Why must we have

Porcelain skin

Honey spun hair

Eyes like the ocean

Like a Barbie doll?

It's not that the doll isn't pretty

But it's that it is the defining standard

Every woman has to look like that doll

And those who don't

Aren't beautiful

Why is being light-skinned and unhealthy the only way to be beautiful?

I don't have that coveted European beauty

When they slap a thin white girl on the cover of a magazine and call her Indian

I stare at myself in the mirror, comparing myself to her for hours

Longing for fairness creams to turn my face deathly pale

And a body like hers, ribs poking through the translucent skin

Because anything, anything is better than brown

And the soft blankets of fat, however vital, are shunned

Why can't

Tan skin, the melanin peeking through our cells

Hair as black as the night

Chocolate brown eyes

And a natural, healthy body

Be considered beautiful?

Why do some women have to change who they are

To meet a standard of sculpted beauty that destroys and dehumanizes them?

Why aren't we viewed as beautiful just the way we are?