After going out with a man she met on Tinder, Takara Allen was “devastated” by a post-date text. “Don’t think I’m a creep and I don’t wanna be offensive or anything… You’d look so pretty if you were whiter! ;p,” the man wrote.
Allen, who’s from Salvador, Brazil, and identifies as “mixed race,” responded, “Have you ever considered drinking bleach because the world would be so much prettier if you did.” She signed her message with a peace sign emoji.
The 22-year-old posted screenshots of the conversation to Facebook, which she captioned with her views on the pressures that come with being a woman of color on the dating scene.
“What goes on in people’s heads that makes them think this is okay to say to someone? As if people of color don’t already struggle enough with the pressure to conform to Eurocentric beauty ideals and standards, people like this add even more,” she wrote. “I would never bleach my skin, but I understand why others would feel the need to. … 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 noted that the pressure to conform to societal ideals gets worse the darker the individual is. “I would never wish how I felt receiving that text message on anyone,” she said, adding that her recent abuse opened her eyes to the beauty-shaming women darker than herself face. “I feel their outrage so much more than I did before.” Allen, who works as a makeup artist, continued, “I’ve grown up hearing ‘You’d be prettier if you were lighter’ and ‘You’re pretty for a black girl,’ as if black women are just generally unattractive, and so it’s a surprise when one of us is.”
Allen blocked the man as soon as she sent her reply. “He doesn’t deserve the chance to apologize for that. It’s unacceptable.”
She received an outpouring of support on the post from friends and strangers alike. “You are beautiful just as you are miss,” one individual wrote. “Makes me angry that you have to deal with this s***, you’re not ‘pretty for a black girl,’ you’re beautiful because of who you are, which is a human being. People are disgusting and I’m glad you stood up for yourself,” said another. Another commented: “I hope he chokes on his words. You are absolutely gorgeous the way you are and I am sorry you had to deal with this.”
Following the outrage over the initial post, Allen addressed the hate in a follow-up. “This is a huge issue we deal with when dating/navigating the world in general and the darker you are the worse it gets,” she wrote. “Black people’s beauty is tied directly to blackness. We are not beautiful *in spite* of being black but rather *because* we’re black. Don’t get it twisted.”