I visited my home Manila. Some people noticed there was something different about me after living in U.S for four and a half years. Some people I know observed my skin gotten darker maybe after I moved to Tucson.
Some of you may not know in Philippines, tan or darker skin is often unappealing. To call someone dark skinned could be taken as an insult or considered imperfection.
"Nothing has changed since I left" I thought to myself. Supermarkets and drug stores were full of skin whitening products, from soaps, to creams to pills. The market of whitening products had increased from natural whitening papaya soap to a hardcore gluthatione pills. For some reason, I was glad I escaped a place where society encourages me to hate my natural color.
I was often called "negra" or black when I was a little girl. I was often compared to my sibling who is "meztiza". "Why is she darker?" I remembered a friend of my mom asked. Our silly neighbor didn't know I was too busy enjoying my childhood playing under the sun all day every summer . I guess my skin just adapted to my lifestyle to protect me from the sun which caused me a darker complexion. However, I never escaped the same comparison every family reunion. It's always been the whitest is the most beautiful. This sentiment was planted in my mind. White dolls were the epitome of beauty. I wished I was blond, white and blue eyed. I was a little girl who wished I was something else.
The time came when I liked boys and I became too self-conscious about my appearance. Filipino mentality has becoming more and more westernized and whitening products were on the rise. Girls and boys in school who have whiter complexion were among the popular ones.
I saved my allowances to buy skin products strong enough to burn and peel my skin. I would wake up one and a half hour early just to bleach my skin before school and scraped it with knife to remove what I believed dark dead skin cells. I hate to admit, it was painful and it consumed so much of my time I've thrown so much money in the beauty industry. I've gotten tired of it. WHAT A COMPLETE WASTE.
I stopped my skin whitening obsession when I met and married my husband. He preferred my natural color and most of all, he loves me the way I am and wouldn't change anything, with a bonus of second parents who always remind me that I am beautiful the way God made me.
I have been to different countries where I haven't seen any kind of whitening products in grocery isles. Many have wanted and complimented my complexion. There were few men asked my for my number. Instead of digits, I answered "I am married". My confidence climbed higher I didn't have to be ashamed of my color anymore.
I am not saying skin lightening is pure evil. Skin whitening has a benefit too.
According to this girl on youtube, when you got a boo-boo or acne inflammation, the Melanocyte creates more melanin in a spot. It should actually fade within 24 months, so to speed up the process, whitening products are used to speed up the process to diminish the excessive melanin that caused dark acne spots. But in most cases, many have abused it, bathed or injected these chemicals into their bodies hoping to look like whites.
There's nothing wrong on having preference when it comes to the definition of beauty as long as it won't hurt or scar someone and feel bad about themselves. Do not fall for the lie that beauty demands something you are not or you do not have. Beauty is always been there. It can be enhanced but shouldn't be changed. Filipinos are given a beautiful and functional skin color to enjoy the beauty of nature (such as beaches, mountains) Philippines have.
With this in mind, I was wanted to bring home a Filipina barbie doll but couldn't find one that I could afford.
So my oldest sister who's hobby is crafting doll gowns, gave me a gift to bring back to U.S. She found my old dusty barbie doll and clothed it in very beautiful handcrafted gown.
Filipino inspired ball gown made from our very own Philippine product Abaca.