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She said “I had big Lips” and I was like “Where?”



So this actually happened back in high school. I absolutely adored my art teacher and still do, so this isn’t me dragging in the slightest. But we were watching something, I cant remember what, cause im old as dirt now. But we were watching something and the woman had very pronounced lips - I mean, the bottom lip was folding over. So I said “wow, she has big lips!” Not in a disparaging way, but in a “I got 20-20 vision and dem shits were big” kind of way. So my art teacher looks at me and was like “so do you.” -insert record scratch, plate drop, scooby doo puzzled noise here. “Bish, where?”

Now, this teacher is caucasian Italian and has very thin lips. My conception of small and large when it comes to features was and is still based on blackness. I have full lips that fit my face. I know I don't have small lips but I never considered that to anyone else they would be considered "fold over" large. I wasn't offended, I was just like "huh?!, no I don't." My attitude was like what the hell is she talking about.

This just goes to show when it comes to descriptions how things are tailored and deeply based on frame of reference.

This particular instance was a learning lesson. I was a kid and it let me know that how I see things and people is based on my life and the people I know. Jus the same, an Italian woman may look at me and describe me completely differently based on comparisons with the people around her.

Recently, in the makeup community people have been in uproar over makeup shades. To an Italian woman, I may be deep dark, but to me, with cousins the complexion of Lupita Nyongo and beyond, I consider myself medium. The spectrum is infinitely larger than what we may be exposed to.

Instead of being immediately offended, we have to be fair to people and their frame of reference. Education and exposure isn't up to us, because if the person was legitimately interested they'd research. Most people don't though so pointing out a flaw in thinking and correcting short-sightedness with the people we care about is a step in the right direction

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