Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Darkest Model This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Kennett Square, PA
In India, fair skin is valued more than anything. The color of one’s skin is an indication of that person’s beauty, class, and worth. As a child I can remember seeing skin lightening products scattered across my grandmother’s makeup table. She would bring my mom creams with bleach in them, all of which my mother would immediately throw out. My relatives would always tell us not to go outside too much in the summer, for fear that we’d get tanner, and when we did get dark in the summer they commented on it relentlessly. Although my mother always threw out the creams and ignored the comments, this didn’t stop their words from influencing my life. Ever since I was young, being white had seemed like an accomplishment to me.

Up until I was six, I had lived just outside of New York City. In my school, many of the kids were African American or Hispanic, or in my eyes at the time, brown like me. As if moving to the tiny town of Unionville, Pennsylvania wasn’t hard enough, I suddenly found myself surrounded by those with much fairer skin than my own. Just like any new kid, all I wanted to do was fit in, and to me, fitting in meant being white. This wouldn’t have been bad if there had been one other brown kid, but there wasn’t. I was all alone. On top of fair skin being my key to fitting in, it also seemed like my key to beauty. As a young girl, I considered my mom to be the most beautiful woman in the world. My mother has always been far lighter than me. Her light skin made me want to achieve light skin myself. Many adults don’t realize that children are as in-tune to the obvious inequalities of society as any.

Whenever my sisters and I would play dress-up games on the Internet, I’d always choose the fairest model to dress up, because she was the one that I found most beautiful. I remembered the lightening creams my grandmother had and thought that maybe my mom would let me use them. So one day, I decided to ask my mother about it.

“Mommy, I want to be white,” I stated. She turned off the stove. She had been making curry that night; my mom’s curry is the best in the whole world.

“Why’s that?” she asked.

“Well you’re white,” I responded. That was probably the worst way I could have answered that. She blamed herself for my insecurities. From then on, she continued to do everything possible to get me to have pride in my ethnicity and my culture. We went to many more events with other Indians; she would tell me stories of dark skinned people who did great things, anything it took to make me happier with my culture. But when it really came down to it, it wasn’t her efforts to get me to understand my ethnicity that really changed my view on the subject. It was my love for myself that ended in my pride for my skin color.

Blame it on my vanity, but today, I have enough confidence to go around, regardless of skin color or anything else. Whether it’s skin color or anything else, insecurities affect everyone, regardless of age. It’s the ability to overcome those insecurities that really inspire others. And now, I always choose the dark skinned models.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

AzureBlueThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 6 at 1:26 am:
Dude.. This.. Is Beautiful!! 5/5
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback