There are not many successful people in Hollywood that have intelligence accompanying their talent. Lupita Nyong'o is one of those rare people that is breathtakingly sophisticated, intelligent, and articulate with an old-world elegance and grace. Her every speech emphasizes how refined and truly beautiful she is.
Her speech on beauty has become quite popular on social media. And I wanted to record some of the beauty of her words here, especially since today is Women's Day.
Her speech rings true to many women around the globe. Women in India still obsess over whitening their skin; attributing beauty, reducing and crushing it to just one ideal - white, pale skin.
It disappoints me that no matter what one's education, their professional ascent, the size of their house, their modernity in external appearances, their mind is still closed on this matter. Education surely helps one unlock the many doors and windows within one's mind, but not everyone chooses to do so. Such people, women being the majority of that group, still pass cruel judgments even on new-born babies and the color of their skin.
In a country where there are still shameful commercials for skin-whitening creams that imply that a woman's skin color can crucially determine her future career, and her prospects for a decent husband and a happy life, there are millions of young girls and women that focus their thoughts and energy on a ridiculously silly endeavor towards external "beauty". And what is the ugly truth? It is us women, more often that not, that continue to perpetuate this nasty stereotype.
The mother that rejects a woman for her son because she is not fair-skinned.
The grandmother that is disappointed in her grandchild for not being fair-skinned.
The woman on TV telling you to buy skin-lightening creams to look like her.
The fashionista that tells you not to wear certain colors of clothing because it will not suit your complexion.
The clique of mean girls in school that bully and taunt you because of your complexion.
The list goes on. Women sometimes bring down other women. Down to a deep, deep, dark place of no return. One of the first things we need to do as women is to always stand together and support one another. From matters of education, dowry, abuse, to the several other social prejudices unfairly bedeviling our women, we, as women, really need to stop perpetuating the destructive cycle.
In this particular case, change truly comes from within, and starts with every individual accepting themselves for who they are, and investing their efforts and energy into worthwhile things of substance.