Surviving Discrimination – The Lydia Marsha Photo Story

By Lydia Marsha | A Dark is Beautiful campaigner

“You don’t have to be model to inspire people that dark is beautiful, you can be a role model everyday in your life just by being yourself” – Lydia Marsha


Words can hurt. I get teased for being dark skinned even now, at 25. Relatives do not see how I feel when they compare me with my siblings: “they are Fair and beautiful. You are Dark but beautiful.” It takes a lot of strength to overcome the small, insignificant word like “but.”

I once hated myself so much that I would hurt myself for being born with dark skin. I was ashamed to smile thinking that I might scare people. I had no confidence at all.

 
It broke my heart when my niece, a beautiful dark skinned child told me that she believes she is not beautiful and that she was being teased in school for being dark skinned.
This prejudice starts at our own homes. My aunt is looking for a fair skinned bride to marry her dark skinned son, primarily for fair progeny. I want this mentality to stop! I want to give the generation to come a chance to be their own judge and jury of beauty!
I enrolled in modeling to inspire dark skinned women especially in Malaysia to be proud of themselves. It is a difficult road for me as dark skinned models are not preferred in Malaysian media industry. But I will live my dream on my terms. I will inspire change!
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lydia Marsha is currently completing her B.A. in Professional Communication in Lim Kok Wing University, Malaysia. She is a freelance photographer specialized in children photography. She enjoys reading novels and watching inspirational movies on women’s empowerment.
A special shout-out to photographer Rose Marie from Rosiegraphie. Thanks, Rosie, for the great pics! 
– Dark is Beautiful Team
 
 

Let There Be Light!

By Kavitha Emmanuel | Director, Women of Worth

This Diwali let’s take a pledge to esteem all people based on their innate value and not judge them based on their skin colour. In celebrating skin colour diversity we give back to people the dignity they deserve. In the past this was not seen as a serious issue. Dark skinned people were expected to take negative comments about their skin colour in their stride and not make a big deal of it. But this Diwali let’s make a big deal of letting our nation know that radiant comes in every colour. 

This Diwali let’s decide to lead change! 

There’s something we can all do to celebrate 1.2 billion shades!

Join the Thunderclap!

You’ve probably asked yourself: What is Thunderclap?
 
 
Thunderclap is a new website that will allow you to join a group of people and tweet or post a facebook status in support of Dark is Beautiful at the  EXACT SAME TIME, creating a wave of attention. 
 
Imagine it to be a social network flashmob! 
 
So, follow the link below and click on Support with Facebook, Support with Twitter, Support with Tumblr – or all three! Then click the Add My Support button. 
 
 
 
On November 7th, a tweet or post will appear on your chosen social media platform urging people to sign the petition to end unfair advertising: change.org/darkisbeautiful

So get ready to make some more noise: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/5918-dark-is-beautiful

Dear Malaysia, Will You Dare to Be Colour Blind?

By Sai Tharshini Varathan | A Dark is Beautiful Campaigner

I come from the wonderful and multicultural land of Malaysia. Malaysia is filled with diverse people that are generally friendly. But often, I get to hear a lot of painfully discriminatory comments because of my skin colour, I used to feel hurt and wondered what was so wrong in being dark? 

 
I was once told to go to the temple and pray for a new face; to ask the Goddess for a better and fairer complexion. Of everything I have been told about my skin colour, this was the comment that really hurt.

My family is an upper middle class family and I’ve been fortunate to always have their support. The one person who really helped me is my MOM. She instilled confidence in me. She taught me to stand tall and be the best. When people mocked the colour of my skin and discriminated against me, she taught me to say, “Thank You.” People stopped teasing as they couldn’t make me feel bad anymore and they didn’t get the reaction they wanted.

 
Now, when people offer me fairness creams, I do find it hurtful, but I have learned to say “No. I do not need it. I am happy being a dark person and I find being dark is something lovely”.
 

I want to tell the people in Malaysia, my people, that being dark is not something dirty, disgusting or unwanted. Dark can be elegant and pretty. Dark can be ambitious and proud. Dark can be studious and over achieving. Because it does not depend on how dark or how fair a person’s skin is.

Dear Malaysia, will you join me and dare to be colour blind?

Sai Tharishini Varathan is a 19 yrs old medical student from Malaysia. 
 
She loves to travel, make friends, and everything to do with science.
 
During her free time, she writes her own stories and wishes to publish them someday. She also loves to sing and participate in dramas.



The Old Has Gone, The New Has Come!

By Kavitha Emmanuel | Founder and Director of WOW


It’s amazing to see how the Dark is Beautiful Campaign has gone viral. The WOW team was taken by storm. We are grateful to all our supporters for standing up with us to address this age-old belief that ‘fair alone is beautiful’.

Yes, it was our initiative BUT it has now become YOUR campaign.We also thank those who have expressed opposing views and have criticized our methodology. You challenged us to think deeper. But the fact is that we are pioneers in this effort and have no precursors we can learn from. We learn from our own mistakes and are willing to take risks.

Our focus for the campaign remains the same: to address the toxic belief that a person’s worth is measured by the colour of their skin. We do not plan to delve into the reasons why this belief exists. We want to look beyond that and seek solutions to change prevalent attitudes against dark skin.

We are concerned about factors that endorse and propagate skin colour bias presently in our environment. However, our goal is not to point fingers but to rather instigate and inspire change. It’s time for a new wave of thinking towards skin colour. It’s time to redefine beauty. Not based on skin colour, but on a person’s innate worth.

We would like everyone to see the image of the Creator in all people irrespective of their gender, skin colour, caste or social standing. It’s time to change what we see on our TV screens. It’s time we change what we teach our children about their skin colour. It’s time to challenge what we traditionally see on our matrimonial columns.

As Miss America, Nina Davuluri said: let’s rise above colours! The time has come for a paradigm shift in our globalized world to embrace cultural, racial and skin colour diversity.

I have watched a commercial for a fairness product on TV that says: Dark is out, fair is in! 

But the Dark is Beautiful campaigners would like to say: “The old attitude towards skin colour is OUT; celebrating beauty beyond colouris in.” Colour correction not required anymore!

Click here to see petition
 
 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kavitha Emmanuel is passionate about campaigning for issues concerning women, children and the underprivileged. She is the proud mother of WOW’s youngest champion, Ritika Emmanuel. 
 
Kavitha finds great fulfilment in helping women realize their dreams and live up to their full potential. She founded Women of Worth (WOW) with a vision to empower, train and motivate women to ‘Be the Best They can Be’. She is always looking for opportunities to create avenues for change that will make the world a better place for women.