Thursday, September 14, 2006

Balat the Tagalog word for skin (buh-LAHT).

Several days ago, I got a call from a telemarketer. It went something like this:

Ring, ring!
Me: Hello?
TM: Hello! I'm looking for Lizza.
Me: Speaking.
TM: Hi, Ms. Lizza! I'm so-and-so from XYZ Marketing.
Me: Okay, can I help you? (I know, I'm such a dumbass.)
TM: Oh, we can help YOU! Have you seen our latest ad?

One thing you should probably know about me, I'm not a big infomercial fan. There are probably 3-4 channels -- or more! -- on cable TV here in the Philippines that are devoted entirely to infomercials.

Me: Ummm, no.
TM: We have a new skin whitening cream that's very effective! It comes from (name of another Asian country), and it's very popular!!!
Me: Oh, really? Thanks, but I'm not interested in your product.
TM: But it's very, very popular, and it's EFFECTIVE! You'll have whiter skin in as LITTLE AS TWO WEEKS!!!!
To make a long story short, she finally got the message that I really was not interested.

Skin whitening creams are a big deal among many people here, especially among the females. Internationally-known brands carry them (Ponds, Nivea, etc.), as do local brands. I respect the decision of others to use these products. But I have never tried them and have no plans of doing so.

Philippine society is comprised of many sorts of ethnicities. The Chinese-Filipinos are perhaps the best known for their pearly, smooth skin. Kind of like white rose petals with a tinge of color. And unfair as it may seem, there's a pervading mentality that the fairer the color of your skin, the more well off you are -- the higher your place in society. You're more "desirable." More "marketable." More attractive to the opposite sex.

I don't really know if it's a question of how we as Filipinas are perceived internationally. I do know that it gets my goat when Asian women are lumped together as easy pieces of ass for the great white man (or any color foreigner, for that matter). I admit that prostitution is a thriving business here. But then, it isn't exclusive to the Philippines and other Asian countries. The world's oldest profession is thriving practically everywhere! Not all Filipinas are little brown fuck bunnies.


I don't question the decision of many women in my country to use whitening creams. But it's just not for me. I'm brown, okay? It's a color I like, I'm comfortable with it. I'm in my own skin in it. If I really wanted to change the way I look, I'd go for a total transformation, not skin color. Maybe something like this would be interesting. Whatcha think?


Jules said...

HAHAHA Yes, definitely a good look for you! ;-) HOTTTTT!

Mo and The Purries said...

You look like Emmet Kelley's love child.

so, skin whitening cream??? like the shit Michael Jackson uses or what?

why, when you have such lovely skin would you do something like this to yourself?

call me whitey white, but I think darker skin tone is sexy. on men or women. I'm so glad you told them to stick their oil of ugly up their fuck-bunny bums!

Lizza said...

Thanks, Julie and Morgen! I think the stubble on the jaw is so HAWTTT!!! And Mo, Michael Jackson is a great performer, but his becoming something like a single white female is just too weird--even for me.

NanNan said...

And over here, we're defying those UV rays to get a nice healty looking tan, the browner the better-- makes no sense----

Kiyotoe said...

Glad to know there are still women out here who already know that they're beautiful and don't depend on cosmetics or surgery to validate it.

Foofa said...

The whole lighter skin thing is very prevalent in the African-American community, even today. There used to be a time where people were subjected to "paper bag tests" before they could enter some clubs. The point was they could only go in if they were lighter than the paper bag. Although it has gotten better, "You're so dark..." is the beginning of many insults. I think this idea is the same throughout much of the world. Personally I wish I was a little darker, then maybe I wouldn't get mistaken for Mexican as often.

Gumby said...

I think you look just fabulous the way you are! and you should ALWAYS trust a homo when he says something is fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I love the new-look-lizza at the link. She is a stitch. Very interesting post. You know I think I can tagteam onto this post based on an experience I had in college with a graduate student from India. I might try it, if it's okay with you.

Lady Apple said...

i don't know why anyone tries to get lighter skin unless it is to lighten up certain dark patches...darker skin is so beautiful! i spent my whole summer trying to get any sun i could!!!

Ian said...

Ditto everyone else - why try to look like someone you are not? If people can't accept you for who you are, you don't need them in your life.


Anonymous said...

Kudos for being happy with who you are. We could certainly use more of that mentality here in Southern California!! Don't ever change!!!

Mimi Lenox said...

Very interesting look you have there, Lizza. Ha! And good for you for not wanting to change anything about your skin. You are beautiful! I'm a bit pale and would love to have your skin tone.

Lizza said...

nannan: it's usually true all over; people want to be what they're not. Strange, ain't it?

kiyotoe: there are things about the way I look that I'd like to change, but not my skin tone. Cosmetics and plastic surgery are good things, they're just not for me (so far! haha).

Natalie: paper bag tests? Really? How terrible!

Gumby: hahaha! Yes sir, I shall take your advice and trust the taste of homos. May I keep the stubble?

Gale: why thanks! And tagteam away, no problem. I'd love to read about your experience. :-)

Jessica: Oh yeah, an even skin tone throughout is best--dark or light.

Ian: Thank you! Sometimes people do it for themselves, because they themselves aren't satisfied with how they look. Which is okay, I think. But if you change the way you look because someone else doesn't like it, too bad.

Michael: Thanks! You have people with all sorts of skin tones there in Southern California, I believe.

