Lifestyle Reflections

Skin Shaming

“Girl! You are as pale as a ghost!”

“Woah, you haven’t been outside much, have you?”

“Wow, I bet you glow in the dark!”

For me and many others born with this delightful color of pale skin, these are just a few of the comments we hear on a regular basis. And even though I’m used to receiving them and mostly brush them off or make a joke about my specific shade of white-ness, I’ve started to wonder: how did this become OK?

We know it’s not polite to comment on someone’s eye color. They can’t change it! And we know not to comment on people’s hair color. Maybe they did change it! So, why is it acceptable to comment on my skin color?

Photo by Desiree Fawn, Creative Commons

By now, we’ve all heard the stories about culture influencing skin preference: like at some point, pale skin was once a sign of wealth and privilege and at another time, was so desirable that it was worth poisoning one’s face with lead. And don’t even get me started on all the misconceptions about dark skin that would fill a million blog posts.

And also by now, we’ve also learned the detriments of tanning, both under the sun or under the lights: like CANCER and sagging and early aging.

So, why do we still want people/me to be change my skin color?

Commenting on my skin color tells me that what I’m born with isn’t good enough. That I should be different. That I need to change to be socially acceptable. That I need to put my body at risk of disease to avoid judgment.  And in a society that stands up against body shaming, it seems we’ve missed the piece that wraps around, oh, I don’t know, my entire body!

So, let’s stop.

I’ll talk to you and you’ll talk to me and we’ll leave our skin out of it.

Lindsay Sig


13 comments on “Skin Shaming

  1. Redhead here and I totally know what you’re saying!! I used to complain that people called me pale, and my brother would tell me I just need to correct them and say that it’s called fair-skinned. Somehow that gave me more confidence. I still like having some color but it’s not worth all the risks anymore. Power to the pale!! (err…fair-skinned!!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. People don’t stop and think before they make a comment and it’s worse when it is something you don’t choose for yourself color. We are all different in many ways and none of us made the decision of what color our skin is, or the type of eyes we have, how short or tall we are, how we laugh….and the list goes on….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate. I always get the ‘Put those legs away or I’ll have to get the sunglasses out!’. I like my white skin! I’d rather that than sunburn, blisters, wrinkles and cold sores (which I get from too much sun). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a child I was teased relentlessly for my dark skin. As a teen and young adult I was told I was pretty – “for a dark skinned girl” – as if dark skin wasn’t typically considered beautiful. As an adult, I have grown to absolutely love my dark complexion. I think my deep chocolate glow is gorgeous. And when someone says something about it; I recognize that their comment is just a symptom of their own insecurity with the skin they’re in.

    Good post. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m so glad you posted this from your perspective! My husband is fairly fair with strawberry blonde hair, and when we went on our honeymoon in the DR we were called on stage to dance and he was made fun of endlessly by the host! He kinda shrugged it off, but I knew it didn’t feel great to be called out in front of so many people at a butt of joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Idontwearahat.

    You’re pale too, huh? I always get called Casper. It can grate after a while. Especially as my partner usually looks tanned, compared with me I’m milk white! You just have to embrace it.

    Liked by 1 person

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