The White Beauty Stereotype
This link to Yahoo!Answers in my inbox reminded me of one of my pet peeves: the Filipino obsession with white skin. Lightening one’s complexion is practically a fetish in this country, to which the abundance of skin whitening products in the market is testament.
My own mother raised me to be self-conscious of my skin color, mostly because my grandmother raised her to be self-conscious of hers. When my mom was growing up my lola called her “Neggy” (as in negra) and it seriously affected her self-esteem. So when she had daughters of her own, she became obsessed with their fairness. When I was a kid she wouldn’t let me swim or play outdoors for very long for fear I would get dark. “Do you want to be negra? Do you want to be pangit?” I came to believe that fair skin was the ultimate criterion for beauty, and I felt like such an ugly duckling next to my uber tisay classmates in Poveda.
As I got older I realized that the whole thing was stupid. But my mom still hates it when I come home from the beach burned to a crisp and she constantly laments the fact that, unlike her sons, her daughters are not tisay (my brothers got more of the Spanish genes from my dad’s side of the family and are considerably fairer than my sister and me).
I’m so sick of the racial inferiority that underlies our society’s stereotypes for beauty. Filipinos are brown, people. Deal with it.