“The whiter you are, the prettier you are…”
This blog is in response to Zonah’s blog (read her entry)and her question: “am really wondering bakit sa kultura natin ang maputi, straight ang hair ay siyang tinatawag na maganda? Where do we get this concept?”
My answer is way too lengthy to be posted as a reply or comment… so I thought I’d post it as a separate blog.
Here it is…
You are not alone in this sentiment… “That white is beautiful…” or “the whiter you are, the prettier you are…”
Even my husband asks me this same question… “Why do Filipinos and the Filipino women are too busy acting like they are white…? In fact, I think most of them even think they are white!
Why is that, huh…?”
Quite frankly, I am offended by this question… But sadly, it is true… I have to admit… my husband is right in thinking that, we as Filipino people are guilty of acting like we are white. This attitude is very apparent, especially among Filipino elite… and even the not so elite ones.
I am guilty of this, which I vehemently deny. No, I don’t have white skin. I only have a hint of Spanish blood, and I grew up in a leaky nipa hut… So I most definitely do not belong to the privy, selected few… The part that I am guilty of acting like I am white, according to my husband, is the fact that I do not know my place.
I do not carry myself according to my stereotype. I think my ego gets in the way. I consider myself just as good as everyone else, regardless of race or color. But maybe my husband is right, on the point that I forget that being a female and a Filipino are already two strikes against me… and I do not know my place…
In the workforce, I was highly ambitious and went after jobs that I was not supposed to get. (But back then I did not know any better…) I got the job anyway… But I think Mr. Luck was on my side. … Or maybe, I was just at the right place, at the right time… and in some cases… knowing the right people…
But in the end, it always went back to the issue of me being Filipina and not knowing my place… Or maybe, as much as I do not want to admit, I still have a lot of growing up to do…
For a week or so now… I have been reading our history… the Philippine history… I am doing this to re-educate myself about my roots, my upbringing, my values, and my beliefs… including the bullshit ones that I based my life on.
The values and brainwashing that’s been ingrained in my subconscious, way before I had the power to recognize them as such…
If you recall… the Philippines have been ruled by the Spaniards for over 300 years… And YES, the Spaniards are white people from Europe!!!
During this reign… they have transformed the Filipino people. Back then, we were not even called Filipinos.
We were just a collection of different tribes, from different islands, speaking different languages. We were described to possess these physical attributes: “medium height, although tall men are to be found among them; especially in the mountain districts.
Skins are of a brownish colour, with black eyes, prominent cheek bones, the nose flat rather than arched or straight, nostrils wide and full mouth inclined to be large, lips full, good teeth, and round chin.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12010a.htm)
The Spaniards called us derogatory names such as brown monkeys, Indio, wild people, etc…
The Spaniards gave us our culture, our values and our religion. They even gave us our Christian names or Spanish names and last names.
Today, almost 500 years later… we still have this same culture, the same values and religion… and the Spanish influences are still alive and well.
Did you know that the name Filipino was originally given to the white Spanish colonists born in the Philippines? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criollo_(people)) I certainly was shocked to find this out! I have never ever questioned the origin of our race… I mean why we are called Filipinos?
However, the name Filipino has drastically changed, especially during the Philippine Revolution, by which the nationalist movements have adopted Filipino to mean the entire population of the Philippines, including the indigenous Malay people. Today, the name Filipino is the exact opposite of its original meaning.
When the Spaniards established the Philippines as one of their colonies, they stationed Spanish men consisted of the ruling class and clergy men in different areas within the Philippine
archipelago. While the clergy men busied themselves converting the people into law abiding and
God fearing Christians; and the ruling class establishing government, they also started mixing with our race. To be blunt… they started impregnating the Filipino women. I’m not saying they impregnated all childbearing Filipino women that they could get their hands on… Let’s just say that because of this union, voluntary and involuntary, the Filipino race started to evolve.
With Spanish genes mixed in our blood lines, our skin color has changed from brown to tan, and then tan to fair skin, depending on the amount of Spanish genes the person has in his bloodlines…
Given this… of course!
The Spanish people are going to preach and inculcate in our ancestors brains, in our brains, that those Filipino people whose skin color are similar to theirs are indeed beautiful!
Thus, the widely spread of Filipino beliefs that the whiter you are, the prettier you are… And let us not forget the many Chinese people who now inhabit the Philippines, who also have mixed with our race… they also pride themselves of being white…
… And then the Spaniards sold us to the Americans for $20,100,000.00 in the early 1900s… Another white ruling class… similar ideals and beliefs that made the current ones stronger…
Fast forward to now… in the year 2008…
This belief of being “white and beautiful” is further strengthen by the continuous brainwashing and programming being carried out by corporations, owned by the powerful elite, whose business is to sell beauty products and the likes to the Filipino people.
