This piece was created in honor of my take on the song “Strawberry Blonde” by Mitski. Many interpret the piece as a song about yearning, most traditionally for love- my interpretation follows with that line of reasoning. I believe “Strawberry Blonde” is about a deep yearning. However, I perceive it as a desire held by women of color to fall in with the traditional standard of western beauty. A standard that is notably tailored towards white women. All across Asia, and many other countries, skin bleaching is a common cosmetic practice. Lighter skin means beauty. That is what we are taught, subliminally, from day one. Our movie stars are white, our models, even our own cultures tell women of color that it is better to be white. Growing up in a predominantly white community has undoubtedly shaped my views on femininity. It, as a whole, is an ideal wholly catered to white women, not just as a standard of appearance. I have felt the same yearning to be white all throughout my childhood. It is a terribly subconscious desire. There have never been days where I have felt beautiful. And, though few and far between, there are still days where I think about how much prettier I’d be if only I possessed whiter features. On the surface, my family members and I will always be perpetual foreigners.
But I want to grow from that. I want our Western world to grow from that. I hope to live in a society that celebrates features from all ethnicities as a hallmark of beauty. I am still learning to love my own features.