I know we’ve all heard people say a dark skinned woman is “pretty to be dark”. I remember the episode a few years ago on Oprah’s Lifeclass show about colorism and a young woman was sharing her story about how people treated her for being dark skinned. One of the things she mentioned that hurt her was this “pretty to be dark” saying. And she said, “Why does it have to be all that? Why can’t I just be pretty?” Still to this day, her saying that really makes me feel for her and other dark skinned women who are going through the same thing.
For years, we’ve all heard the debates about who looked better on the show, Martin, between Gina (Tisha Campbell) and Pam (Tichina Arnold). Lots of people say Tichina Arnold looked better than Tisha Campbell and Tisha was “just light skinned”. I never realized how messed up this argument was until I started really thinking about it recently.
Why couldn’t people JUST call Tichina Arnold beautiful? People acted like Tisha Campbell was ugly or “average” just to say Tichina looked good, when Tisha wasn’t ugly or average at all. Tisha Campbell is very beautiful. Why couldn’t they both be beautiful?
People compare beautiful dark skinned women to light skinned women all the time before just calling them beautiful, like a dark skinned woman looking better than a light skinned woman is some kind of prize or shock.
People have to pretend a beautiful light skinned woman is ugly or average just to call a dark skinned woman beautiful and yet these same people will try to tell you that colorism doesn’t exist and we don’t have a problem with skin tones.
Why do people feel the need to do this if they didn’t think somewhere in their minds that light skin gets put on a pedestal and that there is some problem between light skin and dark skin?
On the flip side, no one really compares beautiful light skinned women to other people just to call them beautiful. They just call them beautiful and leave it at that. Does anyone compare Beyoncé’s looks to anyone before they call her beautiful or do they JUST call her beautiful? Does anyone compare Rihanna’s looks to anyone before calling her beautiful or do they JUST call her beautiful? What about Megan Good? Nicki Minaj? I could go on and on.
So after what I’ve said, why can’t people JUST compliment a dark skinned woman and leave it at that? Why does extra stuff have to be added to the compliment? Are people afraid to or feel some type of way about complimenting dark skinned women? Is comparing beautiful dark skinned women to light skinned women and acting like the light skinned woman isn’t that pretty the new “pretty to be dark”?