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JR Lopez Gonzales 9:00 PM 0

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.

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