Let’s have a heart to heart.

Fine Fairness. Eeee.

Remember when I bought a fashion magazine a while back?  Well, this little gem was included in the shrink wrapped magazine, tah dah!  Today’s post inspiration.

Here’s the deal.  There are plenty of discussions to be had regarding the act of skin whitening.  Class, race, status, history, implications, on and on.  We’re not going to go into this today.  We’re going to go into my opinion my and experience, not because the other issues aren’t important, but because I don’t want to right now.  And I do what I want.  Besides, this is nothing new, there is plenty of research to be read or viewed on the all-knowing Tyra Banks show.   BANGARANG.

On TV, almost every commercial break contains some sort of beauty product or makeup spot.  However, now that I think of it, I believe that was the case in the States as well.  We are all familiar with the popularity of makeup, yes?  We are all familiar with not being happy with the way we look, correct?

Well, one thing that I happen to like about myself is that I tan up nicely.  I think I look sickly when I’m pale, and it doesn’t seem to just be an Americanized idea of beauty.  People literally ask me if I’m sick during my pale Minnesotan months triple the amount of times as they do in the summer.  I don’t like to go fake tanning for the obvious health risks.  I do get yellowish skin, and I do get dark circles under my eyes.
Currently, I’m not Minnesotan-winter shade of mayonnaise, nor a Hawaiian-beach shade of wild rice, but I’m a nice shade of Spring-break-in-Mexico cinnamon.  (If you get the cinnamon shade of brown joke, high-five.)

This is not the standard of beauty here.  Many Asians here like to be very light-skinned.  Many walk around with large umbrellas, oversized sun visors that look like welding masks, long sleeves, and long pants, all to avoid the sun.

I was getting some toner for my face, when the lady pointed out I have no pimples so what I was holding was “Too strong.  You can go with this non-alcohol product, OR Look!  A new product.”
I held it in my hands.  It read  Clarifying Whitening Toner. I looked at it, looked at her, looked at it again.  “Um, is this for skin whitening?”
“Yes, it is to correct your skin.”, the kind lady said.  She was actually really nice.

I glanced in the mirror.  I looked around.  The ritzy mall was filled with Asians that didn’t have mayo skin with plum circles under their eyes, they had even colored white skin.  Do I give up my nicely bronzed skin to fit in?
No.  I don’t.  I am not using some sort of spray tanning to get a shade of Snooki Oompa Loompa.  I’m not going to be bleaching my skin either.  If the sun wants to dance on my skin, I’m not going to crawl under a sun umbrella or sweat like a pig in long sleeves.
We just stared at each other and finally, after an awkward moment of silence, I politely declined and she looked very dismayed.

I wanted to say something about white girls wanting to be tan, and lining their eyes with liner to look more asian— contrasting with brown girls wanting to be white, but clearly my audience was not appropriate.
As I checked out, I felt sad.  I clearly don’t fit the standard of beauty here.  Nor will I, since I refuse to bleach my skin, or avoid the sun.  I’m a grown woman, I should not feel this intimidated by this idea of being an outsider; I should remain confident and comfortable with my body.  I’ve lived somewhat oblivious to the pressure of measuring up to the standard of beauty that many of my peers have felt, mostly because I grew up in a predominately white suburb and didn’t have many asian friends to compare myself to.  The comparison is what drives women, of all ethnicities, to do the self-image altering things they do.

Today’s post was not to encourage anyone to stop doing the  things they do to themselves, that they should embrace ‘natural beauty’, because, let’s get real, people are going to do what they want to do.  I am realizing, that as ridiculous as all of these procedures are, if it makes you feel beautiful and happy, then I’m going to let you be.  I’ll still silently judge you and feel sad for you, since that’s what passive Minnesotans do, but I’ll understand more clearly why you do the things you do.
For the first time, I’ve really felt completely different, surrounded by people who kind of look like me.  I felt more at ease surrounded by my fellow Asians in Hawaii, where you cannot escape the sun there.  No worries, I’m all dandy here though.  I am not down and out, it’s just something I needed to vocalize.

I’m not going to lie, I took a step back and looked in the mirror for a while.  While there are things that I do want to change and improve, my skin color isn’t one of them.

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3 thoughts on “Let’s have a heart to heart.

  1. Shandamarie Stracek says:

    You’re beautiful just the way you are!

    We did this activity once in an adoption group I sometimes help out with- we had the girls (tweens) look through a few popular teen mags and count up all of the advertisements for make up, diet pills, face creams, etc – there were more ads than actual content! Then the girls had to look through again and count up how many of the models looked like them- usually none! Upon realizing this, one of our more vocal young ladies commented “all these magazines want me to do is to be someone else”. My heart said “Yes! you get it!”

    • minnehappiness says:

      I love you Shanda, you’re awesome. You and I could sit and have this conversation until the early hours of the morning– such an important issue! I love that the girls get it — that gives me so much hope.

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