Monday, 11 April 2016

#unfairandlovely

I'm a bit late with this post but I've finally done it. The reason it's late is because, honestly, I didn't have the courage to write it. I thought I couldn't write it because the people who I talk about in the post may figure out that it's about them...then I thought what the heck. They should never have thought that in the first place!!!

This is my #unfairandlovely story.

Background: #unfairandlovely is a campaign on social media which highlights the stigma that societies have attached to darker skin and beauty. Societies like mine... In this post I'm going to try and explain what this campaign means to me and, hopefully, you'll understand why this movement is important to me!

My skin tone can be described as brown - medium brown I would say but then some others would say light brown and I've been told by a few people that I'm dark brown. I'm content with it, it's who I am. It becomes difficult when I go out to buy things like make up which is supposed to match your skin tone, like concealer.

For instance: I walked into Boots some time last year on a hunt for a concealer. I've never been one who is good with makeup and so I needed help in the concealer department. Anyway, I got in and at the front, in my local shop, is the Max Factor counter. There was a lovely sales assistant who asked if I was ok and so I explained to her that I was looking for a concealer to put under my eyes. We went over to the concealers and she said: "to be honest, I think these are all too light. There aren't any here that will match your skin shade".

And that was that. See, the thing here is that I wasn't offended initially because she was being honest. She saved me a lot of time and pointed to towards the Clinique counter. Only after did I question why they didn't have any even close to my skin shade because I'm not a rare skin shade. There are loads of people who have my skin shade and well, Max Factor, you are definitely missing out on something there. But I can't really comment on make up because I don't know enough to make a comment - that was just an example of one thing I've found. Although it is a problem, I've noticed that there are now more things out there that match my skin colour and anyway, this isn't what I think of then I see #unfairnadlovely.

I wish make up was the only complaint I had but the thing is, it's worse. See, make up is an industry in itself that is run by companies and campaigns can be/have been started to change these issues, slowly but surely. It's not as easy to change the views of groups of people that have thought this way for generations. That takes education and this education and thought has to filter through for generations for it to be accepted. I know for a fact that it has started but this process is not one that can be done overnight.

Here is a very short example to explain what #unfairandlovely means to me:
Once someone asked for a description of a person that was sitting in another room and she asked: 'How dark is he?'...The person who was questioned replied, 'not that dark...the same as Fatima.' The look on the faces of the people in the room was - well they thought I was too dark. What's disgraceful is that people in that room are considered to be the same as me - they are 'my people' and some of them I'm related to by blood.

What do you do when your 'own people' think that you are too dark. People who I share ethnic origins with and more often than not, blood. Why do they think like that? Am I not the same as them? The irony of the whole situation is that I'm not actually that dark if you come to look at it, and so I dread to think what they think about people who have darker skin than I do. Beauty is not based on skin colour.

Fortunately for me, I've come to realise that there is more to me than my skin colour but the younger me was not as wise.
This is why campaigns like #unfairandlovely are epically important.

The truth is everyone is beautiful regardless of what we look like - I'm not kidding. Go check out some of the posts in response to this campaign such as Parallel and Areeba's post. Funnily enough, I found the hash tag through the lovely Areeba!!!

So go on, spread the word. Do you have a similar story to share?

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Confessions of a Front-Stabbing Friend #4

I hate shopping...well, actually that is a lie. I don't mind shopping but shopping with my mother is one of the weirdest experiences on the planet. It's not as bad as I've experienced in the past because I've come shopping with people who are all over the supermarket - literally. They buy things as they remember and so you end up going from the eggs to the milk to the carrots and then back to get cream and then bread. I mean why don't you just go round the place in order?!

Mum just takes ages. She stops to think and sometimes she stares at the labels for what seems like eternity - then I'll lose my patience and have to remind her that the price of fishcakes will not change no matter how much she wills it to with her mind. But then what should I know, I don't really have to budget or manage my money in the way my parents and even some of my friends do. The only bills I worry about are my phone bill and gym bill. Not really gas, electric, council tax, blah, blah blah...

Anyway, enough about budgeting because it makes my brain feel sad. I'd rather think about grocery shopping...yuck! We go through every isle and she picks up a few things but I can't help but notice this man skulking around the store. I've seen him before and he's tried to be nice to us - don't get me wrong, I'm sure he is nice but I don't really want to know to be honest. I just want my mother to hurry up with her shopping so I can go home and binge watch Netflix.

From what I understand he's security.  He - maybe to make himself look more intimidating - walks in a way I find slightly amusing. His hips are thrust forward more so than his shoulders, his arms swing from side to side and his head bobs up and down as he paroles the milk isle. If I were him I'd walk through the bakery...often. The thing is, I'm not being mean in my description of his walk because I've seen this man outside the supermarket and he's a different person. None of this hip thrusting, arm swinging, head bobbing business then. So why now? Maybe he wants to look like a back slash as he walks.

Who knows. I wonder if he'd straighten up if someone ran off with milk without paying for it...

Finally we've finished. I've walked round the whole supermarket and haven't bought a thing! That's right, I have not picked up one thing and that's actually really good. Lucky for mum, I don't actually want anything so when we get to the tills, she won't say how much I cost her. Bring on Netflix!!

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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Confessions of a Front-Stabbing Friend #3

#3
I found out why the kid was gawping at me. It turns out that I have a massive spot on my right cheek. It's mahoosively massive, like epically huge. How did I not know this? Thinking about it now I can actually feel it if I twitch my cheeks, but back then my tea, biscuits and magazine took priority.

Luckily it has shrunk a little so it's not as big as it was in the morning. The kid is the only human - excluding family members - to have seen the hideous thing. That's only because I'm yet to leave the house. That's right, on the schedule for today is lazing about, reading and watching Netflix.

And I'm really looking forward to it. Who wouldn't?! I have a whole bunch of library books to finish (once I actually start them of course) and I may have accidentally bought a few books too...oopsie. And Netflix, well I can spend hours wasting away watching Netflix!

Anyway, back to the spot. What am I going to do about it? Nothing! It'll go away soon enough, it came on it's own so it'll go on it's own. The truth is, I'm actually too lazy to do anything, and I don't really mind - if you want to stare, then stare!! And my books don't mind!

So, here I am having examined my ugly spot when mum pops her head round the door. Literally, all I can see is her head, it's like it's floating because there's no view of the body.

"What are you doing?" She's looking around my room then finally her gaze lands on me.
 
"Nothing" I say slowly, stretching out the 'o'. I have no idea what she must have thought because I'm sat in front of the mirror with a pile of books!

"Oh good. Get dressed, we're going shopping." And that was it. She leaves so fast I can't even object or explain my important plans or anything. So it looks like I'll be shopping instead.

Meh. At least I don't have the kid sat in front of me anymore! Also, people are too busy thinking about themselves to notice my spot - yes, that's right, I'm going to keep telling myself that.

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