A Social Status Guide for Pinoys

I first wrote this back in 2014 when I saw this “social status guide” circulating on both Facebook and Instagram.

I want to be offended, but I’m not and yes, that’s a bad thing. We have gotten used to and accustomed to the now-normal way of Filipino thinking that white complexion equates to that of a goddess or a rich person and dark complexion equates to that of a destitute, a filthy animal or a slave.

And it’s sad to know that that’s what this society has come down to. I’m not really offended (but I want to be and you should be), I just want the world (or my readers) to know that there’s still at least one person right here who doesn’t think that this ‘class system’ is true. I know that this was meant as a message of unity and not an advertisement of how we should look at people, but there are still some who are so shallow that they actually base their judgement on the complexion of a person.

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Janine Tugonon / 1st runner up at the 2012 Miss Universe; fashion model.

It’s such an embarrassment that Filipinos, whose population is made up of about 73.46% brown/black-skinned people*, are the same race that’s discriminating against you, also a Filipino, for the color of your skin. I remember being hailed and being offered whitening products at malls because clearly I hate my skin color. And I remember being ignored at high-end makeup counters because obviously, I cannot afford them since I have a darker complexion or because I’m ugly—whichever. I usually just brush these things off and think to myself, what the fuck is going on in this society.

But then interestingly enough, the same people who have ignored me at the same high-end makeup counters suddenly come swarming around me when I was once again there, but this time, accompanied by a friend who just happens to be a white foreigner. Yes, emphasis on white because not all foreigners are treated like ‘gods’ here in the Philippines, only those who look like a walking and breathing ticket to the ‘land of the free’ (kidding, but not really, maybe just a little).

A lot of customer service employees, whether they unknowingly do it or not, discriminate based on just the color of one’s skin. This is most likely the reason why a lot of people are just terribly gaga over whitening products—they don’t want to be discriminated and looked down upon.

And don’t even tell me that some people just want to have a fairer complexion for the heck of it and without any underlying reason, because uhm, why? I mean, what’s the logic behind it? What’s the logic behind wanting to be as light as science would allow you to be? What’s the logic behind spending so much money on pills and soaps just to achieve that light skin?

Charo Ronquillo / a sought-after Filipina model; “that unique look from the Philippines”, according to Bill Ford.

It just all goes back to the Filipino thinking that whiter is better. Having a fairer skin would instantly make you look prettier or more beautiful, et cetera, et cetera. So obviously, when you’re darker, more often than not, you’re looked at as the opposite—ugly, poor, blah blah blah.

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘ay ang itim mo na’ from a relative or a friend and they make it sound like you getting darker is somehow a bad thing? It’s offensive, but it seems like nobody’s getting offended anymore. People just either go out and buy themselves whitening products to avoid being teased or they just simply ignore and move on with their lives. And while that’s great for the latter group, it’s not helping this society’s way of thinking.

I know that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be white, especially if it’s for reasons like, uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation on some parts of the skin, dark knees, elbows and/or underarms, et cetera.

Khoudia Diop (not Filipina, though), a dark-skinned teen who was bullied and teased endlessly for her skin color. But look at her, gorgeous as fuck and she’s now a model!

But more often than not, the negative thing and the thing that I hate the most is the thinking behind it. It’s the thought that most of these people are going through whatever extreme procedures just to be fairer because they think that their darker complexions make them ugly or something.

I will never understand why darker complexions are often frowned upon in this country. It doesn’t really equate to being ugly or unattractive so why the need for a lighter skin tone? It’s not even a race thing unlike in the US and in other countries. This is just pure and utter ignorance and shallowness from people who’s got a terrible case of the Colonial Mentality. (And I guess that just answered my question.)

Filipinos should abort this appalling mindset and just quit the stupidity of discriminating anyone just because of a fucking complexion.

Some notes:

  1. I’m not saying that ALL Filipinos judge people based on one’s complexion. This is simply an opinion based on personal experiences and observations.
  2. People would probably think that “but your examples are all of models, of course, they’re good looking people!” That’s not my point. My point is that, most Filipinos have this notion that brown/dark skin equates to being ugly and that shouldn’t be the case because look at these people! They have brown/dark skin and they are still gorgeous and even went on to becoming successful models.

*Statistics were made up.
Photos were taken from Google.


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