Ever been called ugly or doubted your beauty after years of the advertising industry's brainwashed definition of beauty standards? You are definitely not alone. I've been through it one way or another. The only way to get past that mentality is to reject it and define your beauty for your own. Let me give you the details of how I defined my beauty:
Like many black girls, I grew up questioning my place in this society. I mean, I was a dark-skinned, thick-haired girl going to a school that was predominately black and Hispanic. As homogeneous as it sounds, I was never able to fit in.
As I got older, I realized that the concept of fitting in was inherently a stupid one that I now suck my teeth at at the thought of it. But at the moment, I'm not gonna lie, I wanted badly to belong somewhere and looks-wise, I wanted to look like the "average Latina"
I lamented the fact that my skin was lighter or that my hair did not fall down in looser curls. On top of that, classmates and friends constantly pointed out that my teeth were crooked and that my eyes were HUGE. All I could do was have myself because they hated me.
Fast forward 14 years later, I am college-educated and aware of what I once felt and desired. However, throughout the years I destroyed my self-loathing tendencies and opted to see the beauty in what I displayed naturally. The renaissance in my thinking happened when I acknowledged these 4 things:
1. Accentuate what you love about yourself
One day I saw myself in a different light. "Those eyes," I declared to myself, "are beautiful." I then began to adorn them with liquid eyeliner to accentuate their round shade and mascara to bring life to my eyelashes. I flaunted them by batting my big, sexy eyes at the boys. I began to love them even more when I realized that they also had the power to pierce souls. Accentuate what you find beautiful about yourself.
2. Understand that the people making you doubt your beauty, probably doubt their own
This is 99% true. Some people are mean because their lives are miserable. Don't fall for it.
3. What you grew up thinking was the standard of beauty was lie designed to profit from you
T.V., magazines and ads most likely featured a white woman with long, silky hair as the epitome of beauty. At best, the closest model you saw of yourself was a white-washed version of your beauty designed to make you idealize it. As negative as it is, it's probably one of the most successful advertising/marketing messages in history. Why? Because by presenting a certain type of beauty alongside a product, they succeeded in making everyone want to mirror their ideal of beauty. It made you spend, spend, spend in an effort to be just like the girl on the cover of the magazine. And to be like everyone else.
4. Once you transform your thinking, OWN your beauty.
You've internalized the self-hate throughout the years so it's gonna take some time to undo. At some point I started to see the parts of my body people made fun of as my greatest claims to beauty. My eyes, I adore them, and it turns out that other women would kill to have them on their face. My hair, I love it. It's natural texture is precisely what God intended for me. My milk chocolate complexion, I rock it proudly. It's the ultimate monument of my Garifuna ancestors and what I was born to be.
So there's a big F.U. all the people and systems that contributed to my self hate at varying degrees. This are still issues I am still working on, but I can say with confidence that my beauty is my own regardless of what people may think it should be. Yours is too.