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  • Writer's pictureMathushaa Sagthidas

Brown Beauty Standards

Beauty standards in general already have so many expectations and differ from country to country. Speaking from a female perspective and with social media growing more and more everyday, “women are expected to wear makeup in their daily lives, work out at the gym, stay skinny with curves in the right places”, according to an article by Brightside. However within speaking from a perspective of a south Asian female, colonisation has consequently left an impact, as many of the invasions were caused “by people who were usually lighter skin, such as the British", says Dr Ritumbra Manuvie, who teaches human rights law and has researched discrimination in south Asia. Thus leading to colourism, which is discriminating against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic group. Many south Asians of a darker skin tone have grown up with this ridiculous belief that ‘if you’re lighter, you are considered to be more attractive’. A belief that has been enforced within the westernised society, especially due to Eurocentric beauty standards that have been in place for way too long. However this even more enforced with the Bollywood industry and the lack of authentic representation of all south Asians of varied skin tones. However this has begun to change due to the popularity of campaigns such as unfair and lovely contributing towards dark skinned south Asians seeing themselves more positively and with the hashtag #bollywoodissowhite , in order to incorporate more south Asians of darker skin tones.

The Bollywood industry occasionally fails to considered the south Asians of various shades of brown. There is clear lack of dark-skinned representation within Bollywood amongst various industries, especially towards women, as the traditional south Asian woman “would be dressed in a sari or rural costume and depicted with pale skin”, according to an article by Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002. It is important to change this stereotype of ‘white being superior’ within and outside of the south Asian community. This show also combats “colourism and the under-representation of people of colour in the media” according to an article by Pandey in 2016. The way colourism permeates south Asian lives, especially when most are “advised not to go out in the sun because we'll get darker. It's as if darkness is undesirable” according to an article by Pandey in 2016. These negative beliefs and stigmas need within the south Asian community need to change with society and various media platforms, to embrace all women of every skin tone equally and fairly.

Here’s a list of some my favourite beautiful influencers, that use their creativity and platforms to break these awful beauty standards that have been set by society.

Photography by me ©

Math x

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