Nepal | January 17, 2021

Colour-shaming

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DIVYA TIWARI
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It is easy to raise your voice when you only know about colour-shaming stories but haven’t faced it.

I have four sisters, and all of them are fair and beautiful. I am the youngest child, and my mom got worried as I grew up.

My sister’s friends teases as I was thin and had brown skin. I felt embarrassed.

In school, my friends bullied me, calling me black. I used to sob. I was a teenager and was undergoing hormonal and physical change.

One day, when I had gone to fetch milk from a cow farm in the neighbourhood, the lady-owner asked me my father’s name so that she could identify me. She then questioned me why I looked the way I did when all my elder sisters were beautiful.

What was I supposed to say to that nonsense question? The feeling that I had suppressed until then suddenly became vigorous in me.

After class 11, I moved to Kathmandu to join high school here. I and my elder sister used to stay together in a small room in Kathmandu. I was nervous to become part of this unknown city. The people, culture, language as well as skin tone, everything seemed unconnected to me. I used to walk with my head down on the road.

Here too in high school, my own classmates harassed and laughed at me. They called me dhotini, Madhesi. I lost the little confidence and motivation I had.

I didn’t share these things with my elder sister, but she understood.

One day, my housemate asked me why I was like this. Again, the same question, she carried on with all her opinions about me. My sister had just come from office and was angry, and wanted to scold that girl, but I prevented her.

I was naïve, and I did not have the emotional resilience to handle the situation. Thank God, I had my best friend and my elder sister to understand me. I was like, I know I am not beautiful, but I will do things that will make people respect me.

As time passed, I was sure that I didn’t want to play a victim’s role in my own life. I wanted to become a fighter. I read books and watched movies to inspire me. It has been three years that I haven’t thought that I am not beautiful or deserving.

I would say that being confident in your skin is the best feeling.

I want to educate girls like me who struggle each day for believing that they are not deserving and pretty. I want to help those innocent children who somehow feel left out of their family and friends. I want to make them believe they are deserving of everything and all happiness. I want to educate the family members about how they can boost their children’s confidence and enhance their self-image.


A version of this article appears in print on January 13, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.


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