Migrating to a new country can be a challenge for many. For Korean YouTuber Jessica Lee, who lived in the Philippines for nine years, this difficulty transpired through witnessing colorism in the country. While she shared how much she loves the Philippines, it's a topic that she feels should be talked about, so she did!
In a video, Jessica talked about unhealthy beauty standards while sharing her first hand experience with colorism both in the Philippines and in Korea. To top it all off, she discussed these all while putting on morena-style makeup for the first time.
As of writing, the video has received over 300,000 views, with over 24,000 likes. It has also received a tremendous amount of support from Filipinos and from many women all over the world. She raised many interesting points in the video, and we break all of them down below:
For her base, Jessica used a concealer that's a few shades darker than her skin tone to mimic that tanned look. She used a product that's popular in the Philippines as well, but thing is, when she bought it from Olive Young (which she calls the "the Watsons of Korea"), the YouTuber shares that the shade was labeled as a "contouring shade," and was the darkest product she could find in the shop. Mind you, it wasn't that much darker than Jessica's skin tone, which obviously calls for the need of a shade expansion not only in Korea but in the Philippines, too.
She went on and set her base with a brown eyeshadow as she took us down memory lane. She explained the difference between morena and mestiza, and shared that she knew this because people used to comment about her tan skin as a child. "Many people would say mestiza is more beautiful than morena and that's probably because of colorism. However, the beauty trends in the Philippines are changing, and I'm really happy about that," Jessica continues.
When it comes to Filipino beauty standards, Jessica says, "People would say 'Oh, having fair skin, and having the Western-looking eyes, and having a tall nose." She said this is similar to Korean beauty standards, which is also the reason why Koreans rarely contour—they want to preserve fairer skin.
This, the vlogger continues, can be traced back to the division of the rich and working class of the past. Clearly, the former who didn't have to work had lighter skin, and in the context of the Philippines, these were our colonizers, and the latter who worked long hours under the sun had dark skin. Basically, it wasn’t just colorism that birthed this standard, but classism also came to play.
Obviously, she said, humans have a natural instinct for aesthetics, so it's normal to have a preference. "Like when a five-year-old kid can tell what is beautiful and what is ugly, the role of the society would be allowing that kid to acknowledge all the kinds of beauty that's out there," she explains. "Giving him or her the ability to see the beauty in everything so that, I guess, the world will be a better place to live in for any, any people."
As she proceeded to recreate the sharp and clean brow look that's popular in the Philippines, she proceeded to talk about how beauty standards create an unhealthy division, as it forces the idea that something must either be black or white, and never gray, to be classified as beautiful.
Jessica then called out the common attitude of Filipinos being discriminatory against their fellow Filipinos regarding their skin color. However, she justified that this behavior often stems from their lack of awareness of the actual situation. She also emphasized that it's okay to want to have fairer skin if you think it looks better on you. But perpetuating the stereotype that fair skin is better than darker skin, is not, and should finally stop.
After finishing her morena-style look, Jessica reiterated how personal makeup is. "It's not like you have put makeup to be prettier...There are no such rules," she says. Taking her advice, whether you love a full face of glam or prefer a natural look, you can be beautiful in your own terms.
Watch the full video below: