Euro-Centric Beauty Standards

For over 300 years, the Spanish taught the Filipinos that they were second class citizens in their own country through establishing a skin colour hierarchy system. Dark skin was considered inferior as it was associated with hardworking Filipinos who had to work manual labor in the sun, while lighter skin was associated with the higher class, made up of the Spanish and mixed-race Filipinos.

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Today, many Filipinos around the world continue to perpetuate the notion that dark is dirty and that having whiter skin makes one more beautiful. This desire to have light skin stems from the Philippines’ European colonial history.

This is evident in the ways that the media, film, and beauty industries represent Filipinos: Euro-centric Filipinos are at the forefront of the media. Despite the mental health issues it poses, the skin whitening industry is one of the biggest in the Philippines.

Morente, Desmond R. Deconstructing the Colonial Mentality and Ethnic Identity of Filipinos: An Exploratory Study of Second Generation Filipinos. 2015.

Samson, Carl. Filipina Woman Wins Twitter for Slamming the Philippines’ Obsession With White Skin. NextShark. 22 September 2017.