Please, THIS Is Totally Getting- T-I-R-E-D!
We Black women, especially those of us on the darker side of the color spectrum, have heard this inane remark repeatedly. In the documentary DARK GIRLS, women discuss how their darker complexions negatively impacted on them. One of the women even remarked that people constantly stated that she was beautiful for a dark-skinned woman.
What? The insanity of it all! Dark skinned women are often viewed to be less attractive than their lighter skinned counterparts. Some dark skinned women feel as if they are left overs and/or insignificant non-entities. Even to this day, there are some dark skinned women who wish that they were lighter so they could feel more beautiful.
The model Alec Wec, one of the most beautiful women in the world, has been attacked for her looks and called ugly. Some of the most beautiful models and actresses are dark skinned e.g. Brenda Sykes, Gabriel Union, Judy Pace, the late Naomi Sims, Naomi Campbell, and Kenya Moore. C'mon now!
I remember in my elementary and junior school, one girl was mercilessly teased because she was extremely dark-skinned. I also remembered one classmate stating that all the girls were attractive with the exception of her. Throughout elementary and junior high school, no boy would look at her and constantly mocked her. One boy even called her ugly because of her extremely dark skin!
Well, news flash, skin tone and beauty are mutually exclusive. Beauty is beauty regardless of skin tone. Light, dark, medium, medium dark, extremely dark- it DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT matter! What is your take on this?
You're right - beauty is beauty. I've never heard this comment concerning skin tone, but I've heard it concerning weight and age. In all cases, it's inappropriate because it suggests that the person "should be" less attractive due to those factors.
Excellent point! This issue has been occurring among people of color especially Blacks since the inception of this country. As a result of enslavement and the inculcation of the lighter is better premise, many dark skinned Blacks, particularly women, believe that they are not attractive. In some Black families, colorism is practiced which lighter members of the family are preferentially treated and deemed to be more attractive than its darker skinned members.
There was interim in the late 1960s to early 1970s that Black was beautiful and the darker skinned among us, particulary women, were deemed to be attractive. Darker skinned actresses such as Brenda Sykes and Judy Pace were in demand. However, there was a regression and there was the resurrection in the premise that lighter is better. This idea even persists presently with some rappers particulary L'il Wayne and Yung Berg denigrating the darker skinned woman as being ugly. Thank you for your response regarding this matter!
So true. I'm a big woman, and I've often been told I have a "pretty face." Of course, the underlying sentiment is that I have an ugly body. Like when someone with a nice bod and not-so-pretty face might hear that they have a great bod (with an ugly face).
Oh yes, I was constantly told that I have such a pretty face for a "fat" girl. I used to be upset about this but I have finally embraced my fullness. I feel you, habee!
Been there, girlfriend. I've lost 70 pounds, though, and if I continue losing, I guess I might hear that I look okay...for an old broad (54) with saggy skin.
Love those left-handed compliments!
Right, habee?!? With ya there, babe!
IMO, there are so many people who qualify any sort of compliment they pay to someone. I'm white. REALLY white. I've longed for all my life for a darker complexion, darker hair, dark eyes. WHY? Because my sister has all of that, and I've always thought she was so much more beautiful than I am. UNTIL the day I found out she'd had collagen injection in her lips because she wanted a mouth more like mine and got botox because she hated the wrinkles in her forehead. Wrinkles, btw, that I always found absolutely gorgeous because they gave her face such unique character, imo.
It's my opinion that people who qualify compliments do so because they themselves have some insecurities and want to be kind, while at the same time make themselves feel better by being certain that the person being complimented understands that while they may be attractive, the compliment giver is more so.
I have two rules. Seriously. When GIVING a compliment, never, ever qualify it. And, when receiving a compliment, say only thank you. No one who says you have pretty hair needs to know that you hate it. No one who likes your outfit needs to know it's 12 years old or that you bought it at the Salvation Army thrift store...lol
Lastly, I have a friend who taught me a lesson once about expressing complimentary sentiments. She said, "A compliment withheld is an insult." I've always liked the thought behind that statement.
We should be building each other up every chance we get - without qualification! It's not like we don't have enough going on in the world to beat us down.
Yep, me too. Back when I was about 20 years old, one of my cousins (who was a football hero jock type) told me I had a pretty face and needed to keep my boob size but I needed to lose some weight in my butt. Apparently my butt was too big for my boob size and my pretty face.
As with Howard, I've heard those "Praise you; slap you" comments in other contexts, too.
"You're pretty smart, for a girl! - that one makes me want to scream. Better to not say anything rather than give a 'compliment' and then qualify it with a put-down.
