On Tuesday evening, January 26, I sat down with the co-founders of the Womxn of Color Summit.

The Beauty Treatment Issue: Poetry Roundup

Each issue we feature pieces by Asian women around the world. Here are this issue’s poems:

HONEYMOON: FIN by Isabel Angeles

but i’m jealous of the girl with the doe eyes and the spring-fresh face: rosebuds blooming pink in her cherub cheeks, feverish with punch-drunk love for the boy-next-door. do you remember what it was like to see stars after soft lips locked?

shrug the shimmering over-the-moon dust off your shoulders — — the magic has worn off. and though the fireworks burst bright in his eyes and yours the still sky is lonely and longing for light.

don’t you wish you were dipping your hands in jars of honey instead? i would rather be stuck with sweetness, moonstruck and tongue-tied at the brushing of his fingers against mine.

but now it is time to learn how to fall in love with you all over again, each time different than the last. and this is romance at its finest, is it not?

we were royals once — — in the halcyon days where young love reigned. this empire has not crumbled yet. just shaken by the earth quaking beneath our feet and the tempest of thoughts that storm and cloud our clockwork minds.

pieces of our castle crash down and collect dust but we can rebuild this home together and each time we will reassemble it with steel.

step through the illusion and let the painted background tumble over and splinter.

rekindle this flame with the debris of our old ways, watch it grow and warm us. it wavers and falters, shrinks and smokes, but never goes out.

pull my sugared hands out of the glass, wash the liquid off my fingers, intertwine your hand with mine.

so long as you are the keeper of my heart and i the keeper of yours, we will conquer this world together.

“honeymoon: fin”, i.a.   

 

SHE by Isabel Angeles

she is a force of nature. a woman with skin made of steel, silver-tongued, silver-spooned the goddess selene herself, dipped in the finest of stardust.

they immortalize her in camera flashes; her pictures belong in the louvre. all eyes on such a masterpiece — — a twenty-first century jane austen heroine.

she is the girl i wish i was. but she is not me.

in my indecisive soliloquies of ‘to be or not to be’ where i tear my mind apart in the hopes i can rearrange the pages of my story my heartbeat reminds me that i live to be myself and no one else.

i do not glisten like liquid moonlight; i rise bright like the sun, because i am fire and flame. i am day, she is night and none of us are greater than the other for we are two different definitions of beauty.

they tell you comparison will kill you, the hypocrites in the media preaching love and solidarity while they murder female self-esteem for the sake of entertainment between sips of bitter coffee and colgate-endorsed smiles.

molding their idea of perfect into magazines; “you must”, “you have to”, “you should be”—

— but remember that you are enough. the weight of our crowns are nothing compared to the heaviness of the expectations television tyrants try to place on our backs.

hold your head up high, queen. we are stronger than they think we are. my sisters, we are geodes — — hard to break and shining crystal on the inside.

we plant our seeds and mother earth blesses us, her little mortal divinities.

she is a rose, i am a sunflower, and you are whatever you want to be —

— but no matter what we all bloom and grow into beauteous beings.

— “SHE”, i.a.  

 

Tarbiyat by Bisma Kazi 

Girls must keep
their eyes down
laughter quiet
and legs closed.
The last one doesn’t count
if it’s your husband.
Men must not cry
nor wear pink
and they’re always
the molester.
The last one is true
even when a woman lies.
Women must bear
children and pain
that society inflicts;
pain of fracture of 32 bones,
punches to the eye and
a steel rod in her vagina .
Men must be dominant
assertive strong
and be handy with a belt,
a hammer and their penis.
Must whip out these items
when feel threatened.
Fair, 36C, slim waste
curvy hips for child bearing.
Dark, broad shoulders
a six figure salary.
Former for women;
latter for men.
They can never be interchanged.
A man loves a woman.
A hindu man loves a hindu woman.
A muslim man loves muslim women.
(*Terms and conditions of caste
and financial status apply)
Anything other than this angers God.
Learnt all of this at home,
in school, in your words.
in mandirs, masjids, churches.
Qaynaat, you’ve given me your tarbiyat.

 

A Normal Routine by Shaili Champ

Using fair and lovely was a normal routine
shower, wash face, use fair and lovely
as a kid, I loved the rosey smell of the soft velvety cream
I got a bit older and REALLY noticed the face on the bottle that turned brown to white
wait..stop.
this cream makes my skin light?
what?!?
because I am too dark and I need to be more fair… to be lovely.

thats what the media tells me
thats what the lack of lead dark skin women in tv shows tell me
thats what makeup with 50 shades of white…& only 3 shades of brown tells me
thats what the colour “nude” being a light beige tells me
thats what the eurocentric standard of beauty tells me
thats what The line “oh you’re so pretty for a brown girl..” tells me

my friends jokingly say I’m a coconut
brown on the outside and
vanilla white on the inside
but…I thought we were all the same on the inside?
wait, your you’re right.
white is probably better
why wudnt u want to be white?
why wudnt u wana live a day in the life
of having any kind of privilege you like?
of seeing your race widely represented in music, film & TV
of looking trendy accessorizing parts of a culture you’ve oppressed
of learning about your own history in school as part of the normal curriculum
of not being constantly reminded of your skin color
of never having to speak on behalf of your entire race
of not having to worry about being followed around when you go shopping
of never being labelled a terrorist even if you kill 6 people at a place of worship

as you pay hundreds to obtain OUR golden sun kissed glow,
my coloured people pay billions to whiten our skin,
a tradition passed on to our kin ,
and I can’t even begin to tell you,
how using fair and lovely became a normal routine.
shower, wash face, use fair and lovely.

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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