prerna [1 of 4]

“I grew up hating the color of my skin, my body and my culture. Growing up in a society that celebrated a standard of beauty that I knew I never could reach destroyed my confidence and my self-esteem. I’ve been asked if I was brought to the Middle East to be a slave. I’ve been asked if I was adopted since I was significantly darker than my sister. Kids in class have used me as a colour scale to measure how dark they’ve gotten after playing out in the sun, which would usually end in a cheer, as they haven’t reached the last shade on the scale. I’ve been told that I would have been attractive had I been fair, and my favourite “It’s weird that I find you attractive because brown girls aren’t my type”. There came a point where I was disgusted by the sheer sight of myself in the mirror. I was overcome with the feeling of not being good enough because I wasn’t lucky enough to have the right genetic makeup. I have used all sorts of face masks and products to lighten my skin and even engaged in self-harm because all I wanted to do was change my reality. I repressed everything about my culture because I never felt accepted for who I was.”

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