It is almost as if you are expected to apologize for being who you are.
Motown you are so right, I believe in "passing it forward".
I am white but tan very darkly if out enough in the sun. With my black hair when I was young I suppose I could have been mistaken for Hispanic or part African American. When I got older I got tired of bleeding into the shadows so I lightened my hair to a reddish brown. Now I have a different problem, well if it is truly a problem, I have vitiligo. It has reached my face. It seems odd not to be able to tan in those places anymore. I bring it up first so people don't think I have some disease they can catch.
My take on this when I saw the headline was, "What the heck? What bleepity jerk is saying something like that?"
i clicked on the link because I thought it was some troll posting an asinine post to get attention.
But no, it's just a record of the fact that racism is alive and well.
Is it any comfort that some of us melanin-challenged individuals get pretty steamed when we hear things like that, too?
And also, that many of us have broken away from our ancestors' prejudices enough that to us, people are people, and we may find a good-looking black person attractive, or an Asian, or Indian, or whatever the heck people happen to be, and sometimes dark skin is part of what MAKES them attractive?
We know. Some of us are not blind. (My paternal grandfather gave me a painful lesson in the ugliness of deep-seated bigotry when I was small, and I resolved never to be like him. Well, actually, I resolved to marry a black man to piss him off, but came to my senses later and realized that was a dumb reason to marry somebody.)
I am sorry there are still so many racist bullies like my grandfather out there, or, worse, idiots who think that making a racist remark like that is cute or funny or a compliment.
Oh no, it was posted by me, a medium brown complected Black woman who considers herself to be dark skinned. Dark skinned Black women have been so denigrated in this society. Dark skinned Black women were always considered to be less attractive and less feminine on the basis of their darker complexions. If a dark skinned Black woman is attractive and/or beautiful, it is often viewed as exclusive and an anomaly. It is if it is strange and weird for a dark skinned Black woman to be thus.
I remember at work a dark skinned Black coworker related that someone said that statement to her. I was totally nonplussed at how someone would make such an inane remark in this postmodern era. She, too, was totally incensed. I also have another story to tell. In junior high school, I was on an outing with two lighter skinned classmates, the boys went to them but ignored me! Yes, I know firsthand what it is like to be the "darker girl" in the scenario!
I sympathize with your viewpoint.
The problem is a result of the long history of white supremacist doctrines and standards of beauty in this country.
The whiter and lighter you were, generally speaking, the more beautiful and attractive you were perceived to be.
For centuries dark-skinned Africans and their descendants, enslaved in the U.S. and other slave trading countries were depicted as ugly unattractive beasts.
Just look at the early history of the movies in this country.
many of the early black actors were shown as unattractive buffoons.
Blackface entertainment was the most popular form of entertainment in the U.S. for decades.
For those who don't know. In this form of entertainment blacks had to appear as carricatures of themselves with black coal tar makeup covering their faces with big red or white lips painted over and around their real lips because white audiences would be affended if they were shown as other then they wanted to see them.
The point is that in early movies all of the glamorous women were white women: Jean Harlow, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe to name a few. They became the standard of beauty for women in this country including black women. These movie stars were beautiful and famous and most women wanted to look like them and be like them.
So black women started straigtening their hair with hot combs and chemically in emulation of them. Skin lighting using special skin lightening creams became very popular for the same reason. (This applies to black men in relation to white male movie stars also)
Lightner skins blacks were seen as more appealing and attractive than dark-skinned blacks and that's still going on today.
Just look at how many dark-skinned black women you see in rap videos those popular forms of young black enterainment.
What I've said doesn't do justice to the complexity, psychology and history of this subject. It would take way toooo long to detail it all.
I'm Just trying to throw a little light on the subject in answer to your question
Totally concur with you a multillion percent. Even today, lighter skinned Black actresses are more likely to be hired over their darker skinned counterparts because of their former's wider and more crossover appeal. Furthermore, they tend to be be given more positive roles whereas darker skinned Black actresses are given more stereotypical or urban roles.
Hired for more mainstreamed, less stereotyping roles. Seen as more affluent and glamorous.
Hired for more stereotypical roles and more urban roles i.e. films who have mass appeal to Black audiences. Seen as more ghetto and lower class.
The other one is, "You're really beautiful - for your age."
But, yes, you're spot on!
My best was when someone once turned to the blond next to me (about 15 years ago) and said, "You're really beautiful for a blond. Don' normally like blonds..."
Well it's a hangover from olden days I suppose, years ago the darker you were, the poorer you were as you must have been working in the fields. If you were pale, you were well off as you had others to work for you. This used to be the case in the UK too, people used to powder themselves to make themselves paler. Paler being more attractive has happened or is happening all over all over the world to everyone, black, white or yellow.
