Being Dark is Not UGLY!

This topic has been discussed previously by one of my friend (Mindy) however since I got back to Jakarta again, I’ve been ‘tickled’ to write my own opinion about the very same subject.

Wanting to be white


When I watched the local TV channels here, I’m somewhat appalled by some skin whitening commercials. Why? Because it portrays being dark skinned as ugly, even dirty, it’s so ridiculous, its discrimination in a way! People here are so brainwashed to think that being ‘white’ is the way to go for girls (and for some guys too!). Waves of commercials and beauty salons offering instant ways to be white had dictated definition of what being beautiful is in this country and that is sad. Of course this industry is a huge one, probably millions of dollars yet it is kinda sad to see us women trying so hard to fit into those unrealistic beauty standards (i.e.: white skinned and supermodel like skinny).

Is this one of the reasons why these ‘indo’ (a term used to define mix kids between Indonesian-Western marriages) so-called actors/actress are so popular on TV these days even when they can’t even carry a line let alone act? Perhaps, it got something to do with the public’s perception of what beautiful is.

Being naturally dark skinned, thanks to my father’s heritage from Ambon, I have to admit that I was once fell ‘victim’ to these kinds of commercial years ago. My mother is from Manado, they have naturally lighter skin color than let’s say Javanese people. Being the only girl in the family, I used to feel bad about my dark skin because my two brothers are so light skinned they could easily pass as a ‘bule’.

I had to admit that I fell for those kinds of commercial back then, even tried one of those silly bleaching treatment in hope to make me look ‘lighter’. How stupid! Looking back now, those commercials in the old days weren’t as bad as the ones these days. Whitening adds are everywhere! One of the commercial I saw the other day featuring Dewi Sandra, totally made me laughed. Indonesians should be familiar with her and knows that she’s mixed (part Indo part British) so of course she was already born with a light skin. WOW! That’s just too ridiculous that I can’t help but laughing.

Just as too much laying around in a tanning bed can be dangerous, same thing can be applied to these whitening products. Just Google side effects of whitening products and you’d be shocked!

It wasn’t until I started working at my last job when I came to term with my dark skin features and stop trying to change it. Then when I moved to the States I realized “Wow, these people wants to be tanned they’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars at the tanning salon!” However, there’s a difference in the western counterpart commercial compare to the ones here in Indonesia. They did not degrade women with light skin as ugly or dirty, well I never seen any commercial like that in the States so I can only speak for what I’ve seen so far. In the States, I was delighted to find the perfectly right foundation for my face that won’t make me look like I’m wearing a mask the way some make-ups in Jakarta made me feel like due to lack of options for dark skin tones.

In China, I was faced with the same problems in finding a ‘regular’ facial soaps/cleanser. What I meant by regular here is the ones without any whitening effects on it. Luckily I could find some imported facial soaps/cleanser that doesn’t come with magical promises to make you more beautiful because your skin will get whiter in just 7 days!

When I went to have body scrubs here I always opted for the traditional non-whitening ones because I had fell in love with my dark skin and had accepted it as part of my heritage. Being dark skinned doesn’t make you less beautiful, ladies! Just love your skin the way it’s been blessed to you and stop throwing your money down the drain for dramatic I-want-to-be-white dreams.

You can be purple if you wish as long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters, right?



  1. April 9, 2010 / 8:09 am

    People are never satisfied with what they have. Asians want to have lighter skin, and white people want to have darker skin, so much they invent tanning bend and are willing to get fried under the sun and risking themselves for skin cancer.

    Since 3 years a go I actually start buying tanning lotion. When I’m diligent enough, I can have darker skin in a week. Normally friends – including Indonesian friends – will say I look sexy. But my mom once saw it and was horrified (it was two years a go and I was back for my wedding party, with not just darker skin colour, but the lotion started to fade, leaving uneven patches on my arms. She thought I was suffering from skin disease! *lol).

    So yeah maybe majority of Indonesians, and Asians, still think lighter skin colour is better, but I believe the paradigm is shifted slowly.

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:42 pm

      Human probably just like the everything else in life like you said never satisfied. Hahahaha I had a good laugh thinking of your Mom’s reaction to your tan. I hope things will change too and more beauty products won’t just ‘address’ for make-your-self-white wannabes. I’m having a hard time paying too expensive for a regular products LOL.

  2. April 9, 2010 / 8:09 am

    Darn, there’s a typo: should be tanning BED, not bend

  3. April 9, 2010 / 9:26 pm

    Wow – I had no idea there even were such products! That’s so sad for all those women watching ads and being made to feel bad, I’m so glad you were able to see them as the lies they are!

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:44 pm

      Thanks Megan, I guess part of it is growing up and accepting oneself as we see it instead of how the world dictates us that brought me to my realization. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. April 10, 2010 / 12:14 am

    I think dark skin is really beautiful. My boys all went through stages when they loved babies. I took each them to the store to choose a “baby” to play house with…all of them chose dark skinned babies. It was what they were drawn to. 🙂

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:44 pm

      Awww that is so cute of them! That shows they are being raised well by you, so kudos to you Mom!

  5. April 10, 2010 / 3:47 am

    I think that it is just a matter of society telling us to not be happy with what we have. As long as someone can tell us that there is something wrong with a part of our bodies and they have a product to correct it, women will buy. It’s sad but true.

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:46 pm

      Spot on! It is a big money making machine these whitening industry world but I just wish they would not portraying others (the dark skinned ones) as being ugly, one commercial went so far by showing a dark skinned girl being passed by a guy who were drawn to the very light skinned girl. Now, that’s just wrong IMO.

  6. April 10, 2010 / 11:00 am

    Dark skin IS beautiful. Embrace it – sounds like you have and GOOD FOR YOU!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for commenting!!!

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:46 pm

      Thanks Natalie and thanks for your visit back 🙂

  7. April 12, 2010 / 5:13 am

    Hey SITS-tah! Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I love this entry! It’s very well written!
    And although I am white in heritage, for some reason my skin tans very VERY easily. And I LOVE IT!!!

    • April 13, 2010 / 5:48 pm

      Hey Libby, thanks for stopping by. Love that SITS-tah thingy! 😀
      I just love getting tanned too, when I first got here after 2 years in the States, everyone keep making fun of how dark I got LOL. Thanks for your comment.

  8. August 21, 2011 / 4:04 pm

    Interestingly enough, the phenomenon for wanting to be whiter seems to be pretty … global? It’s the same here in the Philippines. Some time ago, I remember reading an even more extreme stories from India via BBC (can’t remember the link).
    I am still having problem finding facial care that does not include whitening products.

  9. February 20, 2012 / 3:20 pm

    Just found this in your archive. I am manadonese pure (mom, dad and was born in Manado), I have fair complexion but yet some people still think I am not ‘white’ enough for a manadonese. I think I should paint myself in total white then only they will approve lol. I think being white is the perception that happens in Asia only. At work back then, I got to accompany guests from Korean, Singapore and whilst the ‘bule’ were so enjoying the sun and the beach, the asians were using umbrella (on the beach!). I like my skin fair but I never think dark complexion is dirty. I think it’s exotic! And people should not try so hard to change their color skin. I think those commercials should be meant for the already light skinned people to emphasize more of their skin. Or for any skin colors to make it more glowing but not whitening.

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