Personal Experience: Eurocentric Beauty Standards

I’d like to say that my thoughts and actions aren’t dictated by race, but that would be a lie. That would be a lie for anyone. I was recently reminded of an old text post: “the first thought that goes through your mind is what you have been conditioned to think; what you think next defines who you are,” which made me forgive myself for the subconscious judgments that sometimes arise. What we have been conditioned to think could be what society tells us, what our peers tell us, and our past experiences. (These are not mutually exclusive categories, as one always affects the other, but they are good landmarks to look for.) I am always harsh and critical towards myself, and often will ruminate over a judgment I made towards someone, judging myself for having the thought in the first place. This is counterproductive, however, because thoughts are just thoughts.

Societal Beauty Standards:

The environment a child is surrounded by greatly shapes their views of themselves later into adolescence and adulthood. Offhand comments that may not seem like a big deal can have a huge impact on a child, especially when said by an adult. Being Chinese and born in Canada, I was exposed to many confusing experiences when it came to my self-worth, self-image, and ideals of beauty as it related to my race.

Living in a Western society, we subscribe heavily to Eurocentric beauty standards. This is ingrained into kids since birth. Representation matters. Growing up, I rarely saw role models or actresses who looked like me. I was mostly surrounded by other Caucasian kids but I never really thought much about it until someone pointed it out to me. It was unfortunately pointed out by a teacher, when I was only about 8 years old. We were doing an art project as a class, where we would stand in front of a light so the teacher could trace the silhouettes of our side profiles, then we would decorate or paint the picture. I remember in our there were only 4 Asian kids, all Chinese – 2 boys and 2 girls. The teacher was doing my tracing and she made a comment about how flat my nose was, and how full my lips were. I remember her laughing, and I really do not think it was malicious, but this stuck with me. Later, my friend compared my silhouette with hers and commented on how much flatter my face was compared to hers. This was the first time that someone pointed out I was different.

When I was 10 I got my first pair of glasses. The lady working at the shop seemed amused by how difficult it was to find a pair that fit me and didn’t slide down my nose because of my low bridge. In the end they had to insert nose pads into the frame so they would fit me. She was very friendly and good-natured about it, however I felt awful. It was another reminder that I was different, driving the wedge even further. I felt like I was an inconvenience for having my facial structure, and reprimanded myself for not being “normal”.

When I was 14, I was getting my makeup done for grade 9 grad. I went with a small group of friends and I was the only Chinese Canadian kid. The woman doing my makeup commented on how full my lips were compared to my friends. She told me not to worry, it was a good thing, and I was very lucky to have such big brown eyes. Although these words were kind and likely only had good intentions, I only felt like I was being singled out. As a very shy and sensitive kid in the first place, I hated being reminded that I was different. I didn’t want to look white per se – all I knew was that I wanted people to stop pointing out that I was different.

I do not think any of these people were being racist or trying to be hurtful intentionally. In the end, though, this took a toll on my self image and self esteem. I think that these experiences I went through are simply what happens when you are a minority. However, Canada is becoming increasingly multicultural, and I do think it is important to work towards a shift in attitudes that will reflect our multiculturalism. I think this can only be beneficial. The idea, however, is not to put down European/Caucasian beauty standards. They can still be embraced, while at the same time embracing the unique features found in different races and learn to measure our self worth with other means, not solely on beauty/appearance.

To read about my further confusing experiences of Asian beauty, see: Fetishism isn’t flattery

Worthy

Know your worth.
Know that you, just as everyone else, is worthy of love.
Don’t let yourself stay with someone who wants to be with another
When all you want is to be wanted by someone who only wants you.
When she leaves, and you remain as his remaining crutch,
The only shoulder to cry on
You will always be wondering
What if she stayed?

Go ahead and cover the walls of your glass room with pictures of a fantasy.
Paint the insides of your eyelids with what you want to see
And tell yourself that you’re fine. That this is what you wanted.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re in control
And then force yourself to feel what you think you should feel.
Live in your false comfort.

Dream, imagine, and hope all you want
But know it does not have to be this way. 

Not as long as you believe you are worthy. 

