It's Time To Get Rid Of Eurocentric Beauty Standards

It's Time To Get Rid Of Eurocentric Beauty Standards And Embrace Individual Physical Appearances

As a young girl, I spent hours googling things like "DIY skin lightening masks" and browsed through hundreds of websites looking for masks I could make with items I had at home.

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Growing up, I was surrounded by Bollywood music, intricately detailed salwar kameezes and lots of curry. I loved everything about Bengali culture. But, growing up Bengali also meant Eurocentric beauty standards were the norm. Fair skin equated to beauty. Being light skinned was considered the number one factor of whether or not a girl is deemed attractive. It felt like the worst thing a girl could be was dark.

In Bengali households, girls are taught that the lighter you are, the prettier, leading to a childhood of insecurities and lack of comfort in my skin. Commercials of bleaching products like Fair & Lovely were advertised constantly on Bengali TV channels. In these advertisements, girls with dark skin were unable to get their dream job or their dream guy, but once they began using Fair & Lovely, and inevitably got lighter, they magically were rewarded with everything they'd ever wanted and more. This standard of beauty was ingrained in my brain and I found it beyond challenging to embrace and love the skin I was in.

As a young girl, I spent hours googling things like "DIY skin lightening masks" and browsed through hundreds of websites looking for masks I could make with items I had at home. I used masks composed of turmeric, milk, and rice flour. I used raw papaya on my face. I tried lemon, cucumber, aloe vera, ANYTHING, that these websites told me would help me become lighter. I even used Fair & Lovely, at only nine years old, in efforts to be a lighter skin tone. I spent days crying, wondering why God had punished me with dark skin. I spent years questioning my beauty and hoping that one day I'd be light skinned. I spent months trying to scrape the darkness off of me. Nothing ever completely worked. I viewed my skin tone as a disease, that I had to get rid of.

In my head, being fair was the epitome of beauty and being dark was synonymous with being ugly. I spent so many summers indoors, so I wouldn't tan. When I did go outside, I made sure to lather my skin in sunscreen and try to cover myself up as much as possible, so that no part of me could get darker than I already was. There were years of aunties exclaiming how kala, dark, I had gotten. My sister and I were even distinguished based on our skin color. She was the shada, light one and I was the kala one. It was horrible to have my insecurities constantly brought up to me as if it was just a simple talking matter.

I wasted so many years, trying to live up to this impossible European standard. I wasted my precious childhood feeling insecure and defeated because of my desire to be lighter. Because of my need to feel beautiful and deep-seated belief that beauty meant being light-skinned, I didn't realize that beauty is so much more than the color of my skin. I was blinded by this so very wrong thought process that I and many Bengali girls have drilled into our heads at a young, influential age. It took years of self-hatred and insecurities, to finally discover that beauty is not, and never will be, defined by Eurocentric beauty standards. This view is problematic and it's time to address this standpoint that South Asian cultures have on skin color.

It's time that us brown girls love the skin that we're in. We have melanin and we should be proud of that. We shouldn't listen to anyone or anything that tells us that being fair means being lovely. No one range of skin tone should ever be deemed beautiful or hideous. Being literally any skin tone is beautiful and we shouldn't be made to feel like only one shade is.

Who said beauty was defined by skin tone and made Eurocentric beauty standards become our perception of attractive? Who said we had to continue to feel uncomfortable in our own skin because we're not light skinned? We have the ability to question what beauty really is and the strength to go beyond years of instilled values and our culture's definition of lovely. We have the ability to redefine beauty. We're all beautiful, regardless of the color of our skin. It's time to break free of the Eurocentric beauty standards holding us back and embrace our exquisiteness and truly love the skin we're in.

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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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3 Essential Tips To Creating The Ultimate Natural Beauty Look

Bringing out your inner glow with a touch of makeup can boost your confidence through the roof.

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The key to achieving natural beauty is not applying too much makeup in the first place. You don't need as much product as you think. Honestly, when it comes down to it, all you need is a moisturizer, a touch of concealer, blush, and mascara. Anything else is going to make you look too caked up when you're going for a natural look.

1. Use a light hand

It can be easy to go in with a heavy hand but in doing this, your end result will look too heavy. When you use a heavy hand, you'll end up looking like a clown. By lightly applying your makeup, you'll be able to see your beauty in all of its glory. Be sure to tap off any excess product off of your brush before applying it to your skin. This will ensure that not only will the product not be stamped onto your face, but instead, seamlessly blended onto your skin. Little stippling motions with either a beauty sponge or a foundation/ concealer brush are the easiest way to do the trick.

2. Use as much natural light as possible

By using light that is toned a different shade, your makeup can look all sorts of messed up. Typically these kinds of lights have a yellow tone in them, which can impact how you see your initial base foundation/concealer. It can turn your view into seeing your skin in a different shade, forcing you to apply either too much makeup or too harshly. I tend to do my makeup in at my kitchen table near a window, or in a bathroom with bright lighting. As long as you have a mirror and natural light, you should be good to go!

3. Use the right products

This can vary from different skin tones, textures, types, etc. Everybody has a different combination of products that works effortlessly for their skin. This can be achieved by the process of trial and error, but once you find that stellar combination, nothing out there will be able to beat it!

While playing in loud eyeshadow colors and sharp contour lines can be fun every now and then, natural beauty is key for an everyday look. Bringing out your inner glow with a touch of makeup can boost your confidence through the roof.

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