Keepin' It Real
By Senani Gunetilleke
This little column will feature all things real, raw and authen- tic! Let’s get deep! In this issue of Keepin’ It Real, we are going to be diving deeper into the topic of skin tone in Sri Lanka.
We asked our readers what they would like to know about this topic and these were some of the most common questions asked:
What are the attitudes of people towards darker skin tones in Sri Lanka?
It would definitely be a major overgeneralisation to say that everyone in Sri Lanka shares the same attitude towards dark skin. However, that being said, the most common attitude that we have come across is that dark skin isn’t perceived to be as beautiful as lighter skin tones. This perception needs to change: we are all beautiful, regardless of our skin tone and there’s so much more to beauty than just outer appearance. What matters more is what’s on the inside. Having a beautiful personality is what in turn makes a person beautiful as a whole.
How should I react when something negative about my skin colour is said directly to me?
In the immediate instance it is definitely the norm to feel targeted and to instantly be hurt by the rude comment made in passing
to you. Carrying it around with you and feeling insecure about your- self thereafter is also something most likely to occur. The best way to deal with a situation as such is to not retaliate back immediately but instead to take a step back from the situation at hand and really understand where this person is coming from. If said in a manner to bring you down, then this per- son’s intentions are clearly not in the right place and that they don’t mean well, and for that reason exactly, you should not let it get to you at all. Instead, understand that this was said in a demeaning manner. If you would like to respond to the person, building confidence in yourself and truly embracing yourself is step one. Step two would then be to reply to the person in a manner that educates them and opens up their view on the topic as a whole. The goal should be to educate them, enlighten them and make them understand that we are all beautiful regardless of what skin tone we are, and comments that are degrading in nature should be prevented from being made in the future.
The beauty industry in Sri Lanka advertise multiple products that promote whitening of the skin.
How does this affect people’s attitudes towards dark skin?
The beauty industry in Asia as a whole most definitely promotes skin whitening products and in turn feeds the common mind-set that fairer skin is more beautiful. Brands like ‘Vaseline’ and ‘Fair and Lovely’ have been called out in the past for wrongly pro- moting their products and in turn blatantly implying that dark- er skin tones and beau- ty are mutually exclusive! This is honestly one of the many manipulative marketing tac- tics of the beauty industry and it promotes an extremely skewed version of beauty standards in Asia. On the contrary, in the Western world, the beauty industry thrives on promoting tanning products and skin dark- ening products. This, again, is a marketing tactic used to feed the common mind-set in the Western world that pale skin cannot be associated with beauty! If you take a look at the overall bigger picture, it is quite prominent that the beauty industry twists and shapes itself to in turn increase sales and profits. Rather than falling for this marketing gimmick, it is important to under- stand and advocate that all skin tones are beautiful. The psychology of human nature is to always want what we don’t/can’t have and this is something that we all need to work on: constantly striving to appreciate and embrace ourselves for all that we are!
How do I overcome my insecuri- ties being a dark skinned girl in Sri Lanka?
The main and most important goal is to accept and appreci- ate all that you have been blessed with. Feelings of insecurity sprout from comparison of oneself with others. These can be combatted but is definitely something that requires persever- ance and dedication. We are always striving to be a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday – and this same concept should be applied when working towards shedding off those insecurities. Confidence in one’s self stems from truly believing that you are amazing just the way you are. That being said, working hard to better yourself is part of be- ing confident. Whether its fitness goals, personal goals, work goals or relationship goals that you have set out for yourself to achieve, being confident in yourself as a person will only push you closer towards achieving those goals!
That’s a wrap for this issue’s column of Keepin’ It Real. Stay tuned for our next issue where we dive deeper into all things performance arts and confidence related! Send us your ques- tions and I shall answer them! That’s it from me folks, stay kind and stay beautiful!