When people first meet me, they tend to first notice one thing: and that is my skin tone. I am a pale person. I’m not talking about your average white person here. I’m talking about the kind of blinding whiteness that you might think akin to the surface of the sun. My friends call me a flashlight. To make matters worse, my hair is naturally a bit dark, especially in the winter. The contrast creates an even more pale appearance.
I remember going to the pediatrician once for my yearly check-up when I was a little girl. I was sitting on the table, swinging my feet, and the nurse noted that I had been to the office just a mere three weeks earlier for strep throat. “Poor thing,” she said, and added, “Oh, and she still looks pale from it too. Are her symptoms gone?”
My mother then had to explain that this was indeed just my skin tone, and no, it was not because I was physically ill.
(I also had a nurse, when I was maybe 16, tell me that I deficient in vitamin D after some testing. She then laughed, looked at me, and said, “I think we all know why.” I didn’t laugh back.)
When I go to the swimming pool, I constantly have people, sometimes strangers, pointing out how pale I am. My typical response, growing up, was “What!?! Really!?! I never noticed.” And then I would stare at my arms in awe. (I guess you could say I was always this sarcastic.)
I should probably inform you that tanning isn’t an option for me. I’m either pale or lobster red. The closest thing I get to tan is when a sunburn is fading. And it’s really not worth being burnt for that. Any kind of fake tan would look absolutely ridiculous on my fair skin. So that’s never been an option for me.
Oddly enough, I never really cared. I mean, sure, my skin is high maintenance. I have to wash it twice a day, moisturize properly… Not to mention all of the sun problems. If I’m outside for more than 15 minutes, then yes, I do have to put sunscreen on any exposed skin. I carry sunblock in my purse. My eye doctor and dermatologist both lecture me about wearing sunglasses whenever I’m outside because my eyes are actually more sensitive to light due to their pale blue color.
Seriously, I only know two or three makeup brands that carry my foundation color. The palest color most brands have is too dark for me.
But still, I love my skin. I’ve never had a problem with it. I just really, really like it. My theory (as I am a psychology major, you know) is that it goes way back to my childhood. To my Disney princess obsession. I don’t know if any of you have had the honor to see Snow White at least fifty times, but I have. I loved that movie. Cinderella and the Little Mermaid too. You know what all these ladies have in common?
That’s right. They share my skin tone. When I was little girl, I thought I had princess skin. So I loved it, and I still do. I feel no shame for it, none at all.
I believe every little girl should have that kind of experience. I believe they should be able to look up at a screen and see a beautiful princess that looks like them. I believe this with my entire heart. And when they get older, and people try to throw punches and stop them from loving their skin, or jean size, or hair or heritage, they can remember that they’re a damn princess, and nothing can stop them. Disney seems to be hearing this message, louder now than ever before, and they’re making their princesses more and more diverse. Think Moana, and the Princess and the Frog (one of my personal favorites).
I watched a video yesterday about a beautiful woman that had the opposite problem as me. People told her that her skin was too dark. People tried to make her feel ashamed. Brands didn’t carry her skin color. I think, from the way she talked about it, it was probably harder for her to find makeup than it ever was for me. But she found brands and started making makeup tutorials for girls like her, girls that had beautiful dark black skin and faced the same struggles. She is representing herself to girls everywhere, and I find that so, so incredibly inspiring.
So Disney, you go. Diverse make-up you-tubers and beauty bloggers: you too. Keep making new princess movies with diverse heroines, and keep showing beauty in every possible way. Keep showing us strong, diverse women that save the day, and let little girls of all kinds know that they are princesses too.
Peace out or whatever.