Can We Love Our Skin?
I’m amazed that we are in the 21st century and colorism is still a thing.
Worse yet, many have nagging voices in their heads (and in their friend group) that adopt the negative messages the world is telling us about our beauty and worth as people-of-color. I am light brown. My husband is dark brown. (In his own words, “delicious dark brown.”) Anyway…
I still remember a family member meeting my husband for the first time (before we were married) and then pulling me aside and saying, “You know, he’s dark”. I said, “Yes, and?” The family member doubled-down and said, “Very, very dark”.
This was said to try to get me to see my husband-to-be differently. As if he were lesser (or someone lighter skinned would be better!) because of his skin color.
I told that family member that they didn’t have a problem with my husband. They had a problem with me. I also encouraged them, if they felt particularly brave, to share their thoughts with my husband.
The family member apologized profusely and claimed that they were not trying to say what they were definitely saying! And, they never approached my husband about the subject. That might have become the original “Mess around and find out” moment!
This family member's words had no impact on my relationship with my husband, but I was shocked to learn that I had a family member who was so incredibly ignorant, full of self-hate, and full of bias based on skin color. (The “More You Know,” Right?)
Negative messages like this can seem to surround us – trying to make us, our loved ones, our children… feel less beautiful and not worthy because of the color of our skin.
6 Ways We Can Love Our Skin
Here are 6 ways we can move forward with love for our skin – even in the face of subtle - and not so subtle - affronts.
- Defy colorism
In a world where colorism exists, we need to actively defy it. Celebrate the beauty of your skin and refuse to let biases dictate how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself. This includes calling out ignorant friends and family members on views that promote colorism.
- Seek out diverse narratives
Seek out products, content, stories, news, media, and music that counteract narratives that too often depict people-of-color as less-than.
- Educate others
It gets old having to be the voice for people-of-color at work and in your social circles. Having said that, if we don’t speak up and educate those we interact with, we allow colorism to continue to poison society and harm us. Spark conversations that challenge colorism. You may also wish to consciously promote the celebration of all skin tones.
- Foster your mental well-being
Prioritize your mental health and well-being. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in and encourage you. Also, practice meditation to relieve stress and calm your mind.
- Affirm yourself unconditionally
Every day, reaffirm your beauty and worthiness. Speak words of affirmation to yourself, acknowledging and celebrating you and the skin you’re in.
- Establish a skin care routine with self-love
Craft a skin care routine that embraces and nourishes your skin. Understand your skin’s unique needs and use skin care products that nurture your skin and were made to actually work for your skin. (Most skin care products are not made to actually work best on your skin.)
At Beauty Of the Nile, we believe what research has shown. That is:
“If the skin care product was not made for your skin, it probably won’t work for your skin.”
In truth, women-of-color have the power to redefine beauty standards and foster a profound love for all of our skin shades. By actively embracing our skin tones, supporting inclusive narratives, encouraging self-love, rejecting the pervasive self-hatred that is skin-lightening, and rebutting colorism whenever it rears its ugly head, we create a society that celebrates the beauty of visual diversity.
This is why we at Beauty Of The Nile say, “Love Your Brown Skin!”