Asia Jackson: Redefining Standardized Beauty

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By Lyka Mae P. Chiang

We, Filipinos, are blessed with naturally tanned skin. This feature has always made us stand out among all the other races. However, not all of us take pride in having this complexion.

IMG_9627For many years now, there has been a misconception created among the minds of the Filipinos. It’s gotten so bad to the point that even as a kid, we were made believe that being fair skinned translates to being pretty, thus having a dark skin tone got us entitled to bullying or being called pangit and baluga. And it’s not just a thing of the past. Up until today, we still see individuals discriminate our fellow countrymen because of the society’s beauty standards they fail to meet.

At such a young age, Filipina-Black actress Asia Jackson became a victim of standardized beauty. Being a mixed race from two nations recognized for dark complexion, she was born possessing a tawny, beige skin. During her stay in the Philippines where she attended school for a few years before she settled in California, she felt profoundly affected by the notion implicted into the society.

“Every moment I spent there, I became increasingly more frustrated with the colorism so deeply woven into the culture…the toxic idea that dark skin was ugly made me ashamed and embarrased of my skin tone,” said Jackson in a Twitter post.

IMG_9626Due to the pressing need to address the issue of colorism in the Philippines, Jackson decided to raise awareness among the public by spearheading the #MagandangMorenx campaign, which is geared towards “challenging the traditionally enforced beauty standards within mainstream Filipino media.”

The movement, which started last October 27, encourages tan-skinned individuals to showcase their beauty by tweeting their favorite selfies and redefine the meaning and understanding of Filipino beauty.

“Tan and brown-skinned Filipinos are made to feel insecure, ashamed, and embarassed of their skin despite being indegenous to a cluster of tropical islands in the southeast Pacific, where the geography climate make brown skin the norm,” explained Jackson. “#MagandangMorenx was created to empower, reclaim, and redefine what it means to be a Filipino and to celebrate our diversity of color.”

The campaign then gained popularity from Twitter users, and Filipinos residing in different continents across the globe wholeheartedly supported and actively engaged in it. The courage Jackson had garnered and the compassion she had shown to these people paved the way for acceptance and self-love that they missed for so many years of their lives.

“It took me a very long time for me to love my color as it is, and I never want anyone to feel the way that I did,” added Jackson.

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Aside from the campaign, Jackson continues to spread the advocacy of loving authenticity through her Youtube channel called “Asia The Asian Does Asian Things,” where she collaborates with other content creators to try and discover different traditions in Asia.

This generation indeed is where we should start to break the norms that continue to let down our image and culture. This is the time to create better ones that would contribute to the betterment of the lives of many Filipinos through empowerment. And, just like Jackson, we should never be afraid to stand up for what we believe in.

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