Decolonizing the mind means deconstructing the thoughts, preferences and values that derive from a colonial way of thinking. This is a process that inevitably leads to more fundamental questions. What is a colonial way of thinking? Who thinks in this way? How did people’s minds get “colonized” in the first place?
Always question and challenge your internal biases.
I believe the work of subverting beauty standards is the work of liberation, equality, and wellness. It is self-care and community-care. It is spiritual. It is political. It is essential. Because when beauty standards change, the world does too.
“Tell people they’re disgusting, they don’t smell good, and they’re not attractive.” Just, you know, subtly. Psychological manipulation is the foundation upon which beauty marketing is built. This method isn’t only ideal for selling products; it’s also ideal for maintaining the patriarchy.
The colonizer mindset persists today. It’s reflected on the faces in the pages of fashion magazines, which, up until recently, were almost exclusively white. It’s there in every foundation range that features 10 choices for white women but only two for Black women; a still-too-common occurrence, despite the industry’s newfound focus on more inclusive shade selections. It’s built into the cosmetics corporations that continue to sell skin lightening creams in Asia — albeit, skin lightening creams that, in response to recent backlash, now have less overtly racist product names.
In this way, colonialism gave capitalism a brilliant business model to follow: It illustrated just how easy it is to profit off of deep-seated insecurities stemming from a lifetime of being treated as less than. And so throughout history capitalism has sowed the seeds of insecurity in all of us. Much of what we believe to be true about our bodies is nothing more than marketing, made up by beauty brands to make a buck.
There’s a lot of, “We’re going to do better.” And I’m thinking, okay, where’s your acknowledgement of all of the harm that you’ve caused for Black people though? Accountability requires acknowledgement of harm caused.
Mexico City’s water crisis is multifaceted. The city is sinking, it floods regularly, there’s contaminated tap water, failing infrastructure, and the city’s wastewater flows untreated into the neighbouring valley. Nearly 20 percent of residents don’t have reliable access to drinkable water. In wading through this complexity, Kelsey Bair and Itamar Lilienthal’s exploration went through several evolutions. ‘We really wanted to resolve the big, city-wide issue: that when it rains, it pours, and then it floods. Yet with all that water, people are still thirsty,’ says Itamar.
Mexico City was once the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán — a floating island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, crisscrossed with a system of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, and rivers designed to control salinity and manage seasonal flooding. After the Spanish invasion, the settlers drained the lake and built on top, concreting over the porous volcanic soil that helped absorb excess water. Today, the city faces a paradox — too much contaminated flood water and too little drinkable water. It’s a complex ecosystem in need of decolonising.