Women of colour around the world are taking part in a new social media hashtag - #UnfairAndLovely. Started by Pax Jones in December, the hashtag seeks to celebrate dark skin in a world where pale skin is seen as conventionally attractive. Bleaching creams exist in every country in the world, and the hashtag campaign gets its name from Fair & Lovely, a popular brand.
— Ms Saha (@SahaSanjeeta) March 13, 2016
The hashtag began with a photo series by Jones, who is a University of Texas student, which featured her fellow students, South Asian students Mirusha and Yanusha Yogarajah. Aiming to combat the under-representation of darker skinnned women in the media, the photo series soon grew into a hashtag for women across the world to share their own selfies and photographs. "[As a black woman] I think common struggles that dark-skinned women of color face include underrepresentation and hypersexualization that eventually translate into reduced opportunities at almost everything in life," Jones told The Huffington Post earlier this week.
Photo courtsey of Pax Jones (http://paxjones.com/)
Being dark-skinned in most societies is seen as a negative thing by those particular cultures. In places like South Asia, the public face of the media is light-skinned women, and beauty is based on the lightness of your skin. Take, for example, India. One dark-skinned Indian living in the United States, Nadia Kadri, wrote an article in 2015 about her experience of growing up dark-skinned. “[My parents are] not “racist,” but when it comes to describing someone’s beauty or comparing physical appearances, they discriminate—not based on preferences, but because fair equals beauty... When summer came around, I was forbidden to go out because I would get too dark”. Dark-skinned women face discrimination around the world.
The hashtag #UnfairAndLovely has already started a dialogue around the subject, with many women sharing their experiences and stories. And with so many selfies and photographs being shared on social media, hopefully the hashtag will help to uplift women who are facing doubts about their appearances, or who have experienced negativity due to their skin colour.
— N A F I S A (@TheNafisaIsa) March 12, 2016