Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Black Ain't Beautiful - Skin Bleaching in Brown Communities Across the Globe

I recall my sister buying Ambi Fade Cream when we were in high school. She said it was for blemishes, I knew otherwise. She still hasn't shaken her esteem issues around her color and beauty.

This is not just an African-American issue, or a black issue, but a practice that is rampant across the globe. Lighter is beautiful in Western aesthetics.

When Sammy Sosa's photo revealed the dark brown Dominican's attempt to look like a ligher Latino, it open the flood gates of the worldwide bleaching phenomenon that has never been excluded to women.

However, I must mention, more women practice skin lightening because it is related to marriageability. (Click photo to hear an audio blog about Asian whitening)

What folk don't talk about is the pressure to be white is prominent in Asia. In ads throughout Japan, Korea, China and India, celebrities are used to promote how whiter skin leads to better partners and more success.

In Africa and the Caribbean it is heartbreaking. The phrases are similar, but the affects are harsher. The products shipped to these countries are riddled with chemicals that have burned through the skin, causing cancer, permanent skin damage.

If you ever see an African woman or Caribbean woman who has tons of make-up on, it might be due to the damage caused by lighteners. I saw that a lot in Africa.

But the off the counter products found in Africa are just a touch of what you see throughout Asia, America and Europe. Just a hint: Fair and Lovely is made by the parent company of Dove, you know the one that promotes that you be beautiful and content with who you are.

3 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

ayankha said...

EcoSoul, I was waiting for your take on this Sammy & this issue. And you did not disappoint.

Sammy aka Sambo is a nightmare that I never imagined. Not only does his face look like something from a horror movie, but he seems to think he looks presentable!?!? In addition to what he did to his skin, I feel like I'm the only one who noticed the gray colored contacts and greasy perm - telltale signs of serious ethnic/body image issues. It is that much more deplorable because he was a very handsome brown-skin brotha.

It is also interesting because the only other Black males I heard of bleaching were Michael Jackson and a boxer whose face literally peeled off in a bout.

Thanks for enlightening (no pun intended) us to the real hotbeds of bleach consumers. We're not even going to get into those who make a bleaching concoction from household items. The things I've read/heard about are awful.

A question to ponder: I wonder how people with perms feel about this skin bleaching. Is this that different from permanently straightening hair (an ethnic feature) that causes maladies?

The things people go through to be something other than what they are... Do the risks really outweigh the (if any) benefits?

EcoSci said...

Ayankha, your inquisitions are poignant and striking. I wanted to write more, but I was in between classes.

Reggie said...

Ya know, when I saw Sammy Sosa's picture I initially thought that there was something wrong with the picture. It took me a minute or two to realize that there was nothing wrong with the picture, that there is something wrong with Sammy.

We need to do better.

How can someone look in the mirror and not love what they see?!? Our differences are what make us unique. I see the beauty in all people, to me it's sad that they don't see it in themselves.

Since when is looking pasty supposed to be beautiful?!?