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This Captivating ‘Dark and Lovely’ Illustration Is Challenging Beauty Standards

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In India, there are some things that you grow up on, and some that just stay with you. Like, and I can’t be the only one, ad jingles. The Nirma one is something most of us can hum in our sleep. And the Bajaj ads that evoked our inner patriot. Oh, and how can we forget the Cadbury one with that girl dancing on a cricket ground? Yes, these were amazing. But, unfortunately, we were also the generation that bore witness to the constant messaging that white skin is better skin. 

As you applied a certain face cream, you got fairer and with that came success, job opportunities… and with continuous application, you were promised a wedding as well. Of course, we know better now, but ‘fair is pretty’ continues to be a belief. And while there have been many movements, one illustration has caught the attention of many. This digital illustration has been inspired by a picture. One that was originally created and conceptualised by Zainab Anwar, a Pakistani artist based in Canada. Bangladesh-based artist Waseka Nahar was greatly inspired by this. 

In an interview with NDTV, she says, “Discrimination based on your skin colour is still prevalent. And fairness creams add fuel to the fire. Through my artwork I want to address colourism. Zainab’s picture symbolises that there is a certain ‘stigma’ – for lack of a better word – surrounding dark skin. The picture boldly says that dark skin is as beautiful as its counterpart.”

Zainab shared her picture 2 days ago. “I am truly speechless. I’m glad this has gone viral because now we can open up a conversation about acceptance and loving yourself as you are,” concludes Waseka.

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Mansi Shah is the resident humour writer and random conversation starter. Tends to laugh manically at puns. Deeply enjoys the blunt force of sarcasm. Preys on chauvinists and people with incorrect grammar. Hoards makeup and beauty products. Attacks Nutella with vigour.

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