When I was younger, I always considered my Kayumanggi skin as a flaw. I hated my skin color so much, to the point where I avoided going out of our house in my hopes to lighten my skin. I used pile up whitening filters on my photos to hide my brown skin and convince myself that everything would be better if I had lighter skin.
As a kid back then, I had this feeling of being an outcast because of my skin color. I even used whitening lotions because I thought having fair skin would make me feel more accepted in our society.
Growing up with this insecurity was hard. I always felt inferior and unnoticed compared to my classmates who have fairer skin. I was also given names like “neg-neg” or “tuling” that absolutely punch a whole in my heart but eventually became like a “normal” thing.
I had big dreams when I was younger: to be an actress, model, or a beauty queen. I always practiced poses and did a little runway walk in front of our mirror but I stopped when I realized that I am too dark for these dreams.
I even dreamt of joining school pageants but I was never a part of the class representatives, again, maybe because of my skin color and my height. That time, I wondered why people were boxing me out. I started questioning myself and hated my skin color more because of the opportunities I missed.
One day, while I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a feature video of Asia Jackson, model and actress, about Colorism and the #MagandangMorenx movement she started. I could still remember the feeling of validation and acceptance I felt when I was watching that video. I realized that I was not alone in this battle with myself and the society– and that made me feel empowered.
I started to join the #MagandangMorenx movement and I started to embrace my Kayumanggi skin more. This became my breakthrough of finally accepting my skin color and seeing the importance of it.
I started wearing bright-colored clothes, threw out all my whitening products, loved the sun once again, and had the power to say: “There’s nothing wrong with my Kayumanggi skin.”
Now, it has been five years since I started to celebrate my Kayumanggi skin. I hope that no more children will go through the phase I went through. It’s 2022 and it’s about time to break beauty standards set by our society.
*Featured photo courtesy to Ish Tablante.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ysa Tolentino is a fourth-year AB Communication student at the Angeles University Foundation. She loves telling stories, coloring, and taking care of her two pet hamsters named Snow and Butter. Being the youngest in her family, she remains to be a kid-at-heart and princess in their home. Ysa is a proud morena and she believes brown is also beautiful.