Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Brown Eyes

I can't complain about my eyes because I came by them honestly. My mama gave them to me, passing down the single brown eye gene she got from her father to all three of her children in the equivalent of winning a coin toss three times in a row. And everyone knows you have to flaunt what your mama gave you.

It didn't take me long to realize that the heroes in books didn't tend to have brown eyes. Blue, green, grey--those are all cool. (I'm looking at you, Jonas.) (I'm looking at you, Harry.) They're the clues that our heroes and heroines with the mousy brown hair or messy black hair are secretly special and beautiful. (I'm looking at you, Meg Murray.)

The only time you see brown eyes being described as beautiful is when the main characters are black and brown people. Even then you'll get the black or Asian person who inexplicably has light-colored eyes in defiance of the odds. (I know it can happen in real life, but in literature it only happens to main characters.)

But chances are the narrator will call the brown person's eyes "black." Which when I think about it would be incredibly creepy in real life because you wouldn't be able to distinguish at all between pupil and cornea. The real reason to say "black eyes," is because black is still a slightly more romantic color than brown.

Don't get me started on "violet." I understand when it's used to refer to a particular shade of blue. But sometimes the author literally means the character is walking around with bright purple eyes. For no reason besides identifying them as the main character. (Looking at you, Alanna.) I don't care how good the rest of the writing is. That image is fucking ridiculous.

Madeleine L'Engle even wrote a book where all the good guys have blue eyes and all the characters who don't are either evil or shouldn't be allowed to breed with the blue-eyed people.

Really? Really?

Also, some of the good characters are Native Americans who are good because they are descended from Welsh people.

I just don't know how a normally chill person can write an entire book on this premise and not pause a moment to think, "Huh....Does that sound a tiny bit racist?"

Brown eyes are often associated with dogs or cows. Loyal, sweet, a bit dim-witted. Once someone told me my brown eyes were pretty because they looked "honest." I didn't say, "Wow, way to say my eyes aren't actually pretty." So I guess not so honest.

On top of having brown eyes, I'm also a ginger, which makes it very rare to find characters who look like me. Most people assume that red hair = blue or green eyes, pale skin, and Irish. (My great grandparents came from Germanic countries.) Because of the brown eyes I tan easily and burn rarely.

The stare of blue or green eyes is a mysterious gaze that pierces your soul with its ethereal power, as of a fairy-like being who somehow possesses infinite wisdom.

A brown-eyed stare probably makes someone look like a serial killer.

 I have to admit that blue and green eyes are just objectively better. On the whole people prefer cool colors to neutral ones. My favorite color is blue.

 As an adult I'm not as bothered by having brown eyes. After about 25 you stop thinking that you need to change things about yourself to look fabulous. I make my brown eyes fabulous. I use gold eyeliner, and it looks awesome. My skin, hair, and eyes all have the same undertones. I can't imagine my face with different color eyes.

And maybe it makes sense for me to have brown eyes. I'm not a fairy. I'm fierce and I don't tolerate idiots. I stare them down with my dark brown eyes.

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