Are You Sure You Are Pretty?

Whitening lotion

Efi Yanuar

We all know that the media always has their own perspective about the perfect girl/woman. But, I hope you will not get bored if I tell you how media in Indonesia always change their ideal girl/woman.

For the past, maybe, 10-15 years, media in Indonesia changed the criteria of beauty several times. No matter how many times it changes, I’ve never matched their criteria.

When I was 10-12 years old, there was one commercial that I still remember untill now. There were twin girls, Santi and Sinta. They were walking by the beach, but Santi didn’t feel comfortable to walk with her sister. The main reason is she is not as white as Sinta. All eyes (read: boys) are on Sinta.

The commercial never mentioned wether one of their parents are darker than others. The reason Sinta has a flawless white skin is she uses whitening lotion on a daily basis. Sinta shares her secret, in four weeks people can’t tell which one is Santi or Sinta. Both girls have white skin, Santi’s confident spike up gazillion percents.

At that time, media told me that being beautiful is if you have Indonesian white skin or in our term “kuning langsat”, yellowish white (sorry for my bad description). If you have Santi dark skin like almost all Indonesian have, so sorry; you are not beautifull. And, I am one of that dark skined girl. My hope to be beautiful, destroyed by one single commercial.

Couple years after Santi became white, the media wasn’t happy. They made up some new criteria. This time, it was totally different with Santi-Sinta ocasion. Spare your time to take a look at your family tree. Is there any “bule” (Indonesian term to address white skined westeners) in your chart? If there is, congratulations! You are beautiful.

Almost all Indonesian telenovela at that time filled with half-blood Indonesia-bule looking people. They were always being the main star. They didn’t need to worry if they speak only little bahasa Indonesia or lack facial expressions completely, people love it tho’ you only have few lines. Your pretty face on TV is enough to make them happy.

And in order to increase the hype, again lotion commercial, offered new formula for those who want to have european-like-skin. I shook my head to make myself understand that no matter how many bottles I used to bright up my skin, nothing will change. I have to accept that both my parents are just pure blood Indonesian.

Years go by, Indonesia got a chance to feel the Korean fever. All drama, music, movies invaded my country. Girls are crazy about those beautiful-faced Korean superstars. While boys were dreaming about dating one of the sexy Korean girl band members.

Yes they are frickin’ beatifull. I also enjoy those God made sexy creatures.

Until one time I had enough. That is all because of the, again, one whitening cream comercial. This time the cream offers you Korean-esque white skin. It was explicitly mention in the commercial.

This is the scenario of the commercial. The star of the commercial, also the ambassador of the product, is an Indonesian famous singer. She is only in her early 20s (a perfect ambassador to catch the heart of the fangirl). So, she plays as herself. She goes to Korea for her promotion tour. As she walks with a Korean girl, which I bet as her liason officer during her stay, all boys eyes are on her. Those boys gave the same expression of admiration: “mouth open”.

The Korean girl says: wow, you are so popular. Have you already had fan base in Korea? Singer: Uhm no. I think they like my white skined face.

And then the commercial shows the product with the new ingridients. It has a Korean herb which is believed that used by Korean people to keep their skin healthy and white.

If I was the singer, for sure I would get offended. How come I would admit that people like me because of my outer look if I know that I have a talent (this singer really has great angelic voice).

I am still waiting for the next beauty standard the media will make up. I have no clue. But I’m sure a dark skined, curly haired curvy woman like me has pretty much no chance to be beautiful

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