When they’re mine, all I hear is “Is that the Big Dipper?” “Is that Orion?” “Are those the Gemini twins on your face?” “Got too much sun?” “Wear more sunscreen next time!” But on Instagram, celebrities can gain followers by drawing freckles onto their faces. While I have been mocked and stereotyped for something I can’t control, people can just add freckles when they have been deemed “popular,” and their followers will want to follow this new trend as well.
My freckles have been a part of my face for my whole life. My interactions with the outdoors have been shaped by the inevitable growth in freckleage brought on by sun exposure; this growth never escapes the comments of strangers, who seem to think they are entitled to pass judgment on the marks on my face. People are surprised that I don’t have red hair as well, seemingly ignorant to the fact that not all freckled people look the same. Those who draw freckles on their faces, with makeup or otherwise, do not share these experiences.
While I was bullied in elementary school—stereotyped and mocked—for my freckles, now suddenly people can draw them on their face without facing any negative consequences or judgment, except for me. I have to cover my freckles with foundation, scared that someone will call me “Pippi LongStocking” and ask where my pigtails are as I sulk down the hall.
Luckily, I found a community of natural freckle-havers during my sophomore year in high school. Together, we have found solidarity and affirmation; in fact, they are the ones who gave me the courage to share my story with all of you.
My aim in writing about my experience is to remind everyone that no matter your race, ethnicity, appearance, religion, or sexual orientation, everyone has feelings and deserves to be treated equally. When you draw on fake freckles because it’s popular after mocking people for years for the same facial characteristic, it can hurt. I look forward to a successful career in business, and I will always remember these lessons. Let’s remember that our freckles, and all of our physical characteristics, do not limit our futures.