Our Dark (Skin) Reality

My skin tone isn’t just a trending topic; it’s my reality — a mindset and culture we need to truly see…

“Joke lang naman eh. ‘Di ka na mabiro.”

If you’ve lived the life of a dark-skinned Filipina, you wouldn’t need to be #woke just now because of these viral whitening products’ ads getting backlash. These are just one of my many realities; I was born with this beautiful skin color but it’s what my very own society used to cause me and other dark-skinned girls pain.

Sana aware ka. Sana aware ka na. Sana aware ka na nakakasakit ka. Totoo naman eh, marami pa rin ang nalalait araw-araw sa pagiging maitim.

Yet it’s a collective effort putting us down. Some bits can sting, some we can ignore… but some can destroy.

When you joke for us to use an umbrella so we wouldn’t get darker, criticize a celebrity for not looking beautiful enough like the mestiza ones, say a dark-skinned girl is pretty because “pantay naman ang kulay niya”, when you call us names (like getting called “neggy” or “Binay” at work), when you give a snide remark against us wearing bold colors, or when you joke that you can’t see us in the dark, when someone asks you if a girl is pretty and you say, “Oo, maputi siya.” (heard this too many times); you have started to make us feel ugly.

When, growing up, almost all commercial models for beauty products and majority of our celebrities are fair-skinned.

When we see that most dark-skinned actors and actresses are marketed as comedians in show business.

When we laugh at jokes poking fun at people with dark skin.

Progress

Despite this, I appreciate change. I’m happy to be represented more now. Thank you to all our morena/kayumanggi/brown/dark-skinned beauty pageant winners, our beautiful morena celebrities/actresses, our local makeup/beauty brands advocating appreciation for morena/dark skin, and social media for raising more awareness.

Veteran actress Tetchie Agbayani, with her gorgeous bronze skin, graced several local and international magazine covers back in the 80s

More of this…more of you…more people speaking up…more brown/dark skin pride, please!

Bodaciously brown! Ms. Universe-Philippines Venus Raj does the catwalk during the Ms. Universe pageant.

A lot are speaking up now, but please don’t let this just be a trending topic. Please do something to contribute to change. Please help the dark-skinned/morena kids today develop their confidence and appreciation for their skin tone through your words and actions.

Award-winning Filipino actress Alessandra De Rossi exudes confidence in her beautiful brown skin

And I hope you are sincere, that you aren’t just joining the bandwagon.

Be that society that loves its own people. Don’t let other nations keep appreciating us more than our own does.

Matagal na nating naririnig na maganda ang mga maputi. Sana simulan o tuloy-tuloy o lalo pang makita niyo ang ganda ng kayumanggi.