Monday, June 14, 2010

Close to Godliness?

There is a phenomenon.
An obsession.
An unhealthy habit circulating the world which has gone unrecognized.
And, I'm tired of it.

Skin whitening.

Have you heard of it?
Probably, Probably not.
I have.
And if you come from a background of Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin, or African descent, maybe you have too.
Coming from a culturally mixed background, the topic of light skin was always floating somewhere in conversation.
In most of the cultural communities I mentioned, lighter skin represents the epitome of beauty. It represents a person of high class, wealth, and stature.
Not someone who is poor, working all day outside in the hot sun.
It represents being that much closer to cleanliness.
And despite the fact that skin bleaching has been proven to cause numerous type of cancers, liver damage, visible blood vessels, irreversible acne, and scarring, it is still one of the most common practices and successful business, in the world.
According to datamoniter, as of 2006, 62 new skin-whitening products were introduced in supermarkets or pharmacies across the Asia-Pacific region.
With an average of 56 new products introduced annually.

The media has never been one to help defy this cause.
As usual.
When flipping through the pages of magazines, watching any cosmetic commercial or just going to see a movie, all forms of brown usually come in a lighter shade.
Going through my grandmothers magazines, I have found celebrities who even endorse this trend.
Yes, endorse.
As in, support.
As in, "I care enough to go out of my way to tell you, you can be prettier by buying this jar of bleach."

I'm sorry.
This post has been hard for me to write.
I keep going back and deleting what I've written because it's just too filled with emotion and hatred.
I take this particular subject very personally.
There are an array of colors in my life that represent beauty and knowing that they rarely get represented in the so called, "world of beauty", infuriates me.
I'm thinking of one beautiful woman, in particular.
I have a Nana.
The most amazing woman I know.
Not Nana as in; grandma, I mean, Nana as in the lady who babysat, tied my shoes and changed my sheets after a bad nightmare.
Her skin, is one of the many darker shades of brown that go unrepresented, and I find it nothing less than stunning.
I used to hold my arm up against hers and say that we were like "chocolate and vanilla".
The best match ever!!!
She is of Salvadorian descent, and this trend of skin lightening lives there.
Knowing that the color of her skin actually matters to some people makes me wanna strangle every corporate asshole I can get my hands on.
It reminds me of what I hate about the fashion world.
This image conscious world.
This world that uses an idea of beauty to convince you of your ugliness.
But I have to compose myself.
Do my part.
There is nothing more beautiful to me than that woman.
Her skin is merely the pretty wrapping paper of her beautiful soul.
As is yours.
So love it.

*images from,


  1. it is disturbing that the company's promoting this can be allowed by so called civilized humans.

  2. females or males that are doing this have mental issues and need help.

  3. beauty is being yourself. It goes to show some of us are not emotional strong as we think we are.

  4. this information should be in all the fashion/beauty magazines so the manufactures that do this can be smashed!!!!

  5. it is the parents that teach the child to hate, love, respect, and discriminate and it is the child who has the choice to continue this when he is an adult or make a stop to it.

  6. I have used lightening skin products myself to even out my skin-tone when I developed dark blotches on my cheeks and above my lip. When I look at the photos taken during that time, I looked like I had been in a fight and had grown a moustache. The truth is, they were splotches that I developed because birth-control pills, had caused my hormones to go hay-wire, my body grew a fibroid in my uterus the size of a five and a half month pregnancy and of course, the above-mentioned blotches. So, I tried the bleaching in the spots that I was trying to even out. In the end, that didn't work, and only when I took vitamins and changed my diet did my skin began to normalize from the inside out.

  7. This post hits home. Growing up I was raised in a predominantly "white" neighborhood and I was 1 out of 5 "Brown" students in my class rooms, Only the "popular" crowd was white and the other kids and I just weren't jelling because I was the lightest of them so they considered me to be part of the "popular" crowd which left me a loner because the white kids didn't want anything to do with me because I was too different to be part of them, I wasn't attractive in the right way to be part of them. People need to learn that skin tone doesn't define who you are, it is a gift of health, exotic beauty, that is strong. When the pale kids looked pale and sickly, I looked happy and healthy and glowing! Knowing that made grade school and life more bearable
    And NANA is an amazing woman, a true amazon, and I'm so proud to call her my friend. For she is truly beautiful!

  8. You're a very strong woman anonymous. Keep up your vitamins, I'm sure your body appreicates them.

  9. I think it's a little harsh saying people who use these products have mental illness. There are other dangers of vanity: cosmetic surgery, bulimia (sp?), tanning, etc... And do any of you can honestly say you've never worn any kind of make-up? Not even lip gloss? Those are pretty much the same things. They all try to turn you into something you would perceive as beautiful.
    Or how about shampoos, soaps, deodorants or toothpaste? There are dangerous chemicals present in those too. Do you say you do not use any of those?
    You people shouldn't judge so harshly. I believe that beauty comes from within. But for some people it's hard to see what's within when they "think" the outside is ugly.
    The problem is not using these products. The problem is over-using these products and noticing the dangers in them.
    And honestly, can you tell me you don't get turned off by pimple-faced girl or boy? Should they avoid getting help too because it's too dangerous?

  10. We are not talking here about a pimple or a spot on the face, we are darn talking about people trying to change the color of their skin to be accepted by their peers. Do you not see something wrong here!

  11. how is that any different from how white people tan their skin?

  12. So to people like Chantal skin is so only beautiful & healthy when it's non-white...otherwise it's 'sickly'.

  13. well, spoken. i'm even doing a research paper on black beauty and how the media ravages it. bleaching is one of my topics. i'm african-amercian too. i find this thing going on...quite ridiculous, as you do. you're very intelligent. wonderful post.

  14. well spoken and it is very disturbing please don't worry about the emotion part it comes with truth.