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Does this count as racist?

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Mark 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #291235

    Katie
    Participant

    I noticed something extremely interesting lately. I have such low self-esteem based on my looks. Why? I always thought I was a pretty girl – and not because it was just in my head that I was. There was a time in my life where people constantly told me how pretty I was. Strangers would come up to me and tell me. I would date very attractive, popular guys in school. Up until recently (about 2-3 years ago) my self-esteem completely plummeted. I didn’t know why. Now realizing, it was because of the way I groomed myself. I used to wear makeup, straighten my hair, and wear nice clothes. I don’t do that anymore except on special occasions. Now, I wear joggers, sweatshirts, no makeup, hair not done, etc. That isn’t what is interesting, though. I asked my very honest friends what they thought of my appearance. I asked them, “why don’t guys hit on me like they used to” and “why do the guys suddenly choose my friends who have always been viewed as less attractive than me?”

    The friends who I asked were Asian and very non-western looking. They told me what they thought was the truth… besides the fact that I don’t dress as nice and look as put together, I look too foreign and unique now. When I straighten my hair, I get rid of my extremely curly hair that I inherited from my mom’s Spanish side. When I pluck my eyebrows to be super thin, I get rid of the very bushy, thick brows I inherited from my dad’s Persian side. When I wear makeup, it slightly hides the Spanish/Middle Eastern-looking eyes that I have. I looked more white. Even though you could still see I had a little bit of foreign in me (I am 50% white, 25% Spanish/Latina, 25% Persian), I looked MORE white than I do now. I don’t straighten my hair anymore because I wanted it to grow long and be healthy (it was dead from all the straightening), but now my hair looks super thick, curly, and makes me look really Spanish. I also let my eyebrows grow out a little (I still pluck them, but they are thicker now which most models have thick brows), but I guess it makes me look more Middle Eastern.

    It’s not all that bad. I still get approached by men when I don’t straighten my hair and clean myself up. But these men are usually foreign (black, Latino, mixed etc). Some are really cute, but I didn’t understand why white guys all of a sudden were choosing to hit on my friends over me when in the past, I was always the one being hit on by white guys over my friends. I know this sounds extremely superficial, and it is, but it’s the truth. I feel as though a part of my low self-esteem is caused by the fact that my majority-white town/college campus rejects my foreign features. And it’s not just with guys… girls aren’t as accepting of me to be their friend while non-white girls easily accept me as their friend.

    I always felt the need to hide my foreign features when I was younger, but when I got older I fell in love with my heritage. I wanted to learn more about my Spanish and Middle Eastern side and I even learned the native languages of my grandmother and grandfather. I guess with time, I began to accept my foreign features and expected everyone else to too. Now, the lack of attention is hurting my heavily-dependent-on-looks self-esteem. I can’t really get mad at people around me if they aren’t into the foreign features that I have. However, a part of me feels as though it stems from racism. I feel as though the lack of foreign actors and actresses in the media and towns like mine that lack diversity can cause people to reject those of other races. I maybe wouldn’t call the people around me racist and discriminating, but it shows the bigger problem of the United States not accepting non-western, non-white people (more specifically, non-western beauty ideals). There are foreign models and actresses who I have always aspired to be like or look like (for example Eiza González, Fiona Barron, Adriana Lima, Cindy Kimberly, etc), but all these Spanish/Asian women are westernized. Either they are half white and accentuate their Caucasian features, or they go through plastic surgery to have their features changed.

    Because my self-esteem is so unfortunately dependent on my looks (I’m working on fixing that), I don’t know if I should go through plastic surgery like my cousin says to fix my nose (which isn’t even that bad, just a tiny bit foreign looking) or if I should accept myself and not care if white guys think I’m pretty or not. It’s just that such a big part of my identity is on being beautiful. I loved it so much. Inside I feel pretty, dainty, kind and I don’t feel like myself if I or others don’t see me as pretty.

    Also, there is confusion as to where my difficulties come from. Am I depressed because I personally don’t see myself as pretty? Or is it because I am no longer receiving feedback that I am pretty? I feel as though it is both. I never believed I was pretty enough or skinny enough, but at least in the past people would tell me that I was to help my self-esteem.

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  Katie.
    • This topic was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  Katie.
    • This topic was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  Katie.
    #291269

    Mark
    Participant

    Katie,

    you posted something very similar previously about being judged by your looks. Did you look at my response?

    Mark

    #291289

    Katie
    Participant

    Mark,

    Yes, but I don’t know why I just can’t change my way of thinking. I’ve tried and I just want to be pretty. It’s weird because I crave approval from others regarding looks, but nothing else. At the same time, I am trying to get my life together which requires me to be working and I can’t take time to dress nice or do my hair or makeup. I really don’t know why but beauty is so important to me.

    #291291

    Mark
    Participant

    Katie,

    I don’t know what to tell you.  We are surrounded by media that tells us what is physically attractive or not.  I assume that you are still in your teens or early 20s.

    All I can say is that if you keep focusing on what you are not then you are setting yourself up to be unhappy.

    Aren’t there other things about you that you enjoy?  that you do well in?  Those are the areas where most of us can focus on and to feel “successful” or happy.

    Good for you for putting effort into getting your life together.  Do that.

    What sort of things are you doing to do that?

    Mark

    #291463

    Katie
    Participant

    Mark,

    Yes you are correct I am 19. And honestly… no there aren’t other things that make me happy. Maybe there was a time when other things made me happy but currently, no. There isn’t. Not even the people around me make me happy except my boyfriend. I don’t feel successful or happy in any area of my life. And if there was, I feel like they were washed away by the constant pressure I feel every day. I was in therapy for a little bit, but I never talked about my body image issues. I’m currently looking for another therapist as I am living somewhere else in the summer. I hope that will help me.

    #291591

    Mark
    Participant

    Katie

    My guess was that you were raised based on how good you looked, that you did not have a happy childhood where your parents were not happy or fun or nurturing.

    Mark

    #293885

    Katie
    Participant

    Mark,

    I don’t know if this could be the cause of it but my parents are pretty uninvolved in my life. My dad is always at his job and my mom has depression so she is in bed a lot. I was directionless and friendless until the age of 14 when my cousin and I got super close and she basically became my parent. She told me what to do and how to act in certain situations. I was really motivated to start my life when my cousin came into the picture because I spent all day doing nothing. I think I did nothing because I had no guidance from my parents. When my cousin helped me, she basically gave me the message that if I want to make friends I needed to look pretty. So I started dressing very nice, doing my hair and makeup, and I made a lot of friends. Then I met one of my best friends who is beautiful and we became super close, but I noticed how much attention she got for her looks. I learned that being pretty = the key to life. Even before my cousin, when I had no friends, I would still occasionally get approached by a guy in my class because he thought I was pretty. For a time, my only social interactions with people in my class were guys who thought I was pretty. That didn’t help.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Katie.
    #293907

    Mark
    Participant

    Katie,

    Now you have this awareness of why pretty=the key to life, it is time to rewrite that story.  I know that it is easier said than done.  I suggest that you find a mentor and/or a circle of friends who can show you that the keys of life are a myriad of other things beside physical looks.

    It will be especially good that you find an adult, a teacher maybe? to be that mentor.  What are your interests?  If you are interested in art then find yourself an art teacher who you can talk with.  This way you can see how someone can be successful and/or happy not based on their looks but from their interests.

    Make sense?

    Mark

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