Now though most people want to look tanned, not pale. Black people have got a head start on them. Don't worry about it is my advice, you can't change your skin and why should you? Just crack open another beer and put your feet up.
People play guessing games about where I'm from when they see me. I've got long, black hair and brown skin, so they are always asking, "What nationality are you?" It is irritating, and it is also illegal when it comes to job interviews, but people do it all the time. I've had people say to me during a meal, "Sorry. We are out of papayas." I'm surprised they didn't ask me if I had my regular meal of balut and dog meat! If these remarks were meant to be humorous, I fail to see this. I've heard it all before, and those remarks are just plain annoying for me to hear. My parents are from the Philppines, but I was born in CaIifornia. You'd think people living in the melting pot of the United States wouldn't make such a big deal about the people who live here, but there will always be those who will mouth off before they think of what they are saying. The digs are always about the way a person looks. Thirty years ago, it was the tall, blue-eyed blondes like Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley who were tagged as "American beauties" by the media. It took decades to change all of this. I've met a lot of people over the years who easily put both feet in their mouths when it came to expressing their thoughts about anyone not meeting the "standards" of what they perceive as good looks and beauty. I've also learned to laugh at their stupidity and ignore them!
You are correct that it is illegal to ask a person's national origin during interviews. Even though beauty standards have changed, there is still the subconscious premise that lighter is better. Just look at women of color who are on top, most of them approximate the prevaling societal light skinned role model. Women of color who appear too ethnic have a harder time obtaining roles than their counterparts who appear less ethnic. Rappers are so fond of having light skinned women of color in their videos- it is extremely hard for dark skinned women of color to be hired for videos. Lighter skinned women of color are idolized and worshipped while the dark skinned counterparts are also denigrated and reviled as less than beautiful. Darker is seen as threatening and "less than."
It's called 'colonial mentality'. It's a sociological phenomenon that has been observed in those from a background where colonisation or enslavement have been a feature in their family history. The coloniser/ enslaver becomes the dominant social group, so their conventions, standards and values become the default, often supplanting those of the colonised or enslaved. So the standard for beauty becomes whatever is closest in appearance to those in the dominant social group. If the women in the dominant social group have straight hair and light skin (as is the case following U.S. and European imperialism) then straight hair and light skin will be considered the standard for female beauty by default. Modern imperialism through mass media and globalisation (cultural imperialism) have perpetuated this notion, by not showing black women in the context of beauty. E.g. how many black women appeared on the cover of Vogue in the 70s? This is one of the reasons (not the only one) some black women like to lighten their skin tone and straighten their hair. There is a certain aesthetic that's considered beautiful by default. That aesthetic is determined by whoever the dominant social group happens to be.
I noticed that myself gmwilliams, look at ebony. I thought how unfair. The only reason I can think of and it is a poor one is that a darker skinned person's features do not stand out as much. I have heard they are harder to photograph. I don't know, I am into landscapes, animals, etc.
It seems to be the opposite in white people, the darker the tan the better.
Arlene - even your last name can cause that sort of senseless comment or question. Years ago, a member of the military asked me, "What nationality are you?" My answer was, "American, of German descent."
I still get asked similar questions, but in recent years people couch it more in terms of the heritage of my name rather than my nationality.
For some reason, nobody ever mentions that I am follically challenged...
Marcy, my last name, Poma, is actually Italian for apple or pear. I have to laugh at that one because my dad farmed a pear orchard here in the Sacramento River Delta. Also, I figured that coming from the Northern Luzon barrio in the Philippines, my father is a descendant from one of many ships since Magellan. I am told that although the Spaniards conquered most of the world waaaaay back, a lot of those ships contained captains and sailors from Italy. All these men sailed under the Spanish flag. So is this where I get my passion from? Italy? My love for pasta? My yearning to visit Italy since I was a child? LOL! And you know what happened to poor Magellan in the Philippines! He never made it out of there. These days, like you, I say "American" when anyone asks. And I just happen to be Filipino.
Sadly remarks such as these are from a time period where minorities particularly Black people were made to feel inferior based on their skin color. It took Black people with Afros and pride to reverse the years of self hate for simply being Black in color.
Unfortunately I do think there are some people who makes these statements truly do not understand the damage they are causing because in their mind their view of minorities is perfectly acceptable.
THANK YOU! It is usually we Black people who say this to each other! The residues of colorism are still unfortunately present in the Black community!
That is a very strong statement.
Thousands of years ago, the white color was associated with brightness which was thought to come from the sun, the sun god. Black color was associated with darkness which was thought to come from the night when the bad spirits were “seen” or heard.