Mimi: Thank you! And a lot of people would pay major bucks to have your skin tone. ;-)

Benjie Ordonez said...

but wait...there's more! if you buy now you don't get just one, not two but three bottles plus a tanning lotion

hehehehe. hey liz, what's up schoolmate?

Reeholio said...

Hahaha, that beard must be from your 32% masculine side ;-)

Anonymous said...

My Family got away with "passing" for white in a time when Native Americans were being treated worst than African Americans. Native Americans didn't even get to vote until 1932.
Now trying to prove your an indian is all but impossible. They put no account to family stories. In the United States the only minority they make you prove you are is being Native American. They think you want the free healthcare and casino money.
BTW I once dyed my hair a darker brown to look more Indian. I looked in the mirror and saw the Grandmonster and got scared.

Anonymous said...

Sorry forgot to sign that wouldn't let me post under my blogger account. Said something about beta something or other.
I did it
Last minute Lyn

Anonymous said...

Hi Lizza,

I think, people are beautiful with their natural way. I am also kinda brownie :) but i am happy with that. I wouldn't also use that kind of stuff. It is not common here in Turkey, except some groups of woman.

Following the blog with pleasure.

see you ;)


Prometheus said...

Yo Liz, if ya pull of THAT transformation, I'm a gonna be so in love with ya that I'm a gonna be stalking ya!

Fillipinas are not fuck bunnies but they have the loveliest hair (Prometheus has only seen those on the head).

Prometheus feels this whole chemistry for beautification is crap. Now pass that Maybelline 302 please.

Lizza said...

Hi Benj: Haha, that's right. They do make those silly 3-for-1 offers. Everything's okay; hope all is well with you down there in Cebu.

Rhys: You're probably right! Welcome back. :-)

Lyn: That sounds so strange; having to prove that. And the idea of you as Grandmonster is strange too. :-) (I don't believe you look like one for a minute.)

Osman: Welcome! Thank you for visiting my blog; I look forward to reading more of your postings at your blog too.

Prometheus: Wow! You actually typed 'fuck!' I can hardly believe it, mon ami. Almost as much as I can't believe you like stubble (on the jaw). And wait your turn for the Maybelline. I'm not done.

Anonymous said...

lizza- I am inherently lazy, so making my skin a different color sounds like way too much work Why would anyone want to change their skin color? Aren't there many more important you can do for yourself to make you a better person, not a differnt looking person?

Anonymous said...

lizza- Please excuse all typos in previous post. Gotta learn to look at them before before publishing!

Lizza said...

inamini, glad to know a fellow lazy person! And no worries about typos; I've committed my fair share of them. Heyyy, maybe you're drinking an improved version of your special eggnog...that could account for the typos. :-D

H said...


Lizza now that becomes you girl!

But you're so right about this obsession with fair&lovely creams. we have a brand by that name here in India. In fact they've now come out with fair&handsome for men, seeing that a lots of their girlie cream tubes are actually bought by the not-so-fair-sex. [gak, that was in terrible taste].

But yeah, what's with non-brown men thinking brown girls are easy pieces of ass eh? it's very demeaning to be perceived that way.

flamin said...

This is the same problem with India too. I am the only 'brown' among my while siblings, so I was always taunted for being 'black'. My granny always used to tell me how nobody would marry me because of my colour but ohhhh well :P

The society itself has created these weird notions about fair women being an object of desire and if you walk in an Indian supermarket, they are lined with these 'beauty' products.

Recently, there was a feature on Yahoo news where they mentioned Sudanese women spending a lot on whitening creams. Those creams have myriad of chemicals, increasing cancer risks. Is this worth the 'white' look?

I don't think so!

flamin said...

*white siblings

Lizza said...

h: Ooohh, thankee! Strains of James Blunt's You're Beautiful are now going through my mind.

The sad fact is lots of us 'brownies' ARE easy pieces of ass to them whities (and other colors). But not all. :-)

MD: Sometimes members of our own families are the most cruel (although perhaps unintentionally).

Prometheus said...

Funny, bad white men think of good brown girls as buck funnies (Prometheus' senses have resumed duty that he may avoid the er.. profanity). Now why don't good white gals think of ol Prometheus in non-platonic ways is entirely a mystery.

Lizza said...

Hahaha! Buck funnies. But thou shouldst be grateful for platonic love. In many cases, it outlasts the heat-of-the-moment passion/love kind of thing--which can suck big time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lizza,

Thats an interesting take on the subject. Indeed too many Filipinos have "collonial mentality" (a term used to describe anyone whose mindset is considered foreign). Thats why whiter skin is valued. On the other hand, dark skin is also gaining popularity (at least, I observed this at a particular highschool near where I live). Anything exotic seems to be prized.

Personally, I like whatever's natural. I've always thought that many many women in the world were so much prettier without make-up. That follows for all these "beauty enhancers". The best is what you're born with.



PS - have a great weekend!

Terra Shield said...

It's an Asian dillemma, everyday, we are inundated with all these product that claim to make you fairer in 4 weeks...

Sunblock, I understand... but skin whiteners?

Lizza said...

Juancho & Terra, it's an example of wanting to be what you're not. Over there in the West, many of them tan like crazy. In our part of Asia, many of us want to have fairer skin. Crazy humans, haha

Neda said...

I adore the the way your skin is,
means brown.
but you know it's the matter of not accepting the way we are:)