I just…are we really about to try to white face a woman that just passed. Really? Somebody come get your cousins & beat them until they’re less stupid.
I…I don’t understand.
i am unamused.
Dear FHM Magazine Philippines,
I’ll waste no time and get straight to the point here. I’m not one to use harsh words, but your March 2012 cover is an insult to the global community. On behalf of women of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones, I feel personally angered by the image you’ve chosen, a clear picture that blatantly depicts the “superiority” of light skin to dark. The subtitle itself, “Stepping out of the Shadows”, further demonstrates this statement, linking the metaphor of darkness with an unmistakable negative connotation.
Now I’m aware that some arguments defend this as art. While I am a big proponent for the freedom of creative expression, one would be ignorant to deny that the image you have chosen has dangerous cultural contexts that directly point back to colorism and racism.
Yes, colorism and racism, two very lethal and loaded words. For anyone who believes that “racism is so last century”, I strongly urge you to open up your eyes and hold up a mirror to your own insular and limited view of the world as a whole, which, I respectfully remind you, is in fact, still fighting inequality.
So for you who dismiss this image as a simple exhibition of art, I offer this quote by author and scholar Minh-Ha T. Pham, who so profoundly questions and asserts,
Do racist acts require intentionality? The obvious answer is no…Racism is so deeply entrenched and pervasive in many societies that everyday racism, the kind of racism that is experienced in civic life (through social relationships, media, interpersonal workplace dynamics, etc.) is often unintentional.
To put it simply, choosing an image like this to represent your company, whether intentional or unintentional, is an irresponsible move that inevitably strikes an insult on the global community. After all, we have now arrived at the era of instantaneous global communication, so messages and images can now be transmitted more expansively than ever.
Furthermore, this image single-handedly creates tensions and stereotypes in spaces of both race and gender. Yes, for real, it is that deep, son. Let me explain:
In light of Jeremy Lin’s rising ascent and the burgeoning insults that pit Asian people against Blacks, this is an urgent conversation that MUST be addressed. We MUST begin to repair the broken bridge between our two communities and recognize the inexorable commonalities and struggles that we share. Disappointingly, images like this further our divide, and reinforce destructive perceptions of one another.
The Philippine society is so quickly (and rightfully) angered when Floyd Mayweather, an African-American boxer, spits racist remarks about our beloved Manny Pacquiao, yet we are also just as quick to retort an equally offensive remark against the Black community.
Intentional or not, it’s still, quite simply, a fucked up cycle (for lack of better words).
Most of all, I am passionately furious at this image because this is a cruel attack on women and our struggle to accept and love ourselves because of our skin color. The politics of beauty in the Philippines has long been entrenched with colonial mentality, a practice that has put colorism as its primary tenet.
The original complexion of the Filipino more closely resembles that of our brothers and sisters in Africa than the Spaniards, who have caused such turmoil in our society. Yet the Spaniards’ influence, as demonstrated by your cover image, has evidently left lasting poison that has been deeply embedded in our self-image.
I’ve heard stories about women putting themselves through the pains of bleaching their skin, suffering under horrendous skin peelings and burns in pursuit of their learned definition of beauty. This oppressive definition of beauty has scarred our self-esteem, disfiguring the truth that we are beautiful, striking, and powerful women—no matter what shade of color we are.
Now, FHM, I completely understand that you’re not exactly the kind of publication that cares so much about being politically correct than to sell sexy images of women for men (and women) to enjoy. But to use your influence to create socially prejudiced and damaging statements is downright irresponsible and unnecessary.
I’m aware you don’t have to listen to me. But I was just hoping to offer a humble attempt at the kind enlightenment the world needs right now, you feel me?