There is a Haitian saying that might upset the aesthetic sensibilities of some women. ‘Nou lèd, nou la,’ it says. 'We are ugly, but we are here.’ Like the modesty that is common in rural Haitian culture, this saying makes a deeper claim for poor Haitian women than maintaining beauty, be it skin-deep or otherwise. For women like my grandmother, what is worth celebrating is the fact that we are here, that against all odds, we exist.
Edwidge Danticat, “We Are Ugly, but We Are Here,” Women Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and the Caribbean