What is it about bleaching one's face? Do I speak from a position of "white privilege" when I express dismay at such self hating behavior? This isn't a phenomenon just with Dhofaris either. Many Indian women avoid the sun (black is bad) as do a lot of women from any brown skinned ethnicity. I don't get it, but why would I? I used to work arduously at browning my skin in a tanning booth until my sisters scared the habit out of me (skin cancer for both of them don't ya know). Oh how I miss that deep golden brown. I think my husband is more handsome the browner he gets. But that is not the prevailing notion with many people born in shades of brown.
I used to keep quiet about it. This is not my culture, and so it isn't my place. I've been here three years now though, and I feel I have some leeway. The other day my students remarked on the whiteness of my calves. The girls spoke...a young Omani man would pass out dead before he'd say anything about my personal appearance thank you very much. "Teacher..so beautiful." I was puzzled. Usually a comment about my beauty precedes a request for a favor. "Your legs. Your skin is like milk." I said I know, and it's yucky. My legs just won't tan no matter how much I sit on the beach. It's ghastly. I said as much to them. "I want YOUR skin..your lovely brown skin." Most of them wrinkled their noses.
Now I speak. If the topic comes up I quite bloody rant at them, telling them how lovely I think they are just as God made them. I tell them they have exactly the skin and bodies Allah made just for them, in His infinite wisdom. If I am especially close to a young woman (my lovely Sara comes to mind) and I see peeling skin, I tell her to stop it this instant. I do. Why? Because I love them. I really do. Am I speaking from a position of privilege as a white woman with little understanding of the overall issue? Maybe. I do know it's a dang complicated world. I'm just ranting from my little corner of it. Sa?
Now for the cake. This cake is MY GO TO CAKE. This is the cake you keep in the pantry for visitors and grandbabies. It is. You can substitute any variety of chips in the batter, and its full of oatmeal (don't yack..you can't taste it) and it welcomes any variety of frostings, or none at all.