My Fair Lady.
As I sit here in my bed wrapped in my comforter and rubbing one hand over my tummy in attempts to ease off the cramps, my eyes simply stare at the whitening cream that’s at the edge of my bed.
Yes, skin whitening cream.
“You’ve gotten so dark!”
“Why do you look like that?”
“Is your tan still not gone?”
These are some questions and comments I’ve received in the past few days that sort of make my blood boil but instead, I just smile and say, “It’s the trip to Orlando that got me dark.”
I am a ‘brown’ girl with I would say maybe olive skin tone, a thing hard to figure out because I never really know what my real color is. And this olive skin toned girl has been given a whitening cream that was brought from Pakistan. The first time I opened the bag and saw what was given to me, I laughed. I swear I laughed out loud. My brain had chuckled at the idea of getting a whitening cream out of all the things that actually could’ve been brought from back home. And then it got me thinking, why should I feel the need to ever use these?
Here comes the serious concern now. For centuries now, cultures have seemed to adopt the idea of skin color and how it defines a person. In many cultures, a person’s skin tone/complexion is taken as the utmost characteristic of what defines that person. In cultures where I come from, a woman’s and at times even a man’s skin color is used to sort them and cause assumptions of their class status, their socio-economic level, and their beauty. You will be surprised by how many people suffer from rejections in relationships due to their level of darkness. If a girl is dark, there is a higher chance that she won’t be approved as a wife or daughter-in-law in many households, regardless of her education or character. In many other Asian cultures outside the subcontinent, this is also a true story.
To think about how much color matters to people is simply frustrating. Is it my fault that I am darker than your preference of skin color? Is it my fault that I don’t look like someone from European descent? Is it my fault that my pigmentation and the melanin in my skin is much more than that of a Caucasian person? Do people understand that color of our skin all depends on your body’s natural pigmentation? Do people understand that for a fact, having darker skin actually makes you less prone to skin cancers? According to research, Melanin helps protect the skin against effects of the sun such as skin cancers and premature aging. Protects. Remember that.
So here I am, a woman in her early 20s with a self-confidence that shatters everyday because of constant comments from my own people about my curves and body image, my skin color, and almost everything about me. I find myself constantly defending my tan after every trip that I take and spending weeks doing home remedies to find a way to get rid of my unwanted tan, because it apparently makes me look ugly…now that’s a big bad word. I tell everyone truthfully that even ONE dip in the water in summer gets me looking 2 shades darker instantly, but that’s just how my skin is! But to constantly defend my skin color is tiring honestly.
I have had numerous fair complexioned people compliment me on my skin color yet I still cannot find any spot of acceptance in my own people? That is ridiculous. I have heard people put down and pass insulting comments to girls in church, weddings, and even just randomly on how dark they are. Even if it’s not an insult, I almost always hear people using “she’s dark!” as the first descriptive word of someone even with a speck of tan in them. Yet! Yet, all these people who aren’t Caucasians themselves are always dying to have tanned skin like Caucasians do after a beach trip. I am not lying to you when I say that I have heard these words thousands of times from these ‘brown’ people who say, “OMG! I wish I could tan and look so pretty like that white girl!” or “white tanned girls are so pretty!”
Really? Such horrendous double standards.
It’s high time that our skin color is taken as just a natural trait that no one can really change. It’s time that we make our young girls stop going through emotional and psychological abuse due to how they look. It’s time to stop making our girls use highly chemical substances that many whitening creams/facials/lotions/treatments have JUST to have a lighter skin color. It’s time we stop ourselves from having such backward and harming mentality. It’s HIGH time that instead of making our children doubt themselves, we actually help them overcome such insecurities.
I have gone through enough insecurity about how my skin color makes me look ugly than that girl sitting next to me who’s automatically attractive due to her fairness. I have wasted enough time and money buying and trying new makeup on which would make me look lighter. I have gone through enough times of self-doubt and staring in the mirror asking myself, “Am I not pretty enough?”
NO ONE. I repeat, no one should EVER feel the need to look at himself or herself in the mirror and ask the question of whether they are pretty enough. No one deserves to be treated differently, badly, judged, or feel unaccepted because of the amount of melanin that’s in his or her skin NATURALLY!
Now, excuse me while I go and shove that whitening cream; which promises on it’s cover to have me looking 2 shades lighter in 2 weeks, into the garbage.
P.S. EVERY ONE OF YOU OUT THERE IS BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS OF YOUR SKIN, BMI, OR ANYTHING SUPERFICIAL. 🙂