IS BEAUTY SKIN DEEP? FILIPINA-CANADIAN FILMMAKER EXPLORES SKIN SHADEISM WITHIN HER CULTURE

'In my experience, Asian culture and beauty revolves around Western standards,' says Joanne Roberts

Filmmaker Joanne Roberts has struggled with accepting her own skin shade. In her new, personal short film I am, the Filipina artist wrestles with the idea of the perfect skin tone and what that means for her and her peers. (Alexander Decebel-Cuza)

Winnipeg filmmaker Joanne Roberts has been told her skin is too dark by other Filipinos.

In her new, short film I am, Roberts probes the effects of such comments on her own sense of self-worth and her own struggles with shadeism.

Roberts and filmmaker Alex Decebel-Cuza created the short film for CBC Manitoba’s Creator Network, which works with storytellers from across Manitoba to tell their stories.

Roberts on her film:

I am a woman of colour, the daughter of immigrants, and a first-generation Canadian.

In my experience, Asian culture and beauty revolves around Western standards. Light skin is beautiful and dark skin is ugly.

I used to be pressured into beauty products that erased my Asian features and lightened my naturally tan skin. But these teachings and societal norms — are they really true?

In summer 2020, I had the pleasure of sharing space with the most wonderful group of Brown womxn (an inclusive term that welcomes all trans, non-binary and gender-queer people) from all over the world during the Shades of Brown Girl Creative Storytelling Workshop.

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