Colors of our skins

Por Gerardo Sierra.

It’s impressive how the human being is going forward in so many subjects such as technology, architecture, art, music, etc. and so little on being human. I’m aware that being in Mexico most of the times works as a quirky point of view on racism, we were conquered by the spaniards and since then they were considered gods for the color of their skin. We learned since we were young (I’m talking as a 32 yo millennial) that a white skin person is more attractive, he can be an embodiment of richness, he’s from a higher class, he can be a total snob. When we see a model that doesn’t fit these beauty standards we find it exotic and it’s because we don’t see them quite often… something that has to change.

There are tons of postures on whether a brand should use diverse skin models and they can be both good and bad depending on how we stand on this matter: it’s to be inclusive, because it’s a trend, trying to stand out, to be better received, trying to educate their audience, because the brand doesn’t want to be attacked on social media (like the case of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week México) or even just because they wanted to. On the MBFWMx case there wasn’t a big fuss about it because this brand is one of the most important ones commercial wise in Latin America, but not the most followed/admired one by fashion alumni. What happened was that they posted an image one #blacklivesmatter and there’s no dark skin models in their feed… except for a mention on Farrell from another Fashion Week event.

“LOL, dude… tell me this is a joke.” Tweet by Miranda Mendonca

Leaving this behind, in Mexico we don’t se a mayor inclusion on skin tones for magazine covers or for brand campaigns. What some brands tend to do is use white models or dark skin, nothing in between. There are a few worth mentioning like Ben & Frank, Marni, Maison Kitsune, among others. Let’s get back to the point.

I agree that one of the hardest things to do as an individual is to break the structured views we were raised with about “perfect beauty”, the truth is that we can find that term in anyone. The body features are imprefect in all ways and beauty goes further than skin color, hair types, voices, accent, eye color, nails, anything. We can keep following the beauty standards already learned, I personally have nothing against what’s already beautiful… but we have to widen the concept and start feeling for real what’s beautiful.

We’ve heard tons of times that “Beauty in the eye of the beholder“, that “inside beauty is more important than the outside“.There’s people that have certain preference on skin color when it comes to partnership and that’s considered racism, BUT let’s put this on hold for a minute. We’re all attracted by a person for different factors: smell, looks, poise, attitude, etc. Looks is the first thing we notice from a distance, but that beauty aspect of a person can fade in less than 20 minutes. You can be with the most handsome or beautiful being and after you get used to that “view” you start noticing more things: charisma, intelligence, knowledge, views, preferences, etc. These don’t have skin color, they’re not measured in ounces or kilograms, they don’t have a defined shape. They cannot be materialized, you can only evaluate them on whether it matches or not with you. How would our world be if we apply this to everything else? Just like when you’re bedazzled by a brand’s new collection: the look, the campaign, the styling, etc. When you wear or use that product, your perception might change. It can either be as fabulous as you thought, better or worse.

In Mexico there’s classism and racism, most of the times we don’t completely understand racism in other parts of the world because the level is just different. In a very personal closing note, I want to address the fact that this issue had white skin models mostly… I want to change this and not only because I’m the editor or owner of this magazine. Anyone can break those mind and cultural barriers, it’s all on the little actions we take from home, thoughts, programs and series we consume, etc. I’m asking you not to hate what is stablished as good or bad, start knowing that you can love differently from what you already know, we can be better for everyone.

UPDATE June 19th, 2020:

After the “El racismo no es un chiste” (Racism is no joke) forum, there were different mentions around social media, specially twitter. This is a moment to change what we didn’t notice before if we don’t take action on this from our homes. The mexican society was raised through bullying and humiliation on anything possible like skin color, socioeconomic level, kind of house, number of brothers, parent’s job, hair type, clothing size, food habits… Anything! This wasn’t just from home, as the speakers said on the forum, this was consumed through comedy sketches on national television. There’s a small amount of people in Mexico that don’t consume the free television services, they’re more fond of the international content. This is for various reasons: quality, production, stories, writing, casting, etc. We’re aware that malinchism (hating on our roots) is how we govern our way of buying stuff, but again, the change has to be made by ourselves first.

Making this change can be a little hard for some because there’s the idea that we have to think on our audience’s needs to actually have a profitable business but we have the power (I know this will sound harsh but) to reeducate our audiences. I’ve seen how some friends are making differences in their businesses by sticking to their ideals, values and project bases. We’re all human and each brand we have/create I believe them to be some sort of extension of our own selves, like an alter ego. If you find it hard to start with in your own home, you think you might be able to do that from your alter ego? Just saying.

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