The fact is… there is plenty of money to be made among unhappy people, people who are discontent about their looks and skin color, people who have low self–esteem… people who are not happy with themselves.
We need to recognize that we have been programmed to think this way… We have been programmed to think that “the whiter you are the prettier you are…”
Therefore, if you are dark skinned, you are ugly. A very poor… shallow… and ignorant view… But this, my friend, is just one of the ways that the elite and powerful corporations control us… It is on purpose that we feel inferior… and unhappy about ourselves…
5 Responses to “Reasons why the Filipino people believe “The whiter you are, the prettier you are…””
Mixxy says: May 6th, 2008 at 1:08 pm
I don’t understand what you mean by “your place”. Could you explain this?
What stereotype are you talking about?
“I am guilty of this, which I vehemently deny. No, I don’t have white skin. I only have a hint of Spanish blood, and I grew up in a leaky nipa hut… So I most definitely do not belong to the privy, selected few…
The part that I am guilty of acting like I am white, according to my husband, is the fact that I do not know my place. I do not carry myself according to my stereotype. I think my ego gets in the way. I consider myself just as good as everyone else, regardless of race or color.
But maybe my husband is right, on the point that I forget that being a female and a Filipino are already two strikes against me… and I do not know my place…”
Mixxy… Tess Harris says: May 6th, 2008 at 10:18 pm
You mean not “knowing my place”…
When he (my husband) says “knowing my place”, he simply meant that when I am out there in the real world, here in America, people expect me to act, behave, and speak like Filipino. Filipinos are expected to be timid, shy and meek.
We speak broken English, especially if we are not born and raised here in U.S. We are submissive, obedient and compliant.
I am none of these… I have accent, but I do not speak broken English. I am not submissive, nor obedient or compliant.
That’s why I do not know my place.
Xeron says: May 8th, 2008 at 6:47 am
It is a bit of a conundrum that Filipino women would feel this way about themselves.
I am American of English and German descent, so I am as white as can be – painfully white, I often say.
The love of my life and my soul mate is a Filipina I have been with for the past 3 years (here in America). Her skin tone is a beautiful, creamy “medium brown,” but in her less secure moments she has said things indicating dissatisfaction with her color and darkness. I of course assure her that she is beautiful, and that I would not want her to look any differently.
I did chuckle as I read your description of the “typical” Filipina – it read like a checklist of my sweetheart’s features. Don’t get me wrong - I love her physical appearance. To me, her long black hair, pretty brown eyes, full lips (l-o-v-e those lips …), skin color, and perfectly proportioned frame are superior to other women. Yes, she is much shorter than me, but I have always had a weakness for petite women.
But what Filipino women may not know is that a man of quality is far less concerned about the color of her skin than he is about her qualities as a woman – meaning her character, integrity, caring ways, respect for her man, faith and faithfulness, and sensuality. All of the Filipinas I know are hardworking, kind, have very pleasant personalities, and a unique ability to make a man feel special. That is something American women would do well to learn, because they have bought into a cultural lie that turns men away.
So it occurs to me that perhaps some of the influences to which you object have actually shaped the culture of the Filipino people favorably - in some ways at least. Yet I do completely agree with you that those who judge a person based on color are shallow and ignorant. In this man’s mind, would a whiter Filipina be prettier? Absolutely not.
P. says: May 9th, 2008 at 8:09 am
I’m also frustrated by this obsession with whiteness. My grandmother was of Spanish origin and she married my grandfather, a native Filipino. Her children had very fair skin–except for my mom who looked more like her father. Hence, she was ridiculed by her siblings.
Where I live, many people prize my skin color as being beautifully tanned, even during the coldest winter months. I guess its that allure of “exoticism” in the great white north. In the Philippines, I was APPALLED to see the rows and rows of skin whitening products which encourage us to become self-conscious of our skin color.
It’s imperative that we rid ourselves of this colonized mentality. White is not prettier. How can Filipinos rise up if they idealize and aspire to be what they are not? It’s time to embrace being beautiful women of colour.
Arriane says: May (th,2008 at 10:45pm)
I am a filipina & very proud to be one.I'm brown skinned toned woman & i can say many admire my skin color. Before i used to dream to have a whiter skin tone but as i mature i realized that it is not true that if you are dark skinned woman you are lesser prettier than those women who has a fair skin.
This is a big lie bec. if you will just compare a beautiful woman with dark skin & a woman with a fairer skin,you will see at first glance that the whiter one will get your attention when you start to look at their features you will see that the woman with dark skin stands out inspite of being dark skinned her striking features still stands out that is what i mean of true beauty.If a woman is beautiful having a dark skin she is truly beautiful.
All i can say is it has nothing to do with the skin color,the facial features & over-all impact what makes a woman beautiful.To all women who have brown skinned don't waste money to have a whiter skin.Be proud with your skin color,bec. black is beautiful!