LIKE everyone in the era of glorious advertisement, I also believe strongly in what widely promoted commercial products can do for me to improve my quality of life. I, for instance, saw this 33-year-old Nicholas Saputra applying some branded face moisturizer on his face and I was instantly stunned by how good-looking he becomes. Though I know well he is just fine with or without the product, there is something inside me firmly clenching to the idea that the hope is there – no matter how small it is – to look lighter than you are exactly in actuality. And when the day comes, you will be living happily ever after.
While Indonesian women are widely known to be demanded to look fairer, no one seems to understand the fact that the similar demand and propaganda are internalized inside the heads of Indonesian men. You can see male talents on popular ads are depicted as fair-skinned, clean-cut, clean-shaven, charming, tall, broad-shouldered and lean. While more feminists have already protested and pushed back against the prevalent trend of skin bleaching amongst women (which now seems futile because every woman wants to look lighter in the country), hardly do I ever find men who sharply criticize or at least acknowledge this very substantial issue. I am not saying they are shutting their eyes to the problem but they just subconsciously opt to set it aside. They do not want to tell themselves that men are now also increasingly encouraged to look lighter (the rapid penetration of Korean male beauty standards also contributes here). Disgraceful indeed, gentlemen.
I too had long admired and longed to have fairer skin as a boy. It was not about being more good-looking because later on I also found that there fair-skinned boys who still look unpleasing and uninteresting, or have horrible personalities and characters. But it is true that because the majority of our people are darker-skinned, those with fairer skin are considered ‘chosen’, and thus seen as better, higher and more priviliged. Of course that is a ridiculously groundless assumption. Unfortunately, though I am quite aware of that, my mind, judgment and conscience are heavily clouded owing to the bombardment of ads around me.
And then I experimented with olive oil. I did it at first because I was curious. I had read before that applying this oil on skin can improve my skin. But because it is oil and applying it onto my skin intensifies my dark skin, I avoided using it at work but then I realized applying olive oil inside a heavily air-conditioned workplace can help retain skin moisture efficiently throughout the day, so I started to apply it in daylight as well. And I was happy with the result. The thing was I saw my face looked darker and more oily, which may rise a question in people’s mind whether or not I had washed my fash this morning properly with soap.
For some time, I retreated back to that pricey oil-free whitening face moisturizer which the ad subconsciously asserted me that I too can be as gorgeous as the aforementioned actor and public figure.
I ditched that dogma gradually and after proving that olive oil can basically and safely and naturally function as the replacement of the chemical-ladden face day moisturizer, I never go back ever since.
It is not only about saving more money to me, but also a more plausible and sustainable method of self care. I am no longer very much dependent on a corporation selling the product. I am thus free from their agitation broadcast on television. And it pretty much helped me too to come to this point that I have no television in my room. Having this box in my room is no longer a fascination. I am so much accustomed to the silence of my room so when even I had a television as a prize from a blogging contest, I shipped the television to home, where my family live.
Apart from the pleasing results I have gotten from olive oil so far (let’s say far less apparent wrinkles and dark circles and eye bags plus firmer and smoother facial skin), I am also happy to say I don’t add more burden to my bodily system with more chemicals. I still thinly apply sunscreen when I have to go outdoor for quite an extended period of time but most days I just let my skin bare with only olive oil as my skin protection and it definitely worked. Maybe that is why Ancient Greeks would apply olive oil on their naked body before competing under the sun in the early Olympics.
And though I never mean to defy the bad effects of sunrays, I now feel less worried about my skin looking darker. I do not mind it look darker as it should, which is different from the way I used to. There comes a voice inside my head that defenses my being dark:”You live in the tropical country where the sun shines throughout the year. Everyone who thinks you must look pale, fair and un-oily despite the humid climate and nature is a moron who has been brainwashed and colonialized by advertisers and brands!”
So shifting my face moisturizer from artificial products to natural oils such as olive oil is not only a real campaign of going back to nature but also a political statement, i.e. that I refuse to be regulated and judged under certain norms that some create and the majority upholds and practices. And if you think I am dependent on imported olive oil now, I will tell you I can happily switch to locally-produced virgin coconut oil (I had tried this as well and it proved awesome too) or sesame oil.
If you are a man, what is your stance on this issue? Do you think being an Indonesian man should change the way their natural appearance to attract opposite sex? Have your say. (*/)