Our society’s obsession with women’s looks is a well-known fact. Since our childhood, we are bombarded with unsolicited pieces of advice from aunties, who think we shouldn’t be too dark, too pale, too fat, too thin, too educated, too perfect, or too something or the other to not fit the bill to be a perfect bahu.
Recently, we stumbled over a beautiful letter on Facebook that was dedicated to these nosy aunties. Facebook page Open Letters That Matter posted an open letter dedicated to aunties, who think that dark-skinned girls are not marriage-able.
Written by Ayesha Khurram, the open letter titled ‘An Open Letter To the Aunty Who Told Me Kaali Girls Don’t Get Rishtas’is a powerful reminder of how our society needs to stop harassing women for their appearances.
While expressing her feelings in an open letter, Ayesha Khurram, mentioned:
“I should be apologetic. For what? Apologetic for the way my skin glistens in the sun, in shades of bronze and golden (I don’t need a halo to shine)? Apologetic, for the way golden eye shadow compliments my skin and my eyes, the way it rests on my eyelids, so proud and prominent? Apologetic, for the way my skin looks good with literally any colour – from the lightest white to the darkest black – because my brown is beautiful? Apologetic, for the way I am completely, wholly, unapologetic for the wonders of my skin colour?
Because brown is the colour of chocolate, and most people prefer brown to white? Because no, my skin is not as white as the star and the moon in our flag, but as brown as the stick that holds it up? Because I’m brown, and I can pull off red lipstick better than you? Because my brown is the colour of coins and gold and trees because the sun loves my brown because I love my brown?
Aunty, I’m not worried about marriage, at least, not right now. I’m not worried about a man, so full of himself and his white skin, or his ‘manliness’, to see the beautiful in my brown. I see the beautiful in my kaali. I see the natural contour, the tan I never need to work on. I see, a kaali woman, strong, bold, and beautiful. I see a kaali woman facing the day despite the constant hateful comments – it’s bad enough being dark-skinned. It’s worse if you’re dark-skinned, and a woman.
And so, farewell to you, fairness creams, powders, skin tone lightening techniques, desi aunties commenting on brides and their skin tone- I am in love with my brown skin. I am in love with my kaala, non-rishta material face.
If Kaali is a disease for you, I can wipe it off with a cream. Your mentality, on the other hand – what’s your cure?
The One You Probably Forgot, But I Didn’t Forget You.
At IFORHER, we are so proud of Ayesha for writing such a powerful letter. We hope many more would seek inspiration from this letter and would take a stand against all the uncles and aunties with the regressive thought process!