Showing posts from October, 2016

Skin Color and Beauty Aren't Linked

By Ly Than Phuong via UN Online Volunteers

Many societies have put a link between the beauty of a woman and her skin color. In my country, Vietnam, people like pale skin and they show more affection and favor toward lighter-skin individuals. Vietnamese people often associate lighter skin with wealth, tidiness and beauty. They consider people with lighter skin more easy-looking and attractive. On the other hand, darker-skin girls are thought to be less pretty and of course they do not receive as much attention, admiration and love as girls with lighter skin.
I am twenty years old and I am a young girl with a darker skin than many of Vietnamese people. My life with a dark skin color is not very easy as I from time to time have to listen to all the different things that people tell me about my skin color.
When I was small, my aunt told me that I was not born by my parents because my skin color was darker than theirs. I got so upset at that time that I even asked my parents and others for…

Reclaiming the Narrative Gives Happiness

By Gaurav Ganti via UN Online Volunteers

I was 13, when I first noticed the small clump of hair in my hand as I took a shower. The implications of this did not strike me until a couple of years had passed. Fast forward 7 years, and my male pattern balding has progressed quite far. I have never considered being bald to be an issue. Yet, every time somebody asked me why they could see more of my scalp than was normal, I would feel a twinge of regret. A twinge of regret that was tied to the fact that I would always be different from people who had nice wavy locks, or curly frizzy hair. People, for whom a haircut lasted more than a few minutes, and could include a variety of different styles which were beyond me. Tied to these occasional twinges of regret, is an unfortunate comparison to what my life could have looked like, if I had more hair. This unfortunate tendency to associate our body images with our problems in life, is what leads to the genesis of a cycle of insecurity that doesn’t …

Female Healthcare Should be Discussed Openly

By Marion Mbiyu via UN Online Volunteers

I feel like the older I’ve become, the more aware I have become of my shame. I find myself constantly scrutinizing and doubting myself in a lot of things especially when it comes to making personal decisions. I also find myself more embarrassed about the most mundane things. For instance, I try to say less a lot of the time because I might say something stupid. It’s as if there are invisible standards that I am trying to confine myself to. Growing up there wasn’t much discussion on sexual intercourse, relationships and even female healthcare and hygiene. There was so much secrecy and shame when it came to these sorts of conversations. I remember being on my period and I would be in excruciating pain and would lie about the cause of the pain. Or even going swimming as part of the lesson which was mandatory, and having to ask the nurse to give me a letter stating that I wasn’t well. Worst of all, was a school matron in boarding school and among th…

Respect People's Religion

By Luanna Cristina Hedler via UN Online Volunteers

My parents are not extremely religious but God is a very important part of our family since I was little and as I have learned during my life. We go to the church every time we can and I consider that been educated by the protestants church ideals and way of seeing life and being is a good thing for me.

When a teenager, I entered a church group with people my age 12 - 14 and it was awesome to gather with young people like me who had the same beliefs and doubts about how to live among non religious people or people who makes fun of God. Because that was my issue during school and high school.

I always felt like when I was in church or in my church group I was free of every judgment, joke, bullying and I could be myself, I could be free and when I was at school I needed to act like the others to be part of the group and be cool. I even got a little distance from the church because I was afraid my school friends would find out I had a ba…