Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee: What Shah Rukh Khan says will make a difference!

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WOW seeks to build a network of women who can be agents of change, standing up for justice and equality in all facets of life and society, in both local and global contexts. In 2009, WOW launched the Dark is Beautiful campaign to address the toxic belief that a woman’s worth is measured by the fairness of her skin. The campaign’s Facebook page has 10,000 followers and more than 9,000 have signed the petition on change.org.

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Tannishtha Chatterjee Endorses the “Dark is Beautiful” Campaign 

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August 14, 2013, Chennai — As moviegoers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari take a ride on Chennai Express, another Bollywood actor joins those calling Shah Rukh Khan to take a stand on the skin colour bias that cuts across this country.Tannishtha Chatterjee is backing the Dark is Beautiful campaign and its Change.org petition calling Shah Rukh Khan to stop advertising Fair and Handsome skin cream. “If Shah Rukh Khan takes down this ad, he will be making a huge statement. He is a self-made man and an example to our youth. What he says will make a difference!” Having acted in international films such as Anna Karenina and Brick Lane, Tannishtha says that stereotyping happens globally. “Bias against dark skin is not just in India, but also elsewhere in the world. It is, however, more pronounced and blatant in India. It is surprising that in a nation where being dark skinned is not a rarity, we have such a prejudice against dark skin. I have heard people say to the most beautiful girls with dark complexion, ‘You are attractive, but not beautiful.’ “One feels this bias so much more in acting, probably more than in any other profession,” she continues. “With dark skin and curly hair, you are slotted only into certain roles.” The Dark is Beautiful campaign has already found support in Anu Hasan and Nandita Das, and Tannishtha thinks it’s a discussion whose time has come. “A campaign like Dark is Beautiful helps move this issue from closed rooms to being in the open. We need to encourage more debates and discussions. Change will happen slowly, but we have begun to look in that direction.” She shares concerns voiced about Shah Rukh Khan’s Fair and Handsome ad, and how it targets young people with the message that they need to lighten their skin to get more out of life. “Shah Rukh himself is the biggest example of how talent, hard work and confidence are what gives you success— not fair skin.” “As far as the petition is concerned,” she adds, “I am all for it. The pressure to become ‘fair’ should not be on anyone— man or woman.” 

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