November 27, 2013

Surviving Discrimination - The AJ Franklin Story

“Though She Is Dark, She Is a Nice Girl”
By AJ Franklin | A Dark is Beautiful campaigner

Growing up, I was teased by classmates for being a crow, urged by relatives to apply fairness creams and finally, when it came to marriage, I was told in advance that people would expect lots of dowry from my family because I'm dark. 

According to most of my relatives, we had to enlist me in a matrimonial services provider, so we went to a suitable one and I filled in a host of forms. On each form, after the basics, there was a slot for skin colour. I went ahead and ticked the box that said “dark complexioned.” 

The person in charge read the form and made a funny face at me, as though I had made a stupid mistake. She pointed at the skin colour box and said, “Please change that to ‘wheat complexioned.’” 

I asked why, and she rolled her eyes at me and said in Tamil that it was standard procedure for any girl of my “karuppu” skin to tick “wheat complexioned” to boost my chances of “catching” a groom.

November 15, 2013

Who’s Behind the Dark is Beautiful Campaign?

By Kavitha Emmanuel | Director of WOW

The success we have had so far with the Dark is Beautiful campaign is because of people like you who have believed in this cause and lent their support wholeheartedly. We have gone this far as an NGO with very little resources. This is a people’s campaign, your campaign!

Many have asked, “Why target only Emami's Fair & Handsome, and not other brands?” Some have even wondered if we are supported/sponsored by Emami’s competitors!

To clear the air, we wish to inform you that Women of Worth and the Dark is Beautiful campaign have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with any cosmetic brand. We share the same conviction about every brand that is promoting fairness products through unfair advertising, which we believe endorses the toxic belief that fair alone is beautiful or handsome. Our intention is NOT to deface organizations, corporations or people. We are ALL responsible to lead change.

The WOW team has been working tirelessly to make this campaign what it is today. Lydia Durairaj, our campaign manager, builds bridges with people and keeps all the moving parts moving. Magda Tewes is our student coordinator and a graphic designer.

The rest of our core team is made up of committed volunteers:
Photography and Design: Zippora Madhukar
Design: Shalomie Tewes and Joanna Williams
Editing: Deepika Davidar
Writing and New Media: Marsha and Joy Christina
Cartoon Artist and New Media: Anju Sabu

Get On the Bus, Baby

Dark is Beautiful is celebrating 1.2 Billion Shades of Skin Colour on Saturday, November 16, in MUMBAI. Join the colour madness at these locations:

Point 1: GATEWAY OF INDIA. Pick up at 9:00am
Point 2: MARINE DRIVE. Pick up at 9:45am
Point 3: CHOWPATTY. Pick up at 10:15am
Point 4: HILL ROAD. Between 2:30 and 3:00
Point 5: BANDSTAND. Between 3:00 – 4:00

Volunteers can join the celebrations at these venues. Artists, Musicians, Dancers, who would like to be a part of the event and share their talent to raise awareness - musicians, host a sidewalk gallery, or learn more about the campaign - can come directly to Bandstand. 

Volunteers who would like to join us on the bus can contact Lydia at 0 99403 58429 or Magda at 0 96772 53180

Here are the values of Women of Worth (WOW). We encourage volunteers to adhere to the following:
  • We value all people based on their innate worth. Skin colour, physical features, caste, social standing or ethnic  origins do not determine a person’s worth
  • We do not endorse cultural or traditional practices that strip people of their freedom to choose and to be who they are
  • We believe in showing our discontent or disapproval in a respectful and peaceful way
  • We do not believe in or approve of violence, vulgarity or unethical practices to achieve the campaign’s goals.
  • We do not believe in judging people for existing attitudes towards skin colour but would like to promote change of attitude through discussions, dialogue, petitions and partnerships
  • We believe that change is possible. Even those who have overlooked or endorsed the issue of skin colour bias in some way can still turn around and lead the change.
  • We are on the look out to build bridges rather than to burn them. We are always open to connecting, networking and partnering with individuals and organizations who seek to lead the change 
  • We believe that media is a powerful tool which if used rightly can bring positive change in a society
  • We are not against the advertising industry but stand up for change towards responsible advertising
  • We believe in building unity in diversity and endorse the celebration of all skin tones from white and wheatish to dark and dusky. 

November 7, 2013

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.”

November 1, 2013

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!