A Black makeup artist in Australia has called out a Tinder user who asked if she ever considered bleaching her skin to look “pretty.”
Takara Allen posted a screenshot of text messages shared between her and a white man named Nikolas. In it, the potential suitor tells Allen he was “just curious but have you ever thought about bleaching your skin?? You’d look so pretty if you were whiter!”
According to The Daily Mail, 22-year-old Allen shot back. She told the man she went on a date with, “have you ever considered drinking bleach because the world would be so much prettier if you did.”
Allen tells the website she was “so in shock that someone would ever send that to me that I actually started crying out of frustration. I’ve never had anyone suggest that I bleach my skin before.”
But she understands why other Black women would feel the need to do so.
“There’s so much pressure for people of color like myself to conform to European beauty ideals and standards,” she tells MailOnline. “In most cultures being ‘paler’ or ‘white’ allows that individual to be treated better due to systematic racism and we are taught from a young age that being ‘whiter’ makes us more desirable and attractive.”
Allen expounds upon society’s demand that Black women meet white beauty norms on an April 14 Facebook post about the viral text exchange.
Allen – a mixed-race woman who identifies as Black – makes her frustrations clear as she says “people are constantly hitting me with the “but you’re so pretty, what are you mixed with?” b——- when I simply say “I’m black”. As if black can’t be beautiful on its own and that I should be grateful to be mixed with something because whatever I’m mixed with makes the black “okay” all of a sudden.”
The Adelaide, South Australia resident – who blocked Nikolas on social media – has mostly been met with support. But she explains on Facebook that she had to fend off white men who told her she was “too outspoken” and needed “to tone it down.”
The experience has opened her eyes to the struggles that dark skinned Black women go through in dealing with white beauty ideals.
“I acknowledge and accept that I am treated somewhat better because I am not as dark as others so I can see the situation from both sides of the fence,” she tells The Daily Mail. “Both being treated and spoken to poorly because I am brown, but also benefiting to an extent from white privilege because I am light-skinned. Now that it has been personally directed at me I can understand better how those that are darker than me feel on a daily basis and I feel their outrage so much more than I did before.”
She adds, “I would never wish how I felt receiving that text message on anyone. I was devastated.”