I think it is time we remove the labels placed on beauty. Jamaican women are beautiful because of our differences.
The Caribbean has always been described as a melting pot of races and ethnicities. Our culture has deposits from the motherland, Africa, South and Central America as well as Europe. Beauty has many facets as defined by the Caribbean woman. However, in Jamaica, two of the major determining factors of beauty are the tone of your skin and the texture or curl pattern of your hair.
Ever since we were mere toddlers, we were conditioned to believe that a lighter complexion and looser curl patterns are more superior or more beautiful than a darker complexion with tighter or kinkier coils. The ever present tension between the Brownin’- those of a lighter complexion; and the Blackie- those of a darker complexion has caused the society to place unwanted labels and created unnecessary segregation.
A brownin’ is perceived by society to have life a bit on the easier side than the individual with a darker skin tone because they always seem to be on the winning side of socioeconomic factors such as poverty, education and income which also, by Jamaican standards, have a direct correlation with beauty.
If you think I am lying, ask any regular Jamaican to define beauty.
I can almost guarantee that the person will likely be in favour of the brownin’. I know this because of personal experiences. I have been in situations where I have been favoured over my friends with a darker complexion. It was an uncomfortable feeling and I felt like I was being ‘singled out.’ I have also been in situations where I had to prove my authenticity as a Jamaican because of my skin tone. I can remember growing up and my parents would take me and my siblings to ‘country’ (the more rural side of Jamaica) and the residents of the area would be afraid to talk to us or they would start ‘twanging’ because they thought we were from ‘farrin’.
One of Jamaica’s major cities, Kingston, has been socially divided into the ‘uptown’ and ‘downtown’ groups. It goes without saying that the ‘uptown’ group is perceived as individuals with lighter skin tones, higher education and more lucrative careers while the ‘downtown’ group is perceived as those individuals with darker skin tones from the lower class with ‘hand to mouth’ jobs.
As a job seeker, if your address falls anywhere close to the downtown area, you might find yourself being snubbed of potential employment. It is a frustrating reality because our beauty should never be defined by our socio-economic factors such as where we work or where we live and especially not by factors beyond our control such as our skin colour or our hair texture.
We are one nation filled with a colourful mixture of races, religions and cultural beliefs therefore I do not think beauty should be defined as any ONE thing.
What are your thoughts?