Growing up in a country that was colonized it becomes hard not to fall for the white is better complex. From a young age, you are told not to tan outside because you will become dark. Products such as fair and lovely are considered normal and encouraged to use. People’s parents teach them this and encourage hurtful words such as you won’t get married because you are too dark. It is so common that you don’t even ask yourself how is this happening. Skin is something you have no control about but you are still made to feel about it. Even though most people have the same skin as you. That is why it is important to talk about loving your brown skin.
If you are darker you are made to believe you are less beautiful just because of the colour of your skin. You and another person might have the same features but the fairer person is considered more beautiful. You start seeing things like that and start believing in it yourself and that is when you turn to the whitening creams.
I am not going to say that I have never used a whitening cream because that will be a lie. It has probably been a staple in every brown household. If it isn’t something obvious like Fair and Lovely then it is you going to a dermatologist that is giving you some strong product that is bleaching you under the name of sunblock. Because apparently, good skin means being fairer as well. Then when the person uses these harmful drugs and comes back we start saying ‘oh you look so pretty.’ This further confirms to the person using the cream that people think fair is more beautiful.
Fear of being tanned
Personally, I have avoided getting tanned in the past because I didn’t want to become darker as well. If you keep hearing ‘if you sit in the sun too long you’ll get dark’ and oh before a wedding don’t do that you internalize some things. If you don’t check yourself you start passing on that same message. I get that tanning can be inconvenient just for the purpose of makeup and I am not talking about tanning for those purposes. For most of my childhood, I had a sun allergy so I did hate the sun. It made me look like a Dalmatian. But the type of tanning I am talking about is more about not letting your 5-year-old child not play in the sun because of this fear of becoming dark.
You visit any Asian country and you will see that whitening creams are high in demand at grocery stores. Sadly, it comes taking to a Western country to see that people are actually trying to tan themselves. You then start to accept being in the sun.
I am not going to say that a western country doesn’t have a fair share of racism because it obviously does. But there is something saddening about you not being able to accept the skin of your colour when everyone around you is brown. When you collectively as a nation believe the colour of your skin is something to be ashamed for.
It is the words we speak around young people that they start to accept that this is normal. They then go do the same things to their friends. You see it on media famous actresses that you look up to selling these whitening creams and you stop even questioning at some point why this is happening. When you go to a makeup artist she will make you look fairer even if it is at the expense of looking like a ghost because fairer is better. How can someone on their wedding day look brown even if that is what they are? We just continue letting this happen as if it is normal.
You would think this is something that doesn’t happen in an educated household but this is happening in most brown households. It can only stop if we check ourselves and question the beliefs we have.
Change the wording we use when we talk about brown skin. Learn to accept who we are and the skin we have. It will take time but it is all about the small changes and starting with yourself.
Questions for loving your brown skin
What beliefs have you had about brown skin?
Can you question some things that you have been taught?
What wording have you used regarding brown skin previously?
What wording are you going to use now?
To every brown girl out there know that you are beautiful whichever shade you are!
Need help with finding brown skin makeup that matches? Check out our blog on brown skin makeup.
Comment below and let us know how you felt about brown skin growing up and if you or on the path to loving your brown skin.