The beauty of being brown
“Melanin is responsible for determining skin and hair colour and is present in the skin to varying degrees depending on how much a population has been exposed to the sun historically.” — Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD – News Medical)
Growing up – and I think I can speak for a lot of other dark-skinned individuals – you always linked beauty with fair, light skin. We would try whatever we could to evade getting darker than we are; I’d stay clear of beaches and pools just to keep myself from getting darker, and I’d lather myself in sunscreen, not for the protection from the sun, but in hopes that it would protect my skin colour, and for a while those skin whitening products had so much appeal.
When I got back from studying abroad, I had so many aunts and uncles say things like: “You’re so fair now, you look beautiful!”, and although they don’t mean it to come off as being rude, it makes you wonder, why are we always looking to become fairer?
With an increase of brown influencers in the world (think: @iisuperwomanii and @lizakoshy) and the addition of multiple brown shades in make-up lines, there is the feeling of inclusion for this group of the community. Plus, there is a noticeable change in the norms of what beauty is, which is a step in the right direction. However, in smaller countries like our island and others in South East Asia, beauty standards are still corrupted by the ‘fairer is better’ concept. It will have to start with us as individuals beginning the process of loving our skin, and in time there will be a considerable change in beauty standards.
I’ve grown into loving my skin colour no matter what shade it is because it’s mine to love and take care of. There is so much beauty in our chocolate coloured skin, I mean have you seen a brown girl during golden hour? We literally GLOW! Our skin, our melanin makes us who we are as a community and its time to start loving it instead of trying to change it.
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