Why do we give so much unsolicited advice to people, especially kayumanggis? Do we think that they aren’t able to handle our uniqueness or are they guilty of making a bad first impression? Well, let me tell them something. It’s not our place to do that.
It seems like everywhere you go, there's always advice given. Maybe it's someone telling you to do something they say they don't want to do. Or maybe they give you advice that helps or gives guidance even though it's not what's best for you or the situation at hand.
The worst part about these pieces of advice is how harmful they can be. We’ll tell you why these types of remarks or words we hear don't always have the best effect on us, and how we could rewire our thoughts instead.
Don't put on too much baby powder because you look like a rice cake.
In the Philippines, it is difficult to find beauty products that suit our skin tone best. And even more to that, it is hard to put on makeup and be confident about it because of how other people try to bring us down with remarks such as this one.
Why is this harmful?
Most people spend hours, if not minutes, doing their makeup. Anyone, of any skin color, will be insulted by such remarks after the effort and time they spent on it. But to morenas, it is much more detrimental. It would appear that the advice meant unless you have fair skin, you look less of a decent person with makeup on.
Don’t wear bright colors because it makes you look darker.
When we talk about anything in fashion, some colors and styles look good on us. And there are certainly some that don’t look complementary to our body, color, and style. However, “good” is different from one to another.
Bright clothes like white and neon give contrast to people of color. Apparently, some people feel the need to comment on it, telling kayumanggis that they shouldn’t wear them so that they won’t look darker than they already are.
The thing is, being kayumanggi is not an insult. And having a darker hue is certainly not something to be ashamed about.
Whiten your skin because you look dirty or burnt.
Despite living in a country that seems to be in summer all year round, being tan and a person of color still seems to be seen as something to not be proud of. With Western beauty standards instilled in us naturally, we look down on something innate to us.
Why is this harmful?
When you tell people to whiten their skin, it’s like telling them that there’s something wrong with them. Spoiler alert: there’s not. The thing is, our preconceptions about what beauty is supposed to be like are flawed. It is heavily influenced by how we put Western people in the spotlight instead of nurturing and focusing on those that look like us more.
Don't do sports or activities under the sun.
Doing sports or any activities under the sun makes you darker. Even when you put sunblock on, tendencies are, you’d still go some shades darker when you spend your worthwhile time under Mr. Sun.
What people don’t realize is that being a few shades darker is not something to be ashamed of, because being dark is not a problem at all. The thing is, society has wired our system that we have to be white to be pretty. But what they don’t realize is that we don’t have to be.
They may see us as beautiful even when we’re dark. But let’s change the narrative. We are beautiful and we are dark. Being a person of color doesn’t diminish our beauty, nor does it invalidate it. It’s about time we shift the narrative and change how things function. Things are not black and white.
Go abroad so you’d have lighter skin.
In the Philippines, a lot of people opt to go abroad for better work and life opportunities. And there are titas who saw how some OFWs seem to get lighter skin when they fly out of the country.
Why is this harmful?
There is already a lot of kayumanggis who choose to whiten their skin, whether they may be in or out of the country. But that is their choice, and some of them are only victims of the uncorrected prejudice against people of color. Being a few shades darker than what society deems as pretty is not a problem, people’s ideas are.
Most of the time, people give us these kinds of advice because they don't know what to do and they've just been used to hearing these kinds of remarks since they were young. But if we let it go on, we're right there in their place. That would make everything meaningless.
That's why we need to recognize these comments. We aren't claiming that all these above are qualified as bad advice in the strictest sense of the term. There are some instances where there are valid reasons behind what people say.
But when it comes to uttering them to look down on people’s skin colors, if we want to make positive strides towards understanding and acceptance, we should be careful with what we say. We need to make a conscious effort to change our preconceptions, and hopefully, this blog provided a place to start.