23 May 2006

beauty is in the eye of...?

Since the Superficial has been down, I've replaced it with Pink is the New Blog, a less snarky, more down-to-earth feeling version of the celeblog. I can't get over how Pink is run by some random guy from Detroit (who as a result of the blog?) gets to go to all these random events and well-known to celebs.

Anyway, while looking on Pink one day, I noticed this alleged before/after comparison of Jessica Alba and her nose originally from Plastic Fantastic.

I could go on an intellectualized diatribe about internalized racism and oppression (because you know I love that stuff), but to be honest...my first reaction seeing this wasn't cerebral. It was visceral, emotional. I felt sick to my stomach to think of how many times I have hated my own round, and even worse, unfully-bridged nose. Suddenly, I had flashbacks of my mother chiding me as a child to "pinch my nose" at my every idle moment. I remembered about how I learned about the popping of blood vessels with too much pressure when I placed a clothespin on the bridge of my nose when I was about 8.

Noses are one of those topics in Filipino culture that is similar to skin color among people of color or hair texture among Black women. We all grew up hearing that Filipino noses weren't cute, but ugly. To keep pinching because cartilage can change shape as you grow. My mom comments on how my nose gotten sharper since I was a kid make it seem as if I had made some great accomplishment to take me far in life. It feels like crap hear and see in the media and outside world that you don't measure up to the White European standard of beauty, but it hurts even more to hear it from your family and others who look like you. Eventually you take those messages in and they become a part of your inner commentary to yourself and your own standards of beauty.

Today I feel embarassed about having these self-denigrating feelings. I am ashamed of how these are only a tip of the iceberg of how, in the past and even in the present, I have rejected my culture and identity (I've been too scared to actually put into words the blog entry already in my head about my secret childhood pride in being a "twinkie" - yellow on the outside and white on the inside). At least I'm in a place now where I would take the cute, "before" Jessica Alba nose any day over the "after" nose.

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