Written by Iyah Caisip 🤎
A Morena’s Place in the Digital Space
A melanin-loving online community? Count me in.
You’ve probably heard the term safe space one too many times and might have even used it yourself. Whether to provide comfort for a friend or groups of people that find a debate too upsetting– a supportive environment is crucial especially for the cruelty that the social network breeds.
Those are only a few among the many ill-mannered jokes that netizens regard as a comedy while completely dismissing the fact that brown skin is an important representation of our culture-rich country. For the ones agonized by colorism in the media, there were not many virtual spaces to turn to when tactless Facebook memes were all across the timeline. Thankfully, safe spaces allow us to express ourselves without restraint and the fear of being taunted.
How “Safe” is the Safe Digital Space?
In the discourse of finding a safe virtual space, we take into consideration the kind of environment we want that community to have. Keda Pierre of Forbes suggests that through this effort of sharing our daily dealings, we tend to exchange the best methods of recovering from colorism and better focusing on our being morena.
There are three elements in this author’s mind that a virtual space entails for it to be considered safe.
Cancel Out the Noise
Beginning with knowing how to prevent and ensure that the space is free of conflict, this virtual place must be able to cancel out the noise of color prejudice. This is primarily because constant halfwitted interjections can get extremely exhausting and thoughts that matter get piled deep in the heap of all the hate.
Online Support System
#MagandangMorenx creator Asia Jackson started the movement in 2016 that drew attention to the alarming gravity of colorism present in the Philippines and it ignited a part of the indigenous beauty that was being put out before by the cruelty of skin color prejudice. This is what we need virtual safe places to feel like. Asia Jackson created not only a movement, but a safe space for a lot of us.
More to that, #MagandangMorenx turned into a supportive environment for brown-skinned Filipinos to appeal to and the light at the end of the tunnel for a 15-year-old girl who, at the time, had no concrete explanation of what colorism was but knew exactly how belittling it felt. That 15-year-old girl was me.
As well as getting rid of hate speech or disparagement on brown skin. A safe space must also provide support and amplify the voices of people filtered by the media.
Morenas Empowering Morenas
Empowerment has many faces, especially online. It could look like leaving nice comments on someone’s post or resharing their stories. In essence, safe spaces have encouraging people among its members which motivates everyone to voice out or at the very least, find consolation in knowing they share similar experiences in that community.
Eradicating colorist remarks, supporting authentic kwentong morena, and uplifting each other; this is what a kayumanggi’s place in the digital space looks like.
In the pursuit of a supportive environment was when I found Kayumanggi Club by Morena The Label, a group on the Facebook platform where we get to share everything about being beautifully brown-skinned. A safe space is an understatement because Kayumanggi Club has become a brave space for me, my fellow morena interns, Danielle and Lore, and many others.
To the Morenx reading this, I hope you also find your safe space in people that you spend time offline with. It makes a lot of difference knowing you surround yourself with people that acknowledge and appreciate you. 🤎
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alliyah Caisip, AKA Iyah, to her family and friends, is a full-time student, athlete, music performer, and writer. More to that, she is currently based in the USA and enjoys her free time through reading. With much desire to advocate in defying colorism, she writes for Morena The Label and promotes skin positivity and brown skin representation. When not laughing at her own jokes, Iyah can be found eating chicken wings.
Pierre, K. E. (2020, September 4). Five Key Aspects Of Creating Safe Spaces Online. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/09/04/five-key-aspects-of-creating-safe-spaces-online/?sh=1c4ec98e6a5fPhoto source: https://www.lancerspiritonline.com/29392/opinion/girls-lets-unite-not-fight/