Growing up I hated my long nose – a feature which is common for many brown women especially in Panjabi women. I believed it was “too big”. I wanted to have surgery when I was older and believe it or not it made me very depressed. I hated my appearance throughout my teenage years. I started wearing makeup at the age of 12/13 years old believing that it would make me look and feel beautiful. I would wear layers and layers to school many people didn’t understand this. But the reason why I wore so much makeup when I was younger was because of my sense of insecurity.
And it certainly didn’t help seeing a certain type of women showcased on magazine covers, shown in television and films. These women had a certain type of features- eurocentric beauty standards.
Now what I mean by eurocentric beauty standards is its focus on European and Caucasian women how they have anglicized features e.g – smaller noses, thinner lips, fair skin and light eyes etc. These types of features are seen more beautiful.
Often many women of colour who have been on magazine covers or TV ads are shown many shades lighter to their actual skin tone and some are even shown wearing contacts. And we are often told to stay in this westernized style and that our cultures traditional style make us look ugly or too ethnic.
Now I’m not saying that European or Caucasian women are not beautiful however their beauty certainly does not define another women’s beauty.
Today I’ve come out of my self-hatred and I am learning to self-love. Today I actually appreciate my appearance, my long nose, my brown skin. And regardless if you wear makeup or don’t wear makeup just be comfortable in your appearance. Don’t feel you need to fit in because you really don’t. Having dark skin does not make you less beautiful than someone with fair skin, having brown eyes and not green eyes doesn’t make you less beautiful. And those women who are shown on magazine covers do not define your beauty. You don’t need to be fair, you don’t to be skinny to be beautiful.
True beauty is defined by the beauty of the heart, not appearance.
I wrote this poem a few months back. I felt it was necessary to give the message across to women that your beauty is not defined by eurocentric beauty standards.