In many African societies, long before they made contact with the white people, the bride price paid to a girl was partly based on how “browner” the girl was. It's no wonder the black girl may want to have a lighter skin.
In the earlier days of the computer age, computers were meant to be for the mighty and powerful. During that period, the outer surfaces of most computers were made of cream white materials. Today, most computers have the outer surfaces made of black or dark materials. Why was it so?
And after came the colored print media and TV which kept on showing the “beautiful” girl to be a girl of that color that you may have seen in your television last night.
The truth is, beautiful girls can be spotted anywhere on planet earth regardless of skin color.
What people need is education so that they can be intelligent, civilized, clean, understanding, and accommodating.
Maybe I'm a foolish optimist, but I think it's changing. I just don't think it's changing very fast. The eternity of any given today weighs with the eternity of its yesterday, and so again looms a tomorrow with certainty to be much the same. At least for the individual. For a society change is possible, because societies have longer scope.
People exist in the trajectories upon which they began. The winds of change don't blow hard enough to alter the path of most, not much anyway. The influences of our childhood age with us, often only twenty or so years between generations (often living in the same house), and so the old ideas lead us through the course of our lives, still singing a tired song, even as the generations that slowly emerge behind us tell the old tune is moribund. We cannot escape the placement of ourselves in the continuum, the repetition of it, which is, on one hand passing quick, and on the other, so very, very slow.
I am all being and not a breeded racial, national or religious identity.
At some point, it'd be great if we could all see our fellow humans by what was inside their hearts instead of their outward appearance.
Or maybe it is just anything as an excuse to exploit others for personal gain, having nothing to begin.
I don't know why people can say those things.
Somebody told me, I like the color of your skin ... tan!!
And children always tell me, 'Hola' !!
I can understand Spanish, speak little of it.
I am Asian, Filipino descent.
or when they see me carrying my baby, they say "Is that your baby?". I just say yes, maybe they are thinking, why my baby is white, DUH. I am just thinking they didn't meant it. (both children and adults)
Don’t take it very seriously as its human nature.
When you belong to a minority or a weaker group, “Nature” will always want to program your mind to be extra sensitive of such statements such that you can almost certainly decode them before they are spoken.
Just reverse your situation and you see a white lady carrying a black baby in an African city, and people there will ignorantly ask, have you adopted that baby? She will most likely make fun out of that question.
Well, I think many of those children would not feel the same way today, and would take back their hurtful words if they could. Children are children regardless of how they are raised- anything that stands out will be attacked- just look at Lisa Simpson! Really though, anything in the minority among children will be put down by others. The pretty girls will be put down by the less pretty girls, the tall kids get picked on, etc etc.
As for adults it is completely insulting for someone to place a racial qualifier in front of compliments, but I think a lot of people don't realize it as they speak. And it's not usually out of bigotry but ignorance.
It doesn't excuse the behavior, but I think it does excuse part of the morality of it- it's better to lack empathy than to wish ill on someone.
Also, consider this element of that statement-
If every ethnicity has a 10% beautiful people rate, and if you live in an area as a minority ethnicity, the number of beautiful people of your ethnicity is likely to be far less than the number of beautiful people in the majority ethnicity ie 10% of 100 is only 10, but 10% of 1000 is 100.
It may be a lack of examples of beauty in an ethnicity that elicits that remark, rather than a meaning of "you are not beautiful, but you are beautiful for your color."
I don't look at it that way ANYMORE, but I certainly understand elements of it. I think beauty is not about color (except maybe the color of eyes and hair mixed with skin- color can accentuate beauty sometimes), but there is an element of complexion type to beauty. Some skin is a nicer type than others, regardless of color.
The lack of education and therefore racism is the consequence of such a behavior. Who can pretend to look at someone's exterior features in the U.S and pinpoint one's origins in spite of the multitude ethnic melting pot? I've never unterstood why suddenly in the 80's Black suddenly became beautiful, did it mean that before it was not? In matter of ethnicity, I am color blind! Personalities prevail!
LOL! Now I am reminded when the fair-skinned kids at my school would come back from a summer or ski vacation and hold their arms next to mine in comparison. When I was a kid, I always wondered what the big deal was when it came to getting a tan. Mine is permanently "built in," so why should I care? But people around me were knocking themselves out in order to get a tan. Years later, we find out about wrinkled skin and skin cancer due to too much sun exposure. LOL!
