I recently had the time to stay home and catch up on the lack of television in my life. As I was flipping through the channels, I saw that OWN’s special “Light Girls” was on. I had heard about this documentary through a couple of my friends as well as some of my family members. I thought seeing that I am a woman of color, and a lighter skinned one at that, maybe this would shed some “light” on the structural issues that persons of color have in the community, especially when the subject is regarding colorism.
(Just a little background)
- Colorism: prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.
After watching the “documentary” I felt a little empty. I felt as if this film didn’t do people that look like me any justice. In the first 30 minutes, the film did a relatively okay job on introducing the issues of color barriers within the POC community. But unfortunately as the documentary went on, it slowly but surely turned into a collection of “who has it worse” type of monologues. The women that they had on the show went on to say things such as “I think that lighter girls are raped or molested more because they are seen as prizes,” “no one wanted to be my friend because my hair was long and pretty,” and so on and so forth.
This whole documentary made it seem like light-skinned women put off an air that makes it seem like because we are light skinned, we are better than those with darker skin. “Oh, we didn’t have any friends because the dark-skinned girls picked on us because we’re so beautiful.”
The film didn’t really tackle why we have colorism or where it comes from. This documentary basically resegregated light-skinned women and dark-skinned women. It put both types of women in different categories and then pitted them against each other… Like society already does. This movie was supposed to be a continuation of the documentary “Dark Girls,” but “Light Girls” seemed to have fallen short of the main issues I would like to have seen discussed, such as:
- White supremacy, and why POC feel we have to abide by European beauty standards.
- Light-skinned privilege.
- Why a majority of POC are divisive towards each other in regard to tone of skin.
All-in-all, I feel as if this film could have done better, and I hope that the topic of anti-black and colorism in its own isn’t squashed due to the lack of information in this documentary.
Overall: 2.5/ 5 stars