Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When I look in the mirror...

(I came across this video via Naturally Leslie. I wish I could say that I found the video shocking, but unfortunately I can't. Its no secret Black people, and many other POC struggle to accept themselves with the features that they were born with. Warning: the video is extremely graphic in nature. If you have a weak stomach or squirm at the sight of blood, you may want to close your eyes like I did at certain parts.)

I had a very interesting conversation with my roommate the other night. It would seem she is not entirely secure with her Japanese features. I've noticed other quirks about her, which I chalked up to differing cultural aesthetics: the whitening face scrub sitting in the shower being one of those said quirks (looking at it every time I shower makes me somehow very uncomfortable, despite the fact its none of my business). However, pale skin was not what we discussed, rather it was her "too small" eyes. She felt Asian eyes were not as attractive because they weren't big enough. She even went on to discuss how some people (other than herself) even sometimes have eyes which are monolid (stating this fact as if it were proof of the inferiority of the Asian eye).

To be honest, I had thought her eyes were monolid, but apparently they're not. Hell, my eyes are damn near close to being monolid, but I think my eyes are fantastic! Her statement reminded me of this dude I dated awhile back. I must have accidentally called him dark skinned, which he promptly corrected by informing me that he was actually brown skinned. He was pretty much the exact same colour as I am. I guess I can accept that my skin tone could be considered brown, but I'm sure as hell not going to be offended if someone refers to me as dark. Needless to say, the relationship went nowhere, probably because obvious displays of insecurity are a complete turn off (that and I found out he was lying to his friends about getting in my panties - something he was only ever able to dream about).

To be fair, I actually love my roommate, and think that she is a fairly down-to-earth and grounded individual, plus I definitely have my own insecurities. I have nose issues. I go through periods of time when I despise it. I obsess about it, if it looks to big or broad in a picture. I have even considered getting it done, but have come to the resolve that the idea of having a nose I wasn't born with is just obscene and incredibly arrogant, so plastic surgery could never be a thought I could seriously entertain for very long before coming to my senses. I'm also very critical of other peoples noses, which is stupid, and incredibly shallow and insecure on my part but sometimes I just can't help it.

It probably started when I was 13, at least I don't remember having issues with my nose before than. A group of older white boys felt compelled to harass me one day after school. I had recently shaved my head (I was a rebellious kid, what can I say) and I can only guess that my rejection of a stereotypical female appearance encouraged them to beat on me, and berate me with epithets, including pointing out how big my nose was.

As painful as this memory should be, surprisingly it isn't. In fact, I only remembered it having watched the video. All the people profiled had a history of being teased, or harassed in their (sometimes not so) distant past. It was obvious this was what contributed to their overly damaged self-esteem. So why did it seemingly destroy them, but not me, or for that matter my roommate?

Its sad, because at one point during the film, Jet (she actually goes by the full name Jet her. The woman has far more issues than whats mentioned in the video) actually comes to her senses for a brief moment after her surgery. She expresses regret for having gotten her nose done. Of course the next day she seems to be over it, but I wonder if that regret ever really went away.

I think loving yourself is one of the greatest gifts one can give to themselves. It isn't always easy, but in the end it is worth it. Wearing my hair naturally has contributed immensely to my well being. I've never felt so beautiful just being myself. I have days when I don't like the reflection staring back at me in the mirror, but I have more days when I do.

People go through all sorts of bullshit in life. Changing the superficial is such a band-aid fix. I can't help but think had the individuals in the documentary stopped and really considered their dilemmas for a moment longer, they would have seen that plastic surgery was not what was going to make them happy. The beauty ideal is so narrow, is there really anything wrong with being a different brand of beautiful?


LoveSupremeQueen said...

Thanks for following!! This same video compelled me to make a similar post.We all have our insecurities but I couldnt imagine it ever going as far as the people in the video. I remember at one point feeling self conscious about my nose aswell.Thankfully thats a thing of the past and I can truly say Im quite happy with myself!

BLACKkittenROAR said...

I just finished watching the other episode on your blog actually. Very interesting...but I'm not entirely sure that I buy into the notion that people featured simply wanted smaller breasts/larger breasts/to be taller simply because white people had those characteristics. I think it's unfair to say that whites have the beauty market cornered

eccentricyoruba said...

i loved reading this! i've had similar experiences with my nose. except in my case, i teased by other black kids because of my 'big' nose. i was even told (by 'my friends') to get surgery and not to smile because it made my nose look bigger!

i'm over my nose these days. to me it just looks normal and if i were to change it, i'd look very ugly *lol*

i've talked with my Asian (Chinese-Malaysian) friend and she told me that she did not believe the eye-lid surgery was done in an effort to look white but rather due to the belief that larger rounder eyes are more attractive. however, she admitted that Asians tend to have a Caucasian complex.

i thought this documentary was a bit extreme in saying that these people wanted surgery to 'change their race'. i'm not saying that people don't do that (try to change their race) but i believe that in some cases it goes deeper. for example historically in certain Asian countries, light skin was prized because it signified a person of the upper-class. the same can be said for round eyes etc. and i don't see how leg lengthening equals a desire to change one's race but i'm yet to fully watch the video..

BLACKkittenROAR said...

Wow. Kids can be so cruel! The documentary is kinda extreme. For one, I don't really believe Michale Jackson wanted to erase his ethnicity (as they claim, branding him the pioneer of deracialization) I think there was a lot more behind his transformations. The other episode, that LoveSupremeQueen has up on her blog is a even bigger stretch. It basically leads one to believe that there is no such thing as a petite Black woman, and all Asian women have no tits...very ridiculous IMO.

LoveSupremeQueen said...

yea i agree on that too!!

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