Belo with No White Skin

“How are you related to Vicky Belo?”

I’ve always been proud of my family name. Thanks to Vicky Belo! My family name has turned into a brand name for beauty. I support her cause as what she said in an interview, “para maging patas naman ang laban.” Her self-esteem issues as a kid is somehow inspiring for people who think they are physically inferior.

Then Belo came up ad campaigns for their skin whitening products and services. They picked celebrity endorsers like Sarah Geronimo who now has noticeable fairer skin  than she used to have. While I still enjoy the popularity of my name ( Belo is  a family name easy to remember), I am afraid that my family name may be associated with white skin,(which apparently I don’t have)

I have nothing against people who want to enhance their appearance. After all, to innovate is to be empowered. At some point in our lives, we are not satisfied with our weight, hair, and height. We want to remove some moles, freckles, and blemishes. While it may be necessary to use science in addressing these personal needs, I don’t think changing skin color can make a big difference. Of all the possible things you can do to improve your looks, enhancing your skin color is the least reasonable. I don’t even understand why there is such a business for whitening products. No matter how many times you used Papaya soap, you will never be white enough to look like a mestiza. I am not arguing that morena skin is better. There is no superiority in colors, only in perceptions. But what am I trying to say there is something wrong with you when you don’t like your skin color. It speaks so much of your self-concept and worldview.

Well, if you think you are fat, it can be attributed to excess calories or the amount of food you eat. If a pimple grows on your cheek, it is because of oily food and lack of sleep. If you apply hot oil and other treatment to your hair, it’s fine. Your hair just needs tender loving care. If you want to remove your eye bags,  I totally understand. But if you go to a dermatologist and pay her to inject something to turn  your skin into white (eg Michael Jackson), that is something I cannot comprehend.

Unlike pimples, scars, unruly hair, and fats, our skin color is part of who we are. It is not a result of proper hygiene and styling but it is an inheritance. We are products of our past. It is the color that has been passed through many generations.  In the Philippines, we often associate beautiful people with white skin. This is another effect of colonial mentality. If you look like our country’s former oppressors,  the more you are perceived pretty. I don’t get it. We find Filipinos mixed with foreign blood pleasing to the eyes when their categorical looks resemble people who once enslaved us. These are my random thoughts on colonial mentality.

When you are not proud of your skin color, you are not proud of your heritage, your history, and maybe your family. If you are half Filipino and half Australian, you should be proud of your fair skin.  People can see that love surpasses cultural differences through your skin color. It can even symbolize united nations or world peace. On the other hand, if you are a pure Filipino with tanned skin, you should also be proud. Your color has been preserved throughout many generations. It is a collective effort of people who love their race. It is the color of your forefathers who fought for revolution. Lapulapu who fought Magellan by the seas of Mactan, most probably had the same shade of color as you have.

TV commercials make us feel inferior with our summer skin but wait, are our feelings towards our skin valid? Why feel bad when our color represents the majority of Filipinos?

embrace your color
love the skin you’re in

Some of the things I write here may sound funny but is it not laughable that we try to change what remains permanent, and that we try to cure our skin color as if it is a skin disease? Our skins don’t need a remedy but our minds need a solution.