Filipinos and Americans couldn’t agree more on the need for change.
At total opposite sides of the world, the culture in the Philippines and in the United States couldn’t seem any more different. When trying to compare the founding fathers white, powdered wigs to the vibrantly colored traditional dressings of the Austronesian people, it almost seems impossible to find similarities between the two. However, the seemingly hard to find commonalities between the two countries soon become clear once you look a little closer.
Both the Philippines and the United States create amazingly diverse cultures and if travelers look further into both cultures, they can see the two actually have a lot in common. When it comes to the strict, restraining beauty standards that linger over the heads of the locals in each country, Filipinos and Americans couldn’t agree more on the need for change. Surprisingly more alike than unalike, both groups of people can find common ground when it comes to beauty and address the ups and downs that happen within the community.
Cydney Blitzer is an undergraduate student at New York University studying photography and often takes inspiration from her Chinese background to use in her photos. As an American Born Chinese (ABC) and Chinese adoptee, Blitzer makes sure to stay in touch with her Chinese identity despite living in the states. However, she has found it hard to fit in with the Asian beauty standards in America.
“Even though the standards are changing and becoming more accepting, Asian beauty trends started in a place where it was all about conforming and assimilating to American beauty standards. Like the standard of being pale, I’m just never going to be that pale or have double eyelids.”
The influence of westernized beauty standards has taken a large toll on the expectations for Asian beauty trends worldwide. In the past, Blitzer has felt like she had to act and look a certain way to fit in with her social surroundings in New York City. She said she felt like she was never really seen as attractive without looking through the lens of race.
“I feel like American people don’t really think I’m attractive, but I’m only attractive for being an Asian girl. This is one of the things that races struggle with, like saying you’re pretty only for your race. But, should you should be able to be pretty without race.”
Kaycee Enerva is a Filipino beauty influencer and blogger who talks about lifestyle tips, beauty products and what it’s like to be a mom. Enerva said that the inequality in beauty standards seen in the Philippines mainly comes from Western countries. She explained that the better treatment given to Asians who display more Western traits is unfair to others.
“It’s been frustrating. It’s been years of colonization from Western countries that cause inferiority for Asians. People feel like they need to have whiter skin, lighter hair, a narrow nose and a whole lot more.”
In Filipino culture, it’s clear that Western beauty ideals are still being thrust upon the locals there and have a huge influence on shaping their self-image. Enerva said she hopes one day that all Asian people can start to love their differences and find more body positivity that way.
“Equality is the biggest change I would like to see. It sounds impossible, but I wish for a society that accepts everyone regardless of gender or skin color.”
The standards for Asian beauty continues to be universal where the same opinions on Westernized beauty are agreed upon in the United States as well as in the Philippines. Blitzer said she hopes for the same positive changes as Enerva does when it comes improving the strict, Asian beauty standards seen across the world.
“Everyone should embrace their beauty it no matter what kind of facial features you have or however you look. You should feel beautiful, and that’s the message lately which is a really nice thing.”