I’ve writ­ten about col­orism twice this week (read HERE and HERE), and after read­ing some of the com­ments on the­se posts, I feel com­pelled to to write this post.

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I’m not going to dive into the his­to­ry of col­orism, but if you want to learn a thing or two about it click HERE. What I will do is dis­cuss the respons­es I’ve got­ten to the posts I’ve shared. They go a lit­tle some­thing like this:

  • “Why are dark skin girls always mak­ing a thing of this?”
  • “I’m sor­ry your moth­er nev­er taught you to love your­self. It starts at home
  • “When I was younger I wish I had dark skin. Dark skin is beau­ti­ful”
  • “You are so beau­ti­ful. I’m sor­ry you felt that way.”
  • “I love my choco­late skin, I don’t know what you’re talk­ing about. I’ve always loved it.”
  • “I have two choco­late grand-babies and they are the cutest ever.”

Sigh

Let me make this as clear as pos­si­ble: Beau­ty is sub­jec­tive and beau­ty is shal­low. When dark skin wom­en dis­cuss Col­orism, it is not meant as an invi­ta­tion for you or any­one else to then share how beau­ti­ful dark skin wom­en are, or how you’ve always loved “choco­late skin.”  We are not food. And frankly, beau­ty or per­ceived beau­ty doesn’t mean any­thing in our day-to-day lives. In short, talk is cheap.

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OUFIT DETAILS

Skirt: Buy HERE. Purse: Buy HERE. Turtleneck: Buy HERE. Jacket (similar): Buy HERE. Necklace: buy HERE.

If you trust­ed social media, you might pre­sume that dark skin has always been cel­e­brat­ed. The num­ber of “melanin”-themed t-shirts and hash­tags go up by the day, but real-talk? All of that is fluff.  One of the rea­sons I’ve tak­en sev­er­al steps back from cre­at­ing beau­ty-themed videos on Youtube is because I’ve found that in order for a wom­an who looks like me to get a frac­tion of the views and oppor­tu­ni­ties, I would have to be damn near excep­tion­al. I would have to be the Lupi­ta or the Naomi Camp­bell of Youtube. Who can be both­ered? Not me. And I’m not blam­ing it on beau­ty com­pa­nies or white peo­ple (entire­ly). I’m blam­ing some of it on us.  When it comes to beau­ty, there exists a stan­dard to which many brown wom­en aspire. They want looser curls and lighter skin.  Rather than watch and sup­port the wom­en who look like them, they watch wom­en with fea­tures and hair that is not like their own.

Feel free to count me amongst the guilty because I sure did find myself watch­ing Mahogany Curls and Taren Guy videos when my hair was longer.  Whether or not we want to admit it, some­where dur­ing the course of our lives how we view our­selves begins to get screwed up by how soci­ety views us. And this isn’t an issue of “lack of self-love” or not hav­ing been taught to love our­selves at home. Most par­ents aren’t run­ning around teach­ing their dark skin daugh­ters that they are ugly. We do love our­selves. It is the out­side world that tells dark skin wom­en that they are less valu­able than their lighter skinned coun­ter­parts, and that is the issue.

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I do not need to be told I am beau­ti­ful. Chil­dren do, per­haps, but most adult dark skin wom­en aren’t hung up on our looks.   What we rail again­st is society’s insis­tence that dark skin is not accept­able, and that we don’t deserve to be seen and heard just as much as oth­er wom­en. That we are so down­trod­den, that when one Lupi­ta is hailed as the most glo­ri­ous dark skin wom­an on earth, we should all bow down in grat­i­tude. Make no mis­take, I love me some Lupi­ta; how­ev­er, folks act like she’s the sec­ond-com­ing for dark skin wom­en.

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Ulti­mate­ly, the answer to col­orism isn’t just about cel­e­brat­ing beau­ty, as beau­ty is sub­jec­tive and beau­ty is fleet­ing. Not every dark skin wom­an has skin that flecks with gold. We aren’t all  Nubian God­dess­es. We are more than our looks, and that’s what we want the world to cel­e­brate.  Nor­mal­iz­ing dark skin, for me, is one of the pri­ma­ry ways we can com­bat col­orism. Telling me I’m beau­ti­ful or have the most beau­ti­ful skin you’ve ever seen sim­ply triv­i­al­izes an issue that goes beyond beau­ty.
If you Like this Post check out this post HERE, HERE,  or HERE.

If you like my hair, check out how I created this style below:

I’m a Lip­stick-obsessed Jour­nal­ist and Fash­ion Blog­ger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube chan­nel swatch­ing lip­pies and strut­ting around in 5-inch heels. I’m a also a brand coach, spe­cial­iz­ing in video mar­ket­ing and dig­i­tal brand devel­op­ment. Find me @lisaalamode.

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20 Comments on "Telling Dark Skinned Women They are Beautiful is Not the Answer to Colorism"

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Glamslinky

Why do some black wom­en get to glo­ri­fy in their quest to look white wom­en (straight­ened hair and/or wigs, blue or light­ened con­tacts, bleached skin), yet when a white wom­an wants to look black or iden­ti­fy with black­ness (and no, not HER) there is an uproar. From a social stand­point, I am inter­est­ed to know what peo­ple think.

Loveothers4ever

Sim­ple answer, not only white peo­ple have straight hair, blow dry curly hair and its straighter, also his­tor­i­cal­ly black hair was dis­crim­i­nat­ed again­st by whites and even now chil­dren are thrown out of school for wear­ing nat­u­ral hair. AA were brain­washed to believe their hair is bad. When has that hap­pened to a white per­son?

