August 14, 2011
By maishah BRONZE, Jamaica, New York
maishah BRONZE, Jamaica, New York
2 articles 6 photos 1 comment

Imagine you're staring at one of the prettiest girls you've ever seen, she has thick, shiny hair that reaches her small waist, and smooth, flawless skin, a nice caramel tint, full lips, white gleaming teeth, and large eyes with long lashes. She walks with a certain grace, and every move she makes with her slim figure and full hips, her long fingers and dainty wrists, the nupur (anklet) on her ankles tinkling, looks like a choreographed dance from a movie.

Girls in the graam (village) are gorgeous, their air is unpolluted, their water fresh and clean, their food organic, and they inevitably have good diets and sufficient exercise. As you can imagine, this results in natural beauty, courtesy of Mother Nature. However, in South-Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc., fair skin is treasured. Facials, skin treatments, skin bleaching, there are many things a woman can do to be “fair” but does that go hand in hand with beautiful? Apparently so. I'm a Bengali girl, an average girl of 15 years, and honestly I never noticed my skin until I visited my country. The cities might be polluted and corrupt, but the villages are beautiful, greenery is abundant, and the sights are breathtaking. There are many places besides the village that I didn't get to visit, like the famous beach Cox Bazaar, and the tea gardens, but when I did visit rural places and villages, I noticed that girls lacked self confidence because of their skin.

I told my relatives about tanning in the U.S., fake tanning, tanning cream, make-up designed to give you a sun-kissed glow, they regarded this as stupidity. They didn't see however, it's the same thing in Bangladesh, except with light skin. I think beauty can be identified with many things, a few universal traits among others are facial structure, cheek bones, eyes, lips, but skin color should not be on the list, I'm highly against that, in any culture, and obviously what's most important is on the inside. Although, being part of a culture is like loving someone, you have to accept the flaws that come with it. Amongst the beautiful designs, rich, aromatic spices, and exotic plants and fruit lie the rules of society, and not only rules, but standards and expectations. I want the vivid colors of our culture to shine from within, as bright as the expensive saris bedazzled with diamonds that movie stars wear. I loved my time Bangladesh, and I also hated it because it was so different and inconvenient from what I was used to, being raised in New York City, and I hope that one day my dream for my culture is realized, not just by the media but by all the girls themselves.

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