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I wrote the article The "white skin" standard in Filipina beauty for a couple of hours before posting it online about two weeks ago. Never did I imagine that it'd be viral again next to my 8List article written last February.

I have to say that it was the perfect example of the old adage that "timing is everything". Considering the fact that I have the preliminary critique draft written two years ago. But for some reason, I shelved it and was just reminded to continue writing about it in lieu of Megan Young's Miss World win (And yes, I'm not a international pageant buff, thank you).




The repost at Yahoo! Philippines.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when Karl De Mesa contacted me saying that GMA News Online's interested to repost the article, three days after I posted it on my blog.

Well, it was in fact the second time GMA News contacted me regarding my articles. The first one is regarding Tito Sotto's plagiarism issue, but due to my Facebook hiatus last year, I wasn't able to notice the message sent to my 'Other' folder.

That's why this blog sends its many thanks to GMA News Online for re-posting the article. And Yahoo! Philippines, too for reposting my article.
It was indeed, a surprise to see my article on the Top Stories of Yahoo! Philippines.
The article is once again dedicated to my beautiful mother, Grace Gonzales; and
to all the Pinays who are contented with their God-given hide.
As of this writing, the GMA News repost alone has 2,400 Facebook recommendations, 3,850 shares, 450 tweets, and shared 4,522 times in other social media sites.

And to wrap this up, I reiterate that beauty goes beyond skin color, it is timeless; and it doesn't expire.

You may download the printable copy of the article at: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/162974182/The-White-Skin-Standard-in-Filipina-Beauty-by-JR-Lopez-Gonzales

Photo Credit:

Image taken from Carmela Lapena's article, "Dissecting the Pinoy white skin obsession" at http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/182773/lifestyle/dissecting-the-pinoy-white-skin-obsession
Author's Note: This article was reposted in the GMA News Online website. You may read the post, here .
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/330626/opinion/the-white-skin-standard-in-filipina-beauty

From the pasty white and plump standards during the Victorian times up to the tanned complexion popularized by Hollywood in the 1950s, we, humans have changing ideas of beauty.

But this doesn’t seem to apply in this country of Malay descent. Our standard of beauty is fixed on the mestiza standard since the 16th century: that one has to have fair skin to be beautiful. Obviously, this proves how ingrained the Western-standard of beauty is to us Filipinos.

Historically speaking, it’s one of those cultural influences we got from our Spanish colonizers. In the Hispanic society where Filipinos are considered second-class citizens in their own country, the archetype of beauty is the standard of the conquistadores. That yardstick where indios get to be ashamed of their own skin color. No wonder we had people like Doña Victorina who abusively uses facial powder just to look more like the Caucasian colonizers.
After the Spaniards came the Americans. And this pigment-less ideal of beauty was carried over, too.  And with the advent of technology and mass media; this kind of love for Western standard of beauty was preserved by the Pinoys up to this day. That kind of thinking where we consider the colonizers’ standards as the better and superior ones we have to imitate.
On a sidenote: I was surprised to know that dark-skinned girls are joshed in Thailand, too.
That’s just how this white skin fascination of the Pinoys came to be. The more mestiza you look, the more you’re considered as beautiful in this country of a hundred million Malay-slash-Pacific islanders.

There even was a controversy on Spanish chocolate bars called “Filipinos” in 1999. Accordingly, those chocolates resemble us Pinoys who are “brown on the outside, white on the inside”. Indeed, it’s quite unfortunate that the standards of beauty applied to Filipino women are still based on skin color.
In this country, it is like a mortal sin to have a darker skin tone. It seems that the racist in the Pinoy still equates blackness as dirty and unclean. Having a darker shade of melanin is like something one should be ashamed of. 

Many Pinays feel the pressure to have white skin.  Pinays want to be white; Pinays need to be white. In fact, dark skin is frowned upon to the point of calling them baluga, negra, uling, ita, kulay-duhat, etc. It can even be noticed with the common Tagalog expression: Mahiya ka naman sa balat mo! (You should be ashamed of your skin!) Or jokes like “Black is beautiful. But too much is charcoal”. Having a darker complexion makes one a laughing stock here.
A tour around Manila’s thoroughfares makes one realize that there’s not one dark-skinned endorser on the billboards. Products that are endorsed by fair-skinned gods and goddesses, most of them are of mixed-bloods. Even the American tourist who made “20 Things I Hate About the Philippines” video also noticed this Filipino fascination towards fair skin.