Glamslinky

First, you didn’t answer my ques­tion. My orig­i­nal ques­tion was not about why black wom­en are dis­crim­i­nat­ed again­st for their nat­u­ral hair. Sec­ond, Google “Chenise Ben­son sent home from school”.

Loveothers4ever

You asked what peo­ple think and you got an answer. Google the word OPINION. Lesson for the day: Stop being con­de­scend­ing, you reap what you sow.

Glamslinky

I wasn’t ask­ing for an opin­ion. I was ask­ing why white wom­en are con­demned for wear­ing black hair­styles, but black wom­en aren’t con­demned for wear­ing styles that are Cau­casian, or not of their nat­u­ral hair. As far as being con­de­scend­ing, I think you missed your mark. Either answer the ques­tion, or say noth­ing at all.

SupaBlackGirl
Actu­al­ly, she did answer your ques­tion. Black wom­en get pos­i­tive rein­force­ment from soci­ety for adopt­ing a euro­cen­tric appear­ance by get­ting the very tools they need to sur­vive & thrive. The more “eth­nic” they look, the less love, atten­tion, resources, and oppor­tu­ni­ties they get hand­ed to them. The closer they get to white, the smoother the ride. Go look up the his­to­ry of “pass­ing” to get that more in depth. White wom­en get scorn because for them it holds lit­tle to no mean­ing. When we wear our hair tex­tures, styles, embrace our cul­ture and skin tone, Black wom­en (along with most P.O.C.)… Read more »
Loveothers4ever

Thank you! great points made here.

Interested

I’m in a nat­u­ral hair group and prac­ti­cal­ly every hair relat­ed dis­cus­sion is about shrink­age, stretch­ing the hair and achiev­ing looser curls, that to me is the oppo­site of embrac­ing the nat­u­ral self. And the crit­i­cisms on that site sur­round­ing a black, black guy, peo­ple for­get the diver­si­ty of colour and the fact that a lot of black peo­ple are dark with tight hair.

Nunya Bizness

Shrink­age to me has nev­er been about achiev­ing a looser curl. I like to have my hair as big and full as pos­si­ble when in a afro or in a half up/half down style. Shrink­age inter­fer­es with this.

Interested

But I think there is a strong per­cep­tion that hair has to be long to be fem­i­nine, and long in a Cau­casian way.

Sabrina black

I over stand. I will share this. It’s worth the read. I look up to wom­en who look like me. I’ve been doing that.

Camille
One of the most pow­er­ful things I’ve done as a black wom­an is to stop buy­ing cos­met­ics from brands that don’t car­ry my foun­da­tion col­or or use black wom­en in their ads. I dont buy Tressem­me even, because there are no ads with a black wom­an despite how many nat­u­rals love their prod­ucts. You can’t force oth­ers to include you but you don’t have to pay for them to exclude you. I think com­pa­nies that only have white foun­da­tion col­ors are doing it more delib­er­ate­ly than it may appear. Its hard to not just pick up a lip­stick or mas­cara… Read more »
justtwo post

YES

Jame

Here are a few thoughts: have ful­ly formed female char­ac­ters in enter­tain­ment with dark skinned. Hav­ing make­up choic­es. Have few­er light wom­en rep­re­sent every black char­ac­ter on TV. And may­be we will start mak­ing some pro­gress.

TWA4now

True real beau­ty is an. Inside job.

aiych

Very true…it seems more like dark skinned wom­en are being fetishized and sex­u­al­ized. It reminds me of how white peo­ple will come up to me and gush over my nat­u­ral hair and com­pli­ment it, which is fine and dandy, but they would lose their minds if they woke up one day with an afro like mine. It’s lip ser­vice.

cth4GiG

First I was like, omg here it is again. Then I read through the post and got this-“Normalizing dark skin, for me, is one of the pri­ma­ry ways we can com­bat col­orism.” Enough said. Dark skin is not an extreme to be reck­oned with rather it’s a part of His cre­ation, as oth­er tones.

Esha Fowlin

You are so right. We have been trained to idol­ize wor­ship and sup­port wom­en who do not look like us. Per­son­al­ly i have been try­ing to change that, i am look­ing for wom­en who look like me to tell me about fash­ion beau­ty even music because unfor­tu­nate­ly its that deep. Dark skin wont get any real love or recog­ni­tion unless we sup­port dark skin in the pop­u­lar cul­ture.

Ugo

I’m so glad you said this. In this euro­cen­tric par­a­digm that we’re liv­ing in, I make it a point to cre­ate a world of dark skinned, broad-fea­tured images around me. It’s affirm­ing. In the same way we’ve been con­di­tioned to wor­ship light skin, we can be con­di­tioned to wor­ship dark skin. The more i retrain myself, the less I care about society’s train­ing.

cth4GiG

My mind melts at the site of dark skin. I wrote in anoth­er post about my black, black (yeah he deserves two) hub­by whom I am just in awe of. I am so cap­ti­vat­ed and charmed by dark skin men, wom­en, and chil­dren. The same sub­jects that made light­ness a com­mon­al­i­ty cringes at the thought of too white and too dark. So skin tone was placed in a box and nor­mal­ized. It doesn’t mat­ter what the com­mon mind­ed sees, it is not our choice to decide if the next man -wom­an is beau­ti­ful or not.

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