HOW TO DESTROY A GIRLS SELF ESTEEM

TW: this post talks about/alludes to emotional abuse, suicide and sexual assault

  1. Target a vulnerable girl. Someone shy, already slightly insecure, depressed. Get her to open up to you. Shower her with attention and flattery. Write songs for her. Serenade her. Show her grand gestures of love. Make her feel beautiful and worth loving.
  2. As soon as you’ve caught her, there’s no need to try. Lie to her. Start reconnecting with your ex girlfriends and flirting with other girls. Tell her she’s possessive and clingy if she expresses discomfort. Hide your activity and sneak around behind her back. To really make it sting, be just a little careless – enough for her to find some information to be suspicious, but not enough for her to be certain.
  3. When she asks you about any of these things, deny. Even if you weren’t doing anything wrong, just lie for no reason at all. Lie to make her question everything you say. If she sees text messages between you and another girl, delete them and show her your phone again. Make her question her own sanity.
  4. Make sure she knows about how attractive you find other girls. Sometimes people you know, sometimes random models or actresses. Talk about how hot these girls are. Make lewd comments and lust over them openly in front of her. Click the like button on every photo you do this to. This will condition her to remember your reaction everytime she sees a guy like a picture of an attractive girl. The beauty of this is that you can then tell her she’s being jealous and clingy. And every future guy will say the same because they won’t know what you did to make her so insecure.
  5. Tell her how hot she would be if she only looked like those girls. Maybe if she had bigger breasts. If she worked out and got a little more muscular. If she just gained a little weight. Say it in a lighthearted tone, as if they are friendly suggestions and you’re just trying to help. Then there will always be a part of her wondering if she is being compared to others.
  6. Pressure her to sexually gratify you. Make her feel bad if she doesn’t. Make it seem like what you’re asking for is normal. Guilt her. How dare she kiss you and not want to do anything else? She has to finish what she started. No, not later – now. If all else fails, remember you’re a lot stronger than her – just hold her down, ignore that annoying crying and do what you need to do.
  7. If she breaks up with you, make her pay for it. You know she is scared to open up about her depression because she fears she will “infect” the people she loves. So all of a sudden, call her up one night and scream and yell and call her every name you can think of. She’s fucked up and she ruins everyone around her. Tell her she should be ashamed because now you’re depressed and suicidal and it’s all her fault. Tell her you’re going to self harm and kill yourself and it will be all her fault. You know she cares too much and she’s too nice to hang up the phone, so she stays up all night making sure you’re okay while you tell her how awful she is under a guise of hurt and self victimization.
  8. After she finally cuts you out, isolate her from all her friends. She has opened up about all her fears and flaws. Use these against her. Make yourself look like the victim. Make sure she has nobody. Make sure rumors about her keep spreading.
  9. Eventually, she’ll find new friends. She’ll move on and meet someone new. No worries, there’s other ways you can try to control her. Send her anonymous messages over text, Facebook, and on her blog. Taunt her and harass her by threatening to talk to her father, sister, or current boyfriend. She’ll block you, but be persistent. There are so many anonymous apps and platforms available for all your harassment needs.
  10. Make a fake Facebook and email under her name and try to turn people against her. She will be terrified. She will suspect it’s you, but since you’ve turned so many people against her she doesn’t know for sure anymore.
  11. Over the next few years, keep messaging her anonymously. A nice monthly tradition. Say encouraging things to her. Typical stuff like, “Happy New Year! Hope this is the year you finally kill yourself!” Give her comments out of the blue about her outfit or what she’s doing at that moment. This will make her feel on edge. She will constantly be looking over her shoulder or peeking out of windows, unsure of who’s watching her. She will be paranoid and afraid.
  12. Eventually you will give up the game, but don’t worry. The damage has been done. Even years later, she will still have these reactions ingrained in her. When she’s in a healthy, happy, consensual relationship she will sporadically remember how it felt when you forced yourself on her, feel a huge wave of dread and break down. She will always be actively fighting the nagging voice in her head saying, if only you looked more like her. If only you were prettier, fitter, curvier… She will always be suspicious of people’s motives, she will be unable to fully trust any guy. She will self destruct and sabotage relationships with people who truly care for her.

Congratulations! After wasting years bitterly holding a grudge, stalking, harrassing, and intimidating her, you’ve done it. Was it worth it?