This poem speaks of Cambodia where skin lightening ingredients such as mercury can be found in an alarming number of beauty products. Beauty standards often make women around the world feel as though we need to strive to be perfect, better, continually comparing ourselves to someone else. This poem emerges from a trip I took to Cambodia, where I noticed the drive for women to achieve pale skin. In this instance, I felt as though Westernized culture was being forced down Cambodian women’s throats—unattainably beautiful and pale models staring you down at every shop and billboard, skin lightening products everywhere, the government’s heavy push to speak English. This poem pushes against the demand for women to achieve that beauty standard and reflects on my thoughts of how the push for white western beauty standards feels to me like a similar attempt to achieve a cultural kind of mask at the expense of the self.
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 22:
9, Article 27.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss9/27