Beauty gleams in unexpected places, but its effulgence turns to tawdry glitter when it is shaped and squeezed into form-fitting frames. Rigid ideas of what is beautiful or desirable can reinforce oppressive structures. However, when these concepts are more flexible they can be subversive as well.
Bleaching syndrome is not a superficial fashion, it’s a strategy of assimilating a superior identity that reflects a deep-set belief that fair skin is better, more powerful, prettier. And it’s not limited to India; skin bleaching is also common in the rest of Asia and in Africa.
I have been the overprotective patriarch and now it is time for me to find solidarity with my sister who will go through myriad experiences. I need to be there to support her while at the same time make her question her decisions rather than being a judgmental feminist.
Today I do not know whether I want to grow out my hair or keep it short; I am just trying to breathe and be in the moment. To enjoy the journey rather than worrying, and waiting for the destination!
The nature of the labor that goes into performing femininity is that it’s invisible. Or at least it’s supposed to be. As a culture, we expect women to look glossy and shimmery and smooth. We don’t want to know about the time and money that goes into this presentation.
But a few days before her historic Oscar win (for the first movie she’s ever been in!) Lupita accepted an award for Best Breakthrough Performance at the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon hosted by Essence magazine. It was there she delivered a speech on beauty that every little girl should hear.
Do you love your eyes and hate your knees? Or do you sometimes wish your XXX were different? Replace XXX with any body part of your choice. We have all been there – griping, never satisfied, and never owning our own beauty. How do we perceive and evaluate our own bodies? What do we love? What do we loathe? And why?