Women with dark skin are sharing selfies on Twitter after decades of being underrepresented in the mainstream media. But not everyone is happy.
When you type ‘beautiful skin’ into Google, hundreds of women’s faces come up.
They’re all white.
The only non-white faces feature lower down on the next page.
Type in ‘perfect skin’ and the same thing happens.
Most of the images seem to come from cosmetic companies – the majority of which use white models to portray beauty in their ads.
By doing so they continue to reinforce the idea that white = beautiful and not so white = not so beautiful.
But they’re not the only culprits.
Mainstream media – from TV and movies to magazines – is still predominantly white and the ‘token ethnic women’ are all groomed to fit in to that same beauty standard.
Take Aishwarya Rai. She’s Indian and a former Miss World – but with her green eyes and fair skin she doesn’t really represent most Indian women.
Naomi Campbell and Kerry Washington are recognised as two beautiful black women – but they both have the straight, glossy hair that most black people don’t naturally have.
It’s really no surprise that dark-skinned young women across the world end up feeling like the only skin that matters is white skin.
But now these women are taking matters into their owns hands and fighting back.
They’re sharing selfies on Twitter of their dark skin with the new hashtag#FlexinMyComplexion.
The idea is to remind the world that dark skin does exist and, shock horror, it can be just as attractive as light skin.
In just one week, the hashtag was used more than 85,000 times with women across the world coming together to celebrate their diverse skin.
The only problem was that people with lighter skin started to feel left out.
Just as with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter – used after police shootings in America – white people said they felt alienated.
Some even went so far as to say the hashtag was racist; couldn’t they flex their complexion too?
It’s created a debate all about race on social media with some dark-skinned women saying they shouldn’t use the hashtag – while others agree it’s OK.
The problem is that the idea behind the hashtag is to specifically give a platform to dark-skinned women who feel they’ve been neglected by mainstream media.
While the ultimate goal is diversity, not exclusion, the whole point of #FlexinMyComplexion to give these women a voice.
It’s great that people of all colours want to get involved and show support – and they shouldn’t be criticised for it – but anyone who uses the hashtag needs to know what it really means.
#FlexinMyComplexion isn’t racist, nor is it deliberately excluding anyone.
It’s just a social media movement that’s borne out of good intentions and is trying to make brands, and the rest of the world, to recognise that beautiful skin doesn’t just come in one colour.
Source: The Telegraph