ago Leave India to indians...you should worry about pakistan.
Duniya Hasan | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend That's because Pashto is not an indian language & so is kashmiri which is also derived from dardic languages spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Punjab region has been under Persian Empire for a long time they even named it Punjab after five rivers. Okay, on one hand your calling me I don't belong to sub continent and on other hand your saying I am alienating myself? Why don't you make up your mind first? The name INDIA doesn't even belong to you people it belongs to my land where it was originated, so technically you people don't belong to the Indian sub-continent. The name INDIA and your Constitution came after 1947 it means nothing before that. You people are just fake wannabe be indians just like afghans they are wannabe Persians.
hp kumar | 3 years ago Hahaha...burqua and skull caps r certainly not Indian culture neither those big rotis
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