A Brown Girl’s Take on Beauty Standards

Ok let’s talk beauty standards

As a woman of color who grew up in a predominantly white and privileged area, to again, attending predominantly white private schools, I have always had an internalized skewed view of beauty and myself. 

There are many factors that have caused these insecurities that I am sure a lot of other women of color can relate to; most of them involving the media I was absorbing at such a young age. I remember always watching romantic comedies with my friends and never relating to the main character and feeling almost resentful because I couldn’t be “that girl”. 

By “That girl” I mean the girl who is pinned over, the one who gets her prince charming and drives off in a Mercedes or something. 

It’s not that I hated my ethnicity or the way I looked per se…I just didn’t feel beautiful or validated because of the media I was exposed to and constantly being the different looking one in all of my friend groups. Did my friends treat me any differently? No. Did I still get attention from guys? Yes. (which is not the end all be all but still). But because I had such a weird perception of myself, I kind of rejected that attention and basically convinced myself I wasn’t as pretty or cool or funny as my peers. 

This isn’t to say that it was anyone in my circle’s fault. 

My surrounding environment made me feel like I was out of place in a (White) bubble. It didn’t help that the media I was consuming almost validated those messed up feelings of not getting to be like those girls in the movies, music videos, and even commercials. 

Commercials? Yeah, commercials. I remember visiting Sri Lanka in 2012 and one of the commercials that came on the television was for a skin lightener cream that was supposed to give women “ a lighter and lovely European look”. I was dumbfounded to say the least. That kind of marketing is so harmful for young girls AND guys. I shouldn’t have to change the way my skin looks in order to fit the fucking beauty standard. 

Recently, there has been a shift in the realm of rom coms and shows on widely accessed platforms like Netflix, where there is more representation for Brown girls. Shows like Never Have I Ever and Bridgerton Season 2 showcase a South Asian girl being desired.


This is so important because I know that my 11 year old self would have loved to see this kind of representation in the media. Those powerful females on screen will inspire the next generation of girls like me and show them that they are beautiful and that there is a place for them. It is content that is relatable and comforting for women of color. 

If you can relate to my story of not feeling beautiful or just out of place, I am so sorry; But there seems to be a promising future for more representation of different people in the media to make someone feel less alone. And always remember that there is a place for you even if you don’t always discern it. I hope all of you feel beautiful in your own skin.

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