Feminism | Posted by Sharmee S on 04/13/2015

Why I Bought Skin Lightening Cream At 11 Years Old

One brand of fairness cream

I was 11 years old when I succumbed to buying my first tube of “fairness” cream. It was right after a popular boy teased me by calling out “Weh blackie” to me.

Before he teased me, I internalized most of my negative feelings about my dark skin. As a second generation Indian, I felt the influence of the inhumane Indian caste system which idolizes those with fairer skin. Lighter skinned individuals are considered superior within this system and those with darker skin are regarded as dirty, useless and — especially in the case of darker women — less desirable. This boy’s remark, though, was the first time I felt so deeply humiliated. I felt hatred and disgust towards my skin.

Although I was lucky enough …

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Feminism | Posted by Anonymous on 04/8/2015

My Mixed Race Features Are Not Pieces of a Puzzle

I identify as mixed-race

What Are You?

I find myself being asked that question more often than I like to admit. It takes many forms, broken down and built back up again, that same old question rattling around in my head like a single penny in a tin can. It makes so much noise, demanding attention. It’s a person’s desperate attempt to make sense of my loose curls, almond shaped eyes and light complexion. That strong human instinct to organize and categorize, coming from the depths of a person’s consciousness, causing many people to squint and nod their head as they try to piece my features together like a puzzle.

I’m Mixed.

Telling people this makes most people smile as they are finally able to put me in a category. …

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Feminism | Posted by Carolina G on 03/16/2015

If You’re Latina, Then Why Are You White?

A few weeks ago, I was at a party with a few of my friends. I had been casually using a new dating app and had been talking to a guy that seemed pretty nice. He mentioned that he happened to be out in the same area, so I told him where I was, figuring we could have a drink. He arrived with a few of his friends and I said hello. The first words out of his mouth? “False advertising. You’re not Latina.”


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Sofia Vergara

I wish I could say this surprised me but it really didn’t. Ever since I joined the world of online dating, my ethnicity is question

You may be thinking, “Oh, a white girl is complaining about being white.” That’s not the …

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Feminism | Posted by Celeste Y on 12/8/2014

On Having Exclusively White, Male Professors

Academia was introduced to me as an essential part of life at a young age. I have been lucky enough to have been educated in environments in which curiosity was encouraged – a value that has shaped my life in and out of classrooms. I think this explains many things about my self-conception and the way I do things, like the perhaps unnecessarily diligent approach I take to reading (such as, most recently, Amy Poehler’s wonderful book). Admittedly, I attack many books with my highlighter regardless of whether or not I’ll be tested on their content. For me, my school and out-of-school life have been two sides of the same coin: a coin which my parents and I are willingly spending on a higher form of education this year.

A …

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Feminism | Posted by Maya Richard-Craven on 08/8/2014

What Makes Asian-American Men ‘Undateable?’

When I look in the mirror, I do not see someone that I understand to be handsome by Western standards. I look mostly Asian, and like so many other heterosexual Asian males before me, I have internalized a lifetime of believing that my features, my face, my skin tone, in tandem, make me unattractive and undesirable.

- Noah Cho, “How I Learned to Feel Undesirable

Several studies have found Asian-American males to be the “least desirable” bachelors, a trend that may be exacerbated by a seeming across-the-board preference for dating Asian-American women by men of all races. The term Asian-American, in this case, covers a broad ethnic spectrum, including, but not limited to: “people who have origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East,

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Feminism | Posted by Cheyenne T on 07/28/2014

Race and Gender After Gentrification

I live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, which has historically been considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York City. My parents never let me walk around the neighborhood alone when I was growing up. My dad always felt nervous about my mother coming home on the train too late at night and, as I got older, he worried about my safety, too. I’ve always been scared to go home alone at night and have always been afraid of men on the street and what they are capable of (especially as I began to experience more and more street harassment as I grew older).

Yet despite this, I’ve only begun to consider the safety (or lack thereof) of my neighborhood in recent years as my neighborhood has begun to evolve …

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Feminism | Posted by Maya Richard-Craven on 06/4/2014

“You’re Pretty, For A Black Girl”

“My dick really isn’t attracted to black girls.”

I tried to explain how his comment could come off as a tad bit racist.

“Well, it’s just that I don’t usually like girls like you.”

“You mean, you usually like girls with blonde hair and blue eyes?”

“Well, yeah.”

No, this conversation wasn’t with John Mayer. It was with a caucasian male in a fraternity, one of my peers at USC.

I cried that night on my two-mile walk home from “frat row.” I cried the next day. Ok, I cried for countless nights. Not because I was sad about some guy, or because he claimed he “wasn’t interested.” I cried because I was disappointed that American Eurocentric culture still produces people who fear challenging what they have been taught. …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by YingYing S on 09/14/2012

Skin Is Just An Organ – But Insecurity Sells

The whitewashing of Beyonce

I am not white.

Yeah, I know, stating the obvious, but in fact, even for someone of Chinese ethnicity, I am decidedly not on the pale end of the spectrum. And every time I flip open a fashion magazine here in America or visit my home city of Beijing, decked out with all its skin-lightening billboards, I am reminded that because of my skin tone, the world wants me to change.

Previously referenced as “the Snow White complex,” the pressure to be white has overtaken most of the world as an indisputable standard of beauty, despite the fact that every standard of beauty we try to mold ourselves to is culturally constructed.

In Asia and India, skin lightening has soared into popularity thanks to …

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