My youtube channel makes some interesting suggestions sometimes. Most of the time it suggests diy projects, photography, Ellen, sharks and acrylic pours. It also occasionally suggests uplifting content. Most recently, one of the "What Would You Do" videos, headlined "Teen Wanting to Look Whiter," popped up. Heart strings tugged and interest in this social experiment drew me in.
In the video, two young black girls are discussing skin bleaching. The girls are actors attempting to instigate reactions from the surrounding people. Unfamiliar with these practices and unfamiliar with cultural standards, I really wasn't sure which direction these reactions would go.
The more responses that were shared, the larger the lump in my throat grew. This one gentleman compassionately responded how I wish anyone would respond to any person dealing with an insecurity or pressure like this.
"You don't think you're fine just the way you are?" After explaining his own experience with his aunts' skin bleaching and cautioning them about safety, he shared a beautiful perspective.
"See, there's different shades of beauty."
That sums it up right there. Beauty isn't just one thing or one type of person. Beauty is more than can be put on a box or a magazine cover and sold.
As a photographer, I see this struggle for self value and confidence in many of my clients. As a woman, as a human, I see these same struggles in myself. While my struggles were different than what the video is about, I wish I'd met someone with this compassion who could have shared with me what this man shared with these girls. No one should feel like they are “less than.”
This video, this story, goes to show how much we can impact each other - how much we influence each other's understanding of value and of beauty. Be kind with your words and actions, Friends.
As you go forward today, friend, know that you are perfect just the way you were created and, above all, know that you are loved.
(You can watch his whole interaction starting at 3:06 if you want. He does go on to share some other meaningful and compassionate insight.)