I'm a recluse. I "never leave my cave" as I am always described. I am constantly ridiculed for my "frog belly white" skin. If I go swimming, which I rarely, if ever do, people laugh and shield their eyes and make a big noisy show of letting me know how blindingly bright I am. Then they wonder why I never go swimming with them. I realize it's hardly the same as being born into a history of total denigration and institutionalized "otherness" but it is a tiny taste of what it's like to feel shame for things over which you have no control. Mainly just a sad commentary on the nature of humanity. I suppose as a species we can hardly escape it any more than we can escape our skins as individuals.
Personally, I've never been referred to as "a pretty girl" nor has anyone ever said that I have a "great body" As a woman who is just over 5ft 1 and currently 8 stone (used to be 7 stone though) I have been told that I'm "dainty, petite, a little doll, delicate, a princess" You have no idea how much remarks like that P*** me off. In fact, I'm a woman who has spent most of my life working in male dominated professions. I've worked in the largest, male, double cat A, high security prison in the UK. You have no idea how male prison officers attempted to treated me. Apparently, I was a bit of of a joke.
When the other workers did the control and restraint course, I was deemed "to small" so they shoved me in a padded room with two pumped up security officers for a "break away" course. They spent most of the training laughing at me and flinging me around at will.
Shortly after that a prisoner became somewhat obsessed with me. After his release he started to watch me as I left the prison. He obtained a car and followed me home (not that I knew it at the time) One night, he decided, after I pulled up at my local shop (it was dark) that he'd attempt to jump me from behind (this man had real issues with women, especially women that took no s*** from him.) Ever heard that song "I'm still standing?" Well, trust me, he wasn't. A swift knee cap in the gonads and my house keys in his right eye. Say no more.
I see these comments that are being made as more than a racial issue, but a gender issue too. We're all supposed to conform to what a white, middle aged, middle class man defines as beautiful. It's not always about our looks, build, race but about our attitude, too. They especially need to trim that.
Well at least now the movement to get everyone to hate white, middle-aged, middle-class males has several decades of momentum and a racial/gender identifier phrase that rolls right off the tongue.
Equality proponent 1: "Hey, hey, don't identify me by my race or my gender, that's wrong!"
Equality proponent 2: "Yeah, don't do that. That's what white, middle-aged, middle-class males do! Down with THEM!!!"
No, not all white middle aged, middle class men. And besides, middle class men in the US are not stratified the same way as middle class men in the UK. There's a massive difference.
My post wasn't about hating anyone, but about recognising where particular attitudes might originate. You might not agree, but you haven't lived my life or the lives of other women, you can only try to understand my life in the way I can only try to understand yours. I don't believe that ALL men behave this way, but there are men, who, undeniably, want to control. Old feminists like me have a saying "the personal is political" Certain attitudes stem from above, men can be cheated, too.
Being Asian, and dating after my divorce (I was 40), I could not believe it. The "competition" came in the form of women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. There were a couple of men who mentioned that the ex was a Filipina. So, did they want a replacement? A Stepford Wife? I sent one back to his so-called former girlfriend. The other one was trying to divorce his mail order bride in the Philippines, who left him right after they said their vows. He thought he had it easy with this woman, but she was much trouble than she was worth! LOL!
As for hating the white, middle-aged males, don't look at me. It's just that you have to be very careful around people when it comes to what you do or say. I wasn't put on Earth to bring heartache to anyone, but sometimes my honesty is too much for some folk. So, what can you do other than offer an apology or tell them to get over themselves???
If you think you're wrong, you can apologise, if you're sure that you're not...
My honesty gets me in to a lot of trouble, too.
Eh, it matters what you choose to apply your honesty to- you can be honest about your date or about the weather- youre still being honest, but one thing crushes a person and the other not so much.
Sometimes i think people want to be brutal more than they want to be honest, because the honesty claim is always about something negative? Is that really so true? When being honest the only possible outcome is something negative? I dont believe that. I think its fallacious to assume that honesty means stating hurtful things. Also, i think no matter how honest you are, there is something you are being dishonest about (in a super literal way).
If someone in the kkk was being honest about dating in a different ethnicity it isnt ok- so homesty in itself isnt an excuse for saying hurtful things.
I like talking stuff like this, i hope y'all do to! Dont take my disagreement as an attack plz!
Ah, Hollie. Can we just chalk it up that the world is not ready for women who take charge of their lives? LOL! I suppose everything mentioned here is all about growth. Take the good. Leave the rest behind. Yeah. Anytime a woman is in a male-dominated career, you have to work much harder. But if you are working with assholes who won't change their way of thinking when it comes to women as co-workers or the boss, you have to find ways to work around them. I don't kiss ass, and I don't ride legs or "spread for bread." But I've worked with women who did nothing but that for a promotion.
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