How To End Skin Tone Prejudice In The Philippines

Ending Colorism In The Philippines Starts With You And Your Perceptions

As social media becomes a universal way of communication and connection amongst society, more and more people are using their impact to promote change and break society's standards.

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Growing up, I have always been proud to be Filipino. Starting from a young age, my parents and grandparents tried to expose me to the language, the people, and of course, immerse me into the culture. One of my most vivid memories when I first visited the Philippines at five years old was how I was praised for my lighter skin tone and how I looked "mestiza."

In the Philippines, this term is commonly associated with someone who looks mixed or like a foreigner due to his or her fairer complexion. I remember being confused because my cousins expressed how they wished their skin tone, which was a little tanner in comparison, was similar to mine. That was the first time I faced the reality of colorism in my culture, and even though I did not fully understand the concept of it back then, I knew something did not sit right with me. I am writing this article because I want to reach out to people and tell them that although it may seem hard to change the foundation and original beliefs of a culture, it is still possible.

One of the main reasons why I believe some people in the Philippines continue to have this mindset is because of our country's history. For about 300 years, we were colonized by the Spanish, and it was inevitable that their influence, lifestyle, and beliefs be passed onto us. Back then, tanner skin was commonly associated with laborers in the fields because that indicated that these people were exposed to the sun more often. In contrast, a fairer complexion was associated with wealth and indicated a higher social status. Even though this is not necessarily true today, and some people are just naturally born with tanner skin, this mindset has not been completely forgotten.

Another reason why the subject of colorism continues to be prevalent in Filipino society is because of the external influences from both the beauty and entertainment industries. It is disappointing to see that until today, extremely popular celebrities continue to endorse products such as whitening lotions and soaps. We truly look up to these people, and most of the time, they represent a certain standard of beauty for us. It is hard for most people to disassociate from that attitude and embrace their own version of beauty.

One of the most famous social media influencers who I believe helped pioneer this movement is Asia Jackson, a half Filipino, half African-American YouTuber who started a social media campaign called "Magandang Morena" which means "beautiful brown skin" in Tagalog. Even though the Philippines generally still is working towards fully accepting and publicly loving all different skin tones, I think that there have been many strides towards inclusivity and equality, and this is an example of one of them. As social media becomes a universal way of communication and connection amongst society, more and more people are using their impact to promote change and break society's standards.

This only goes to show that if you are reading this, do not be discouraged if change does not occur immediately. We need to start embracing all skin tones not only in the Philippines, but in all countries and places as well, and this change starts with you.

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47 Things All Female Athletes Have Said

Yes, I know I am sweating a lot. No, I do not enjoy practices. Yes, I have said all 47 of these.
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Whether you're a collegiate athlete, or a high school one, you have probably found yourself saying most of these phrases. Us athletes know that the athlete life isn't for everyone, and we often find ourselves questioning if it's still for us. So, this is for all my fellow athletes.

All my fellow athletes who know the struggle is undoubtedly real, and who find themselves saying these 47 phrases almost as often as I do.

* * *

1. Do you have an extra hair tie?

2. What if we just said no? What if we just didn't run when the whistle is blown?

3. I, like, really, am not feeling practice today.

4. Do these pants make my quads look big?

5. Are you going to eat before or after practice?

6. I'm so sore.

7. Want to get McDonald's after practice?

8. Did you see that she wore makeup to a preseason practice?

9. I actually looked like a girl today.

10. I wonder what college would be like if I wasn't an athlete.

11. We're up before the sun way too often.

12. Is it gross if I don't shower after weights?

13. How hard do you think practice will be today?

14. Coach is literally crazy.

15. I ate like 20 minutes ago, so there's a 50% chance I puke during this practice.

16. I'm not going to drink the protein shake they gave us because it's going to make me gain weight.

17. I think my legs are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

18. I think my arms are bigger than his, so I can't date him.

19. Today in class a non-athlete was talking about how busy her schedule is. It was so annoying.

20. Thinking about preseason makes me want to cry.

21. Is it even healthy for us to have this many practices in one day?

22. I'll be right back, I'm having PGD (pre-game dumps).

23. I think I'm going to throw up.

24. I should have worked out more on my own.

25. How do other girls have the energy to put makeup on for class every day?

26. My legs are dead.

27. Why did we think being a college athlete was a good idea?

28. Do you think coach will be mad if I have to go pee?

29. I think I peed my pants a little bit during conditioning.

30. Should I wear my hair in a pony-tail, or in a bun?

31. I should probably start eating healthy soon.

32. Only six more practices until the weekend, we can do this.

33. I'd rather be sore for a week straight than climb into this ice bath.

34. They might have beat us, but at least we're still pretty.

35. I can't wait to celebrate our win this weekend.

36. How many hours of sleep did you get? I got 6, it was crazy, I feel so refreshed.

37. I look like such a boy right now.

38. Will you braid my hair?

39. That referee totally rigged the game. We should have won.

40. I think I'd hate being a reg (regular student).

41. It's OK if I eat this since we had conditioning this morning, right?

42. If you're not doing homework, get off the bus Wi-Fi, everybody.

43. These pants fit my legs perfectly but are huge on my waist.

44. I smell so bad right now that I can smell myself.

45. I bet my grades would be so much better if I wasn't an athlete.

46. Coach only gave us, like, one water break during practice. It was horrible.

47. I am so happy that I'm an athlete.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Dear Beautiful Black Girl, Never Forget Your Worth

An ode to all the beautiful black girls.

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We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2019 these standards are not clear cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of color, especially black girls.

As much as I'd like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I'm more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past suppression and oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afros and nappy hair are beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes too "complicated" to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their peers with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age — at the age of 8, already you can feel like you're in the wrong skin.

As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot of very stereotypical and diminishing. "You're a black girl, you should know how to dance," "black girls don't have flat butts," "black girls know how to cook," "you must have an attitude since you're black" — I'm sure you get the idea. Let me say this: "black girls," as they all like to say, are not manufactured with presets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the "ideal" description.

And there is more.

The guys that say, "I don't do black girls, they too ratchet/they got an attitude" — excuse me? Have you been with/spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men? Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned, that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark-skinned sisters and mothers and yet don't want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And who even asked you? There are 100 other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we do something to you?

Black girls already have society looking at them sideways. First, for being a woman, and second, for being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.

But we still we rise above it all.

Black girls of our generation are starting to realize the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama — the list is too long — are changing the narrative of the "black girl" the world knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled woman.

Girls, embrace your hair, body, and skin tone, and don't let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. The black girl magic is real, and it's coming at them strong.

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