By Fatima K - April 11, 2016

I'm a bit late with this post but I've finally done it. The reason it's late is because, honestly, I didn't have the courage to write it. I thought I couldn't write it because the people who I talk about in the post may figure out that it's about them...then I thought what the heck. They should never have thought that in the first place!!!

This is my #unfairandlovely story.

Background: #unfairandlovely is a campaign on social media which highlights the stigma that societies have attached to darker skin and beauty. Societies like mine... In this post I'm going to try and explain what this campaign means to me and, hopefully, you'll understand why this movement is important to me!

My skin tone can be described as brown - medium brown I would say but then some others would say light brown and I've been told by a few people that I'm dark brown. I'm content with it, it's who I am. It becomes difficult when I go out to buy things like make up which is supposed to match your skin tone, like concealer.

For instance: I walked into Boots some time last year on a hunt for a concealer. I've never been one who is good with makeup and so I needed help in the concealer department. Anyway, I got in and at the front, in my local shop, is the Max Factor counter. There was a lovely sales assistant who asked if I was ok and so I explained to her that I was looking for a concealer to put under my eyes. We went over to the concealers and she said: "to be honest, I think these are all too light. There aren't any here that will match your skin shade".

And that was that. See, the thing here is that I wasn't offended initially because she was being honest. She saved me a lot of time and pointed to towards the Clinique counter. Only after did I question why they didn't have any even close to my skin shade because I'm not a rare skin shade. There are loads of people who have my skin shade and well, Max Factor, you are definitely missing out on something there. But I can't really comment on make up because I don't know enough to make a comment - that was just an example of one thing I've found. Although it is a problem, I've noticed that there are now more things out there that match my skin colour and anyway, this isn't what I think of then I see #unfairnadlovely.

I wish make up was the only complaint I had but the thing is, it's worse. See, make up is an industry in itself that is run by companies and campaigns can be/have been started to change these issues, slowly but surely. It's not as easy to change the views of groups of people that have thought this way for generations. That takes education and this education and thought has to filter through for generations for it to be accepted. I know for a fact that it has started but this process is not one that can be done overnight.

Here is a very short example to explain what #unfairandlovely means to me:
Once someone asked for a description of a person that was sitting in another room and she asked: 'How dark is he?'...The person who was questioned replied, 'not that dark...the same as Fatima.' The look on the faces of the people in the room was - well they thought I was too dark. What's disgraceful is that people in that room are considered to be the same as me - they are 'my people' and some of them I'm related to by blood.

What do you do when your 'own people' think that you are too dark. People who I share ethnic origins with and more often than not, blood. Why do they think like that? Am I not the same as them? The irony of the whole situation is that I'm not actually that dark if you come to look at it, and so I dread to think what they think about people who have darker skin than I do. Beauty is not based on skin colour.

Fortunately for me, I've come to realise that there is more to me than my skin colour but the younger me was not as wise.
This is why campaigns like #unfairandlovely are epically important.

The truth is everyone is beautiful regardless of what we look like - I'm not kidding. Go check out some of the posts in response to this campaign such as Parallel and Areeba's post. Funnily enough, I found the hash tag through the lovely Areeba!!!

So go on, spread the word. Do you have a similar story to share?

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Keep reading, F x
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  1. I enjoying reading this post, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts with us! Obviously I've never struggled with those issues (though I did have to listen to some racist comments towards Chinese, but that's something different) so I can't really imagine how tough it must be. :/ you're right, change needs a lot of time, but I do hope we'll continue to make progress in the right direction. I guess being mindful with our language is a great place to start..
    Have a lovely week <3

  2. Thank you for reading! It's good to hear from you!! language is definitely a great place to start. I think there are some things we say that, although we may not mean to be horrible, when we look at what we've actually said it's not very pleasant. Even small change is good :) x

  3. I, Alhumdulillah, have not had to go much in regards to this. At the most, it's my mom saying "Dekho dhoop se aa k kitni kaali ho gai ho" and me going to the mirror and coming back out to say "Nai to!!"


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