Hello! Today I have week 28 of #TWmemorymondays for you. If you're new, every Monday of 2018 I paint a piece inspired by a memory. So far, I've been using this project to explore my racial identity and address racism. This memory of mine is a very common interaction that I think deserves to be explored and addressed.
Growing up I remember my sister being silly and flaring her nose (she must have been 3 or 4 and I was about 7), and I remember my mom saying that she shouldn't do that or her nose would stay flared...that would be a bad thing. I remember pinching my nose in the mirror thinking that maybe if I did it alot it might stay like that. There lots of comparisons growing up between my sister and I - if we inherited more of my mom or dad's nose. It was a known fact that the slimmer your nose was the more desirable to is. (Let's not even get into eyelids and shape. That's for another day.)
As I continue to grow into adulthood, I also notice that the standard of a "good" nose was also everyone else's (friends and media). It usually comes out as a compliment towards someone with a tall slim nose. As we know, nose jobs almost always are used to take out any bumps and to slim it down. Look at how pervasive plastic surgery is in the Asian community!
So as I'm learning about racial self erasure, this idea of wanting to alter your physical appearance keeps on coming up. This is key: It is always more desirable to have eurocentric features...and the flip side is that embodied features of people of color or unattractive. INTERESTING. This is no surprise as we know we live in a white supremest society where the standard of "good" and true belonging is being white. The closer you come to it, the more celebrated you are (but if you're a POC, you will never arrive.)
This one is hard for me, because my gauge of attraction is SO so so defined by white media. I can't help but see myself and others through that lense, and that's sad and racist. It's harmful to everyone. One step I will take away from this harmful white beauty standard is to never comment on someone's nose as being attractive for being slim or unattractive for being larger.
The next step is to acknowledge when that harmful beauty standard is kicking in - and then to remind myself of everyone's innate infinite humanworth and dignity.
One small step at a time. 💪🏼
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 28/53. 'Nose' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper