For anyone who doesn’t know me and has never seen what I look like, here’s a very vague description. I’m the size of an elf, I have tired dark brown eyes, dark brown skin, and an ever-changing hair colour. But for the most part, also just dark brown.
Being a Lebanese woman and growing up in the UAE, I always looked up to the West as an ideal standard of beauty of mine. One that I could never reach.
In the Middle East, brown eyes and brown hair were extremely common and blonde hair and blue eyed boys and girls were considered the extreme epitome of beauty.
Growing up, I always dreamed of having green eyes or blue eyes. It got to the point where I even considered just getting colored contact lenses.
Brown was boring, dull, who would fall for a girl with just brown eyes?
Every movie I’ve watched and every book I’ve read has described any other color but brown as a color you could fall in love with.
Blue eyes were the color of the ocean, blue skies on a sunny day, mesmerizing, enchanting, all of the above. The same goes for green, grey, and so on.
Brown? Who cares about brown? The only comparison I could think of is the oxygenated, plant bearing, good old dirt.
And it’s not just my eye color. I’ve always wanted to change my brown skin. I wanted to be white. According to the world, white was beautiful, pure, clean.
I know this sounds stupid now and the thought of it seems absolutely absurd but as a kid growing up in a Western controlled world, I just couldn’t deny these feelings.
It was especially hard being Lebanese and having brown skin. If you search up how Lebanese people look like, most of them would be white. My entire family and relatives are white. My mom is white. My sister is white. But thanks to my father, my brother and I had the tan skin in the family.
And you see this shouldn’t be a problem, but I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider. How is it that since the age of 8 years old that I started to hate the skin I lived in?
I remember just covering myself completely from head to toe in large amounts of sunscreen under the hot scorching sun. I hid myself under the shade of the large umbrella, absolutely terrified to go out for a swim because I knew that within a span of 10 minutes I’ll become darker than anyone else on that beach. Its only now that I’ve matured that I realize how ridiculous that was.
And despite having accepted myself now, I still have the tendency to want to change some qualities about me. I’ve been lightening my hair for over a year now purely because I've always hated my dark brown hair.
I can’t help but think of every reason that made me feel that way. Did it make any other brown girls feel that way?
Almost every Disney actress I’ve seen as a kid was white, blonde, blue eyed. Every model I looked up to. Every singer I’ve listened to. Even every advertisement I’ve seen on TV.
Was I the only one who struggled to find makeup looks because I had to specifically research ones that are for brown eyes? Bought the wrong foundation because I wanted to believe I was paler than I am? Struggled to find costumes the one time I’m able to dress up cause they all only suited white skin?
I’m not trying to say it’s wrong to be white, blonde and blue eyes. I don’t blame you or hate you. I’m just wondering, is that the beauty ideal for everyone else?
Despite how “progressive” the world is becoming, how is it that living my life in the Middle East, with everyone possessing the same physical qualities, that the Western beauty became the ideal for everyone else? Why couldn’t we just learn to love our own qualities?
Over the years I have learned to accept myself and love myself and I’m happy to say that I have no problem with how I look now (Except for the occasional bad days where my rolls tend to stick out but that’s another story). Nonetheless, I can proudly say that I love myself.
But what now? What is the point of this whole post?
I honestly just want more movies, books, and shows where the brown girls get some loving too. Why can’t they be told that they’re also beautiful?
I don’t even know if this whole post makes sense. I’m aware I’ve repeated many things but my point is that I just want every little brown girl growing up in this world to know that your skin is perfect, your eye color is perfect, your hair color is perfect.
I’ve hated how I looked like for most of my life purely because the girls I’ve seen on TV do not look like me. No girl should ever grow up feeling this way, no girl should ever go through that. There’s nothing wrong with you.
Let me know if you agree with me or if you’ve ever experienced what I felt. Everyone is beautiful no matter their skin, eyes, or hair as long as you’re just as good on the inside.