How to Be Confident in the Face of Okray
Finding yourself a frequent subject of okray? Here’s how to best respond to offensive comments.
Filipino women are masters at dodging snide remarks, especially since they can come from practically everywhere. Classmates, teachers, exes, titas, the building receptionist, people on the internet — anyone can say anything these days. So, what do you do when someone makes fun of your skin color, weight, lack of a “love life,” buhaghag hair, and your life choices in general? Read on to know more about how to be confident in the face of okray.
Scenario 1: “Ay, Tumaba Ka!”
A 2017 survey in the National Institutes of Health found that receiving negative weight-related comments leads to poor emotional well-being. In fact, those that receive no comments at all do better than those who receive a mix of negative and positive comments. This goes to show how unproductive it is to casually talk about a person’s weight.
Body shaming is, unfortunately, ingrained in Filipino families as cariño brutal. It’s supposed to be funny and adorable. If you get offended, they’ll hit you with “pikon talo.” You’re supposed to just take it because that’s what family members do. Of course, you could just... not. You could react to such comments by saying something positive about your body that isn’t related to looks. “I feel healthy,” “I’m so much stronger,” or even “I’m living my best life,” can help you feel more confident in the face of some who is trying to put you down.
While you’re at it, flash your biggest smile to drive your point home. Brush your teeth with closeup All Around Fresh Cool Mint Toothpaste for all-around freshness and confidence.
Scenario 2: “Ang Itim Mo Na.”
Colorism is another thing that’s deeply embedded in our culture. We associate white skin with beauty, purity, cleanliness, and dark skin with the opposite. Despite the small strides we’ve made in celebrating morena skin on huge public platforms, many Filipinos still subconsciously see dark skin as a flaw. In fact, when babies are born, one of the first things people ask is, “Maputi ba?” or “Sana kakulay ni (insert lighter-skinned parent).
Babies have the luxury of obliviousness. Sadly, grown women don’t. Part of what makes us stronger in the face of such insults is our self-worth — knowing that skin color is just color. It doesn’t add or take value from who you are. It's also about learning how to be confident, which you'll get better at by practicing self-care.
Using products that make your skin healthier can help. POND’S Bright Beauty Perfect Potion Essence, for example, focuses on radiance and hydration. The formula has hyaluronic acid, which gives skin a bright, dewy finish, no matter what skin color.
Scenario 3: “Single ka pa rin?”
This is another inappropriate question that is still somehow thrown around at family dinners, at the workplace, meetups with friends, even on dating apps. Society expects women to justify this question with an answer, despite it being sexist and ageist. It suggests that not finding a partner means that you have somehow failed at being a woman, the underlying question being, “So what’s wrong with you?”
The book called Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan cites data from the American Time Use Survey. They found that while married women enjoyed more financial and medical benefits, women who were childless by choice were happy with their lifestyle. Meanwhile, more women are actively pursuing their career goals over relationships. A study conducted by global services firm PwC found that 75% of 3,600 respondents were focused on getting to the top of their careers. Of the 41% that were promoted, 63% negotiated for their promotion.
So, no. Don’t even justify the question with an answer. Instead keep on doing your own thing, whether that’s enjoying singlehood or pursuing your passion. To help boost your confidence and keep calm in the face of okray, use a shampoo with soothing essential oils. Dove Nourishing Secrets Thickening Ritual Shampoo nourishes hair while leaving it mildly scented with French lavender essence. With regular use, it thickens hair, too, which means you can give all your haters a good view when you turn around.
Learning how to be confident in the face of okray can be a struggle. You might have to endure a few insults and offensive (however well-meaning) comments from family, friends, and strangers. Just try to maintain a positive attitude and remember that all that matters is how you see yourself.