#MagandangMorenx: Celebrating Our Brown Skin

#MagandangMorenx: Celebrating Our Brown Skin

Screw Eurocentric beauty standards.

Colorism-- when people with lighter skin are favored or treated better than people with darker skin-- is an issue in various ethnicities and cultures. For many cultures, colorism stems from Eurocentric beauty standards imposed on a minority by a European or White colonizer. The Philippines was colonized by Spain from 1521 to 1898, then by the United States from 1898 to 1946. One of the long-lasting effects of colonization is colorism, which is especially apparent in mainstream Filipino media. Many TV personalities are light skinned. There are advertisements for skin lightening creams. Dark skinned people in the media are often poor folk on the news or TV personalities made to be the butt of the jokes.

Since I am Black and Filipina, my skin is darker than my Filipino relatives' skin. In the summer, people often say to me, "Don't spend too much time outside. You don't want to get darker." Sometimes people tell me they were able to guess that I'm Black and Filipina because, according to them, I look Filipina but I'm too dark and my hair is too curly for me to be full Filipina. In college, white men* have told me that they would like me better or would consider dating me if my skin was lighter. If they're not criticizing the brownness of my skin, they try to compliment me by saying, "Your skin tone is better than other black girls'.** It's so... exotic." (Hint: this is not a compliment in the slightest.)

I'm definitely not the only person that's experienced this. In order to combat the colorism in the Filipinx community, Asia Jackson (@aasian), a Black and Filipina actress, model, and vlogger based in Los Angeles, created the hashtag #MagandangMorenx on Twitter. Moreno/a-- an 'x' is used in the hashtag to include everyone on the gender spectrum-- is a Tagalog word for people with dark, brown skin. "Magandang morenx" means "beautiful brown skin." As Jackson notes, it is not uncommon for Filipinx people to have naturally brown skin because the Philippines is located in a tropical region of the southeast Pacific. Rather than encouraging people to adhere to the Eurocentric beauty standards that praise light skin, Jackson created #MagandangMorenx to "empower, reclaim, and redefine what it means to be a Filipino and to celebrate our diversity of color."

["@xdelaaa: Slowly had to learn that I' didn't need fair skin to feel pretty. #MagandangMorenx"]

["@eb0nyy: because brown skin and curly hair doesn't make me any less of a filipina #Magandang Morenx #Cebu]

["@josephilos: I can't imagine myself without brown skin but I do know how to work it with all types of different hairstyles #MagandangMorenx]

["@aclbso: it took a long while for me to love myself, and i'm honestly still working on it, but i'm getting there; truuuust #MagandangMorenx"]

#MagandangMorenx is a beautiful hashtag full of people with a wide range of skin tones. There isn't much representation of dark skinned Filipinx people in the media, and this hashtag shows just a glimpse of the diversity in the Filipinx community. It challenges the Eurocentric beauty standards imposed on Filipinx people and many other ethnicities as well. Like many others, I'm still learning to love my skin but I'm proud of every bit of melanin.

*Note: I have only experienced this with white men. Please don't comment "It's not just white men!" or "Women do it too!" or anything of that sort. In this sentence, I'm writing about my own personal experience.

**Look for a future article I'm going to write about how I've dealt with fetishization, both Filipino and Black beauty standards, and the conflict I feel as a person of mixed race!

Cover Image Credit: Dominique Reliford

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

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 semi-colon 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 in to 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 & 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 glyphs 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 & the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can reminds us of the inconsistency of life. It is 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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Makeup Changed My Life, It's My Ultimate Stress-Reliever

Makeup is my stress-reliever, and no one can change that.


My journey started in 2015. I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I was heartbroken. I felt incompetent to most girls. At the time, I thought a new makeover wouldn't help me at all, but my mother had other ideas. She thought it was a brilliant idea for me to use makeup. I never used makeup before, and I was kind of scared of using it too. Makeup was sort of like a taboo really. In 2015, everyone in my high school thought that if a girl wore makeup at school, it was because they wanted to impress someone, which automatically made it look like she was trying hard. I did not want to look like "that" girl. I tried to explain that to my mom, but she insisted not to worry about it.

My mom brought me to Sephora for the first time, and I was in awe. There were so many things to choose from. It was overwhelming, to say the least. My first ever foundation was the SmashBox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation. In all honesty, it wasn't the best foundation, but I was in love with it at the time. I only bought the essentials that day. Throughout the entire day, I was really contemplating whether this was still the right idea. I was at my lowest point, and I wanted to change that. In my mind, I didn't know if it was going to change anything, but it was a worth a shot. This day marked the day that I would become a better person.

I should've bought more if I knew I was going to end up wearing makeup almost every day. It was a growing obsession. I started to watch YouTube Videos on how to take care of my skin and what products would help my skin. I started to create different looks with all the eyeshadow palettes I had and started to buy more. No one could stop me from doing it. Things were looking bright, and I couldn't be any happier. But there was a downside to all of this.

I started to get side comment from girls in the bathroom saying things like makeup made my face worse or it wasn't going to change a thing. I ignored them, but it did make me want to quit. I really started to believe what they said, but my friend motivated me to continue. That same day, she went to buy her first foundation and eyeshadow palette. She said I was the reason why she bought that. She saw a big impact makeup had on me, and she wanted to feel the same thing.

Makeup really brought out a new side of me. Over time, I improved my skills and began to use them on other people. It's a great experience to get someone to see their true beauty and to see another side of them they've never seen before. That's what makes me feel accomplished. My self-esteem increased drastically, and I eventually did become more myself again. Makeup shouldn't hide our insecurities, but rather enhance our beauty. Makeup shows my creative side in ways that I didn't know I could showcase. Makeup is my outlet for stress and imagination. My journey as a makeup artist is just beginning, and there's no stopping.

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