Let’s Talk About Beauty

During my recent trip to Istanbul, Turkey, I can’t help but notice the beauty of almost everything in that country: beautiful landscape and architecture. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about here.

You can read all about Turkey’s magnificent mosques, the walkway that is filled with mesmerizing tiles, the beautiful buildings, the breathtaking landscapes, resulting in the beautiful scenery and the beautiful people. Yes, that’s what I’m going to talk about here – the beauty of people’s faces.

I stayed in two different hotels and when I first saw some men and women with their heads all wrapped – I was shocked. Were they hurt? Did they just get themselves involved in an accident? And then I saw a few others, also with noses and cheeks wrapped up. It puzzles me profusely.

Until I saw the ‘anesthetic kit’ on the cleaner’s trolley. Now the picture is clear. So let’s talk about beauty –   how one defines beauty and how much this ‘beauty’ thing is making a big deal in people’s life nowadays.


Everyone of every walk of life wants to be as beautiful as celebrities they see on TV or Instagram. In  Malaysia, beauty is largely defined as having fair skin, the same definition that applies in almost all South East Asian and South Asian countries like India, Thailand, Pakistan, Korea, Japan,and China.

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Being a not-so-fair skin female, society does really make sure I get the message that “I’m not pretty” and that “nobody would want to marry me”.  Thank God for  as I grew up, I wasn’t so much into the idea of getting married . So ‘not being pretty’ didn’t really bother me.  I would candidly reply “So? Who wants to get married anyway” , which of course brought me into a whole different argument with whoever made that statement about me not being beautiful enough.

Okay, enough about me.  A friend recently contacted me about helping a teenage girl who’s on suicide watch as her friends and relatives would not cease teasing her for having a darker skin tone.  This girl, who is in fact a very beautiful girl and smart too is being pushed to believe she’s not worth it only because her skin tone doesn’t match the society’s standard of beauty.

We kept having these cosmetic companies selling their beauty products (read:  skin-fairness products) as the main icons in Malaysia.  They’re everywhere – on TV, on events, on Social Media (of course) and they’d do just about anything to promote their products.  Even though there are doctors and health experts warning the public about the side effects of using all these products, the companies are still rocking and flourishing.

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I remember reading the news when I was growing up about teenagers in USA not leaving their houses without makeup, and it makes me wonder just what is wrong with them?  Why can’t they just appreciate their natural beauty?  That was 20 years ago. Today,the same thing is happening in Malaysia.  Kids are already concerned about how they look  so much so  it bothers them more  about how they appear in front of others than trying to enjoying their every moment of their life as a teenager, not as an adult with all the expensive makeups that I myself still can’t afford to have.

I can talk all day about believing in one’s own self, that beauty lies within. You can read up all these pieces from all over the internet and on the self-help sections. The thing is it doesn’t matter how many books and articles you read about self belief and embracing your own uniqueness because when someone talks bad about somebody’s look you would just turn quiet and look away.

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Now I would like to call each and every one of you not to be quiet when you heard people bullying those who don’t meet their standard of beauty. If you hear a mother telling her daughter she’s not fair enough, advise the mother. If you hear friends teasing their friends about how they look, speak up against those negative friends. If you witness teachers making fun of a student’s look – stand up for that unique student! If you ARE the one being called out for not having fair skin or not slim enough, tell them to accept your kind of beauty and to love you for your personality and brain!

So that’s what we should do from now on: speak up and stand up against the mistreatment of others. Nobody deserves to be called ugly! There – I’ve said it.

In the end, if you too don’t believe that you ARE beautiful, how can others believe you? I AM beautiful, so are you.


Farwina Faroque
The non-standard-beauty girl