This week I came across a Twitter campaign that’s fighting against colorism, particularly in the South Asian community. It’s called #unfairandlovely and it is so beautiful and awesome! I was reading a little about the meaning behind the name and it turns out that it is in reference to a prominent skin-lightening cream called Fair & Lovely. In the campaign, women (and men!!) are fighting against Eurocentric beauty ideals, challenging the notion that lightness/fairness is right/the best.
Reading through the posts, it’s clear that colorism is a huge battle for these communities. Girls reminisce about feeling the need to bleach their skin at age 12 and discuss how colorism was their “biggest battle” growing up. It shouldn’t be that way. One of my favorite things about this project is how empowering it is for the participants. Despite those challenges growing up, they are now fighting against the names they’ve been called and the system that continually told (tells) them they’re not beautiful. Now, they take smiling pictures of themselves and share them with the world via social media, all while talking about how they value “the richness of [their] skin” and how their “glo provides light for this society.” They say they are beautiful BECAUSE they are dark. And it’s true!
Another aspect I love about this campaign is that it is through social media, which is becoming more and more common. Because #unfairandlovely was so powerful and important for the individuals that initially encountered it, it started trending on Twitter. This is awesome because that can allow it to reach a much wider audience of people who both are and are not aware of this societal problem. As a result, there was a lot of solidarity across different communities that suffer from colorism. One of my favorite posts was of a Black girl whose post encouraged other Black girls to post a picture in support of their unfairandlovely sisters. I loved her post because I think that’s how social movements work best — when people come together to fight against the same social problem. While I don’t think this movement will eradicate colorism as an issue any time soon, I think it is still a great way to raise awareness about this very global issue.