Beauty, Assault, and (Self) Love

“Women are faced with a constant barrage of advertisements every day and the subliminal messages that come with this visual assault. These messages are influenced by years of sexism and oversexualization in the media, and shape the actions of female consumers*”

Cited from an interesting research I read today and I feel like I cannot agree more. Media and culture have been constantly manipulating our perspective about ideal beauty standards, like physical desirability.

Growing up watching commercials defined beauty standards by making physical indicators (like skin tone, body shape, height, etc) as a form of assault, while attacking a woman’s self esteem who genetically does not  fit the standard. It is deeply effecting MY self esteem, a woman who born with dark skin.

Personally, I think whitening product itself is understating the beauty of dark skinned women. The “before and after” images in skin whitening commercials are indirectly saying that woman with darker skin does not fit into the ideal beauty standards. “Dark skin needs to be repaired by using whitening products”. And having white skin is one of our culture’s definition of beauty (at least in my country).

So, that is why I have been struggling with these insecurities since I was little. But slowly I’m starting to realize that “embracing it” is actually much easier than “covering it up”. So now, I bow to no beauty standards. My thoughts may be controlled by culture and media, but I choose to respond based on my own choice and I choose self love.