Is one woman really any more beautiful than the other?? (photo source: http://www.redbubble.net, the meanest Indian)
Its funny how at any given time, you might perceive yourself a certain way that is completely different from the way other people think. People who are fairer and more caucasian-looking have far more power than a native does in their own countries, particularly in the developing world. I wish caucasians would understand this, and respect and use this power more responsibly, particularly when they visit the developing world.
I have been in multiple situations (I am darker skinned and have dark eyes), where a blue-eyed blonde-haired person has walked into a situation advocating the same thing I have and they are much more likely to get a response than I am. I don't angry about it, but I do get frustrated when caucasians behave irresponsibly (which happens a lot).
On a personal level, I'm often struck by how beauty is so differently perceived by the women I'm around while in the field. Many of the women I've come across in the developing world are strikingly beautiful; partially because they just are physically beautiful, but more so because the hard work and years have built character, wisdom, and strength into their forms such that it really can overwhelm you. When I tell them this, they scoff. Often they have ideas like..." I wish I had blue eyes" or 'white skin" or "fewer lines on my face" or some such thing.
Recently, I saw this video of Toni Morrison reflecting on her outstanding book The Bluest Eye, that largely centers around the life of a negro child growing up in the middle of the US who desperately wants blue eyes. Somehow, this video captured the essence of what I feel everytime I speak to a beautiful poor woman in the developing world.