I hear this phrase every time a Palmolive commercial comes on TV here in the Philippines. They, as a shampoo company, answer this with ‘perfectly bagsak hair’ or perfectly straight hair. However, after having stayed in the Philippines for a month already, I’ve seen a huge discrepancy between “Filipina beauty” and real Filipina beauty.
I went grocery shopping today with my grandfather and picked up a copy of locally-based Preview Magazine to compare it to the American and French fashion magazines I know and love. On the cover is Julia Barretto, a teen celebrity in the Philippines. She is extremely fair-skinned, with a long nose and large eyes. It is easy to see why she’s considered beautiful - a blurry picture like the one I took with my phone could even have her mistaken as Caucasian, rather than Asian. When you turn on the TV here, it is much the same story. All the female celebrities are paragons of beauty with their light skin and large eyes and straight noses. Unfortunately, these are not qualities found in your average Filipina. Filipino women in general have dark olive to sun-kissed tan skin, small eyes, and button-shaped noses. No matter how beautiful regular Filipinas are, they look nothing like the mestiza girls that are adored by the public.
Above is a photo of my aunt, me, and my younger cousin at Bonifacio High Street. My aunt with her fair skin is obviously beautiful, but so is my darker skinned cousin. However, my family always pokes fun at her for inheriting my grandfather’s darker skin color and not being light. She’s tall enough to model in the Philippines, but her skin color may prevent her from realizing that dream. For those who would rather be seen by the general public as beautiful than stay with their natural skin color, there is a flourishing market for skin whitening products in this country.
My time here in the Philippines has been relaxing, refreshing, and of course, beautiful. I just wish that my country could see that there’s more than one answer to how you define Filipina beauty.
Thanks for reading my first post! I hope you enjoyed it. Welcome to my new blog - come back and visit soon :)