Speaking From Experience, Asian Beauty Standards Need To Chill Out

Speaking From Experience, Asian Beauty Standards Need To Chill Out

*Vividly recalling my mom trying to whiten my face with homemade face masks.

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If you are unfamiliar with the beauty standards in Asia and some parts of the middle east and north Africa, here, let me tell you. This article will be informative and also very rant-like so I would recommend sipping on some tea as you read this.

Growing up in a South Asian household, I was criticized on my appearance so much and still am, I know very well that this isn't just my family, but a cultural understanding of what beauty is supposed to be like and how that is engraved in every woman's mind in Asia.

Here's what is considered beautiful - super fair skin, big eyes, very thin body, hairless, and a small and pointed nose.

And yet every auntie in Asia expects girls to magically look like that and abide by such standards like we can be born with them or control them which is literally so stupid. I can't fathom how much this standard has ruined people's lives physically and mentally.

Let's break down the logistics of these standards real quick.

When it comes to fair skin, if you are "lucky" you are either born with it in your genes (or natural selection) or your skin matches where you are from and to help adapt to UV rays in Asia you have darker skin which makes sense.

When it comes to eye shape, it is still a mystery to scientists but if you physically cannot control what kind of eyes you are born with, whether you have monolid, wide-set eyes, or small eyes, it's simply something you cannot control.

You would think that being skinny is possible and it sure is, but in this case, I'm talking about looking almost malnourished. No matter how thin you are, you will constantly be criticized. I have literally witnessed my skinniest of cousins being told that they look "healthy," which translates to fat. THE WORD HEALTHY MEANS FAT. C'MON.

Hairlessness. Are you sh***ing me??

Us South Asians are literally known for our body hair, and you expect us to get waxed up at age 10 and not be traumatized? Making body hair sound so disgusting even though it is a normal and natural thing? Ridiculous. And then finally, having a small nose doesn't even make any sense because the shapes of noses are based on adapting to humidity levels and climates where you are from and if you don't have a bigger nose than people with European backgrounds, then you are just as "lucky" than those who were born hairless, fair-skinned, big-eyed, and high-metabolism-ed.

From personal experience, I have dealt with so much criticism and thankfully it has never impacted me as much mentally than it could have.

My parents are on the fair side, and I am fair/medium skin toned, but the catch with me was that unlike my cousins, I played sports growing up and yes, they were outside and yes, that meant that I got super tan. The calls that my mom would get from her mom about how she needed to put Fair & Lovely on me and lemon juice, and yogurt and all these things just to whiten my complexion was too much. It started literally the age of 10 and never stopped. I have grown out of the standard, but to this day my mom buys foundation shades that are at least 3 shades lighter than her actual skin color all because of this cultural standard.

I was blessed with big eyes, but I have seen my friends who are Chinese and Korean who have balled their eyes out wishing they didn't have monolids. It was heartbreaking to watch and that's when it really hit me how stupid these standards are. Even family friends who don't have big eyes have been doing makeup to make their eyes appear larger from a young age.

I was never skinny, I was either fit or chunky and it still goes back and forth for me when it comes to body type. And you best believe that whenever I would go back to the motherland, the aunties would look me up and down, pause, and tell me I look "healthy," which was every girl's nightmare. The pressure was always there, especially with my mom being a size 00 all her life while I fluctuated from 2-6.

When it comes to having body hair, my mom was very good about not making it a big deal when I was little, but the moment I went overseas, my aunts looked at me and took me to the salon to get my legs, arms, and stache waxed. I have gotten my entire body waxed so many times that it doesn't even hurt in the slightest, I have gotten used to it.

Oof, and having a small and pointed nose is like every brown girl's dream, at least mine anyways. This is the one thing that I have always been insecure about and absolutely hate about myself. Not only nose jobs, but surgeries to fulfill all of these Asian beauty standard "needs" are becoming very popular and common throughout Asia which is sad, but we need to make an end to this.

It's 2019, I can be as hairy as I want.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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