I've been meaning to write this for a while but I kept putting it off until a friend of mine told me to just post it because it might be somehow beneficial to at least someone. So here it is, friends of the world.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I will be talking about skin colour only and not racism but I might be wrong because it's confusing. Also, this might not be relevant to countries outside the southeast asian region. But I might be wrong again because I wouldn't know.
Sure, okay, yeah, it's your decision, okay. But hold on for a moment. Can we ask ourselves why? I'm genuinely curious, why do people feel the need to go a few shades lighter?
I always, always hear "oh my God! I'm so black!" or "I'm soooooo tanned omg!" and in a negative way, even though said people are like 2 or 3 shades lighter than me. Having spent half of my adolescent years in an all girls school, I hear this all. the. time. Not trying to stereotype these girls, and I'm not saying that co-ed schools aren't the same, and that boys do experience these things too, but this seemed to be more prevalent among teenage girls. There would be conversations in the classroom, toilet, canteen about the 'Hottest Skin Whitening Face Wash' or the 'Best White Concealer Powder Thing'. And I've seen girls with the same skin tone as mine trying to look a few shades lighter by smearing white powder unevenly all over their faces. "As long as I'm white, it's fine," they're probably thinking.
I don't know about other schools, but in all the ones that I've been to, surely, the popular people were almost always light skinned, got the most attention, had the most friends and would be considered pretty or hot or beautiful. And this happens every time. Trying to describe someone really attractive? "hm.. smart.. umm.. light skinned" Trying to compliment someone? "Wow I like your skin, it's so fair!" or "wow her skin is SO white she's SO PRETTY".
I don't get why not being fair skinned is good. Although I admit, I was once under that mentality too. Whenever someone commented on "how fair I've became over the holidays" (because I would stay in my room and not go outside) I'd reply, without even thinking, "Thanks!" until I realise, why is 'thanks' always the response to this statement? Because just like my weight, I was always pushed around for my skin colour. And some people would be racist towards me because they would always assume I was of a different ethnicity, even though I'm Malay. So when someone said things like that to me, I would think of it as some sort of achievement. Like, "ah yay! Finally! A compliment! I'm doing something right by looking like everyone else! I'm not so different after all!"
If you think about it, why is it a good thing to be fair skinned? Why should it be a compliment? Why is calling someone dark skinned an insult? It's just like calling someone gay to offend them. I've come to realize that either I've matured or that I just recognize how poor insults they are. Like, they are facts.. So what? It shouldn't matter as much as people make it out to be. I'm aware that the Asian culture promotes fairness of the skin and considers darker skin as inferior (though I'm not saying everyone's like that) which is why we've been constantly surrounded by this mentality. And this reason stems from the British colonization in Asia of the whites being more superior, and obviously this has left an effect on us. But can we change it? A lot of Asian people naturally don't have light/fair/white skin, so can we start to acknowledge that fact?
And all these commercials we see on tv don't help either, it's unbelievable. How fair do these people expect themselves to be to reach that level of 'pure beauty' that doesn't even exist? It just perpetuates the cycle of girls being insecure of their skin and it makes people think that they're not pretty or good enough because they don't have the 'correct' skin pigmentation. Additionally, it's a clever way for business people to fish out money from our wallets by promoting product after product that probably don't even do anything BUT damage our skin and health.
Some commercials to illustrate my point:
This one is the most ridiculous, because obviously women only get jobs by having fair skin and not by their abilities and intelligence or effort to do their work.
The number of times the word "white" was mentioned in this commercial (below) is insane.
It's just been bugging me a lot lately and I cringe every time someone complains about the pigment of their skin. I understand that each individual has their own choices and I respect that and they can whiten their faces as much as they like, but I just really want to stop this whole mindset of The Fairer You Are, The Prettier You Are. As if skin colour is this magical thing that automatically makes you a successful, attractive human being. Let us embrace our natural skin, alright?