From the day we learned to use our eyes to watch the idiot box, we are bombarded with images that project a nearly unattainable physical ideal. The images form the foundation upon which our generation’s self-esteem and body image will be based. As an example, our brand of showbiz is dominated by white-skinned tisoys and tisays. That’s why it’s a no-brainer that the masses adore these mixed-bloods. But if one would really think about it, it so happened that these gorgeous people had the “luck of the genetic draw”.

And these false ads don’t help either. Some tell us that we need their products to unleash our “natural whiteness”. Television commercials feature whitening product endorsements of aquiline-nosed celebrities who already are endowed with white skin. One product promises “kutis artista” (Complexion of actresses).

Now this makes me wonder: just what exactly is “kutis artista”? Well for one, Tado is an artista. And so is Tsokoleit.


(For the continuation of this article, please click here)

Photo Credit:

“Dark Skin”. Screenshot from the Thai movie, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”.
"Tsokoleit", picture taken from http://contents.pep.ph/images2/news/322a74e38.jpg.
Author's Note: This article was reposted in the GMA News Online website. You may read the post, here. This is the second part of the article, make sure you read the first part, here).
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/330626/opinion/the-white-skin-standard-in-filipina-beauty
  In the past, beauty used to be a rare find. Now, it’s different. Everywhere we look, we can find beautiful faces. Our narcissistic and image-conscious culture is further amplified; thanks to the television, Facebook, and the ever-reliablePhotoshop. Now all of us can receive jackets from Willie Revillame.

Clearly, beauty has its benefits. It makes one attractive to the opposite sex. It sells magazines. It gets high TV ratings. Beautiful people lure us into a purchase. Nothing sells better than an impossibly gorgeous face.
I am not amenable on how Pinoys mock Binay's complexion.
She doesn't deserve the position because of her inexperience; not because of her color.
 Beauty can win pageants. It can make the masses vote for someone undeserving. It makes one famous. And could even be a ticket to win a political seat.

But the sad thing is, the Pinoy’s fascination with the standard of ‘unattainable’ beauty makes everyone miserable and discontented. In a country where majority are genetically influenced by our brown Malay forefathers, for some, scouring and scrubbing their colors off seem not enough. Our well-off ladies go a notch higher in attaining beauty through bleaching and other surgical operations.
 
Rhinoplasty, skin bleaching, facelift, breast lift, face peel, tummy tuck, and what-have-you -  just to make themselves happy about their appearance. For me, it seems that they are fixing parts of themselves that were never broken in the first place. But maybe it’s human nature. It’s that part of us that can’t seem to be satisfied with things we have.

But now it makes me wonder: with the grand slam win of the Philippines by winning all the international beauty pageants, does it change our perception towards those we call “black beauties”? Because most of these beauty titlists don’t possess the mestiza looks our society prefers. I don’t know. But one thing is sure though, in some ways, our international pageant wins let us realize that foreigners appreciate the natural beauty of our Malay race; which we fail to do so.

I’m no fashion-slash-beauty police but I guess we just have to be comfortable in your own skin instead of trying to change it. Indeed, it is a personal issue but hopefully Filipinas would learn to love and accept things as they are. For one, our brown complexion is a beautiful hue of hide without blemishes and freckles unlike with those of the whites. Our flat noses come in handy, too. Especially for boxing where we don’t get broken noses. (Maybe that makes us good boxers? I still have to ask Manny Pacquiao on that).

I believe we don’t need to look foreign to be considered beautiful. That’s why I commend Pinays who are content with their skin color or their noses. My mom, I believe, is an example. She may not be a title holder but I have always admired her strength, kindness, dedication, and compassion. She is not fair-skinned but she has the qualities that last a lifetime.
My Mama Grace.
This may be a cheesy way of ending an article, but the truth is we have to focus on the more important things. True beauty is not skin-deep; it is timeless, and it doesn’t expire.