Fair and Lovely Girls

By Maryam Khan


Being a girl I frequently find myself beset by the question as to why South Asian girls are ‘preferred’ and/or ‘discarded’ based on the color of their skin?

I was born with a fairer skin tone, and thanks to the hot weather I eventually turned into a tan girl. I never realized being tan was a crime, and I don’t think comparisons would be made between me and my female cousins who were fairer.

In order to dig out the cause behind this skin-color-based discrimination I accept the fact that we are highly influenced by the western community. “Goray” are the apple of our eyes; we love them so much that we become uncomfortable with our own skin. Girls are the victim of this discrimination – be it a job or a marriage proposal the selection is based on “good looks” mostly.

We discard unintentionally human value – people are judged and respected based on their outer shell rather inner self. Sadly, girls are taught to become “hot” for them to have a safe survival in our society, whereas I strongly advocate the “self-acceptance” mechanism to combat every day’s challenges.

To me, another concern is the age complex — Botox is the solution, tee hee! Age gives grace, experience injects in a person wisdom and for sure nothing is static in the world. Why on earth, then, are we horrified with the thought of getting old? When a girl must tell her age, for instance, it always goes through subtraction method, real age minus five years = hot age.

Religiously and culturally we as a nation were never under these pressures. In fact, we must uplift the human value and dignity. Let’s divert our energies towards the better cause where we nurture the hidden talents that benefit us. Forgoing our ethics will embed larger complexes into our minds where we would continue to have endless prejudicial attitudes.

The crime is not to be “not fair” but to be unfair in judging others based on their outer appearance. American president Barack Obama wasn’t defeated in his election bid based on the color of his skin, Nelson Mandela ended the apartheid and remains to be a most admired figure across the world, Oprah Winfrey’s show has enjoyed high rankings, Beyoncé Knowles the entertainer is brilliant and famous; and the list goes on.

This element of change requires a rebirth of sorts within every soul in order to give a mild dose of emotions to our society. Today we pass derogatory comments on others and ignore the fact that tomorrow they might come around. If we plunge deeply into the roots of our culture, we would find that we are a noble society that promotes equality. Over the years we are leaking out our frustration in the form of a judgmental observation and derogatory comments. Furthermore, in Islam we all stand equal to one another and there are no differences between black and white. Now, it’s our task to eliminate the discriminatory expression which is non-progressive and unacceptable. The society must give equal space to the vast community of tan girl so that this section of the society may progress and benefit the society through its talent and sheer hard work, of which it is not found lacking. It’s a high time to regain the lost pride of our culture and disqualify judgmental and discriminatory attitudes which is attaining quench for quite some time now.

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