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To not get the problem with skin whitening?

(260 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 22-Mar-14 10:59:31

Just seen a video with a singer Dencia 'defending' her decision to lighten her skin and the interviewer suggesting that it means she's uncomfortable being a black woman. Provided the product is safe to use, I don't see why someone lightening dark skin is any different ethically to a pale person using fake tan, or someone putting a dye on grey hair.

SauceForTheGander Sat 22-Mar-14 11:37:58

Racism = racial prejudice + the systematic institutional power (to implement that prejudice)

Comparing white women getting a tan is not the same as WOC lightening their skin.

White women are not compelled by racism or feelings of racial inequality to tan their skin or dye their hair.

specialsubject Sat 22-Mar-14 12:55:23

hopefully nor are black women. No woman is compelled to do anything to their appearance in Western countries.

the education needed is to be grateful for what you have. Whatever colour it is.

so many are still so ignorant and sheep-like - witness the idea that it is 'brave' to be photographed without an inch-thick layer of slap.

BTW skin bleaching is dangerous and so is tanning.

EverythingsDozy Sat 22-Mar-14 13:01:53

I think tanning is because you get a healthy glow, not because you want to change the actual connotations behind the skin colour.
To permanently bleach your skin from black to white does suggest some sort of shame. And that's sad because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being black.

I love the black skin colour. I have been known (oh my god this sounds terrible) to stare at black peoples skin, I just love it. I think it's beautiful and much more lovely than my horrible paleness.

Robfordscrack Sat 22-Mar-14 13:05:47

I see a big problem with it.

fedupandfifty Sat 22-Mar-14 13:08:41

Personally I think Dencia should be left alone to decide what she does to her body. I would be more concerned about other people seeing it as their business to tell a person how she should or should not identify with her culture.

EverythingsDozy Sat 22-Mar-14 13:24:37

Also, if you think about it this way, a geisha puts white cream on her face to lighten it - no one bats an eyelid because it isn't permanent. I think it's the whole unsafe and permanent thing, why would you go through something like that if you weren't ashamed?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 22-Mar-14 13:33:00

"she is supporting the narrative that light skin is better "

If there's a 'narrative' it only appears to work one way. That's the trouble. A white person sporting a deep mahogany tan - beyond the issue of their questionable taste - is not deemed to be socially/morally worse, less beautiful or less valued than anyone else.

TwittyMcTwitterson Sat 22-Mar-14 13:46:44

I see a big problem when looking at historical and racial issues regarding skin tone or colour.

If someone lightens their skin for this reason, I'd be very worried.

I lived with a girl who was very proud to be black and proud to be Jamaican. She also proudly told me her legs were the colour of a mixed race person.

On the other hand, I'm basically transparent and absolutely hate it. Last summer, I constantly went on the sunbeds during summer (about 3 weeks of 9 mins every other day) and I barely went to 'nude' foundation colour. No one saw a problem with me endangering my skin and body to be tanned so what's the difference if you'd prefer to be lighter?

As long as it's not for the reasons stated above.

We can't all be happy with our natural selves. I also bleach my hair from dark brown to white. Maybe I'm not the best person to ask hmm

Losthearts Sat 22-Mar-14 13:50:30

I have no problem with anybody, of their own volition, doing anything at all to their own body

Until when it all goes wrong and they come crying to the NHS expecting them to sort it out hmm

BakerStreetSaxRift Sat 22-Mar-14 13:50:34

I think sunbeds to make pale people darker is similar to black people bleaching their skin lighter.

I know there isn't the history behind it, which is truly awful, but even reading some of the comments here about how pale people need it to "get a healthy glow" or to "make it look like they are wealthy enough to afford holidays abroad" is also pretty tragic.

HolidayCriminal Sat 22-Mar-14 14:27:19

If it's just about skin colour politics, then why is acceptable (compulsory, even) for every black woman to straighten her hair nowadays? I can't see a difference in how acceptable that should be compared to skin bleaching (health hazards aside).

EmpressOfJurisfiction Sat 22-Mar-14 14:36:42

Not compulsory. DW has short curls and DD has locks - both look great. I know DD will probably want to straighten hers at some point but I hope that phase doesn't last long.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 22-Mar-14 14:39:18

1) Well, there is a problem with dye to cover grey or tanning ... it's inevitably going to cost money, and it's marketed disproportionately towards women, so effectively, we end up with women paying out to look a certain way and being expected to continue to do so.

2) Even if there were a safe way, no-one is born with skin lightener in their hand, so it is sending a message 'the way you were born is not good enough'.

I don't really get how this is a debate. confused

CorusKate Sat 22-Mar-14 14:44:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BackOnlyBriefly Sat 22-Mar-14 14:46:01

I love the idea that as part of the fight against racism, white people get to do what they like with their bodies, but black people need to get approval.

Really getting on top of this equality thing aren't we. Another 1000 years or so and we may really crack it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 22-Mar-14 14:48:25

It's a debate over assigning moral judgements to the freely-made decisions individuals make to change that appearance. I don't think it's as simplistic as 'the way you were born isn't good enough'.

CorusKate Sat 22-Mar-14 14:56:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 22-Mar-14 14:59:40

cogito, saying these are 'freely made decisions' pre-empts the arguments against your position. No, I don't believe these are 'freely-made decisions'. So yes, I do think it's that simple.

Fair enough if you disagree, but shifting the parameters of the argument because you don't like the response isn't on. (I know you're not doing that deliberately, but that's what it amounts to, which is why this debate gets upsetting).

CorusKate Sat 22-Mar-14 15:02:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CorusKate Sat 22-Mar-14 15:03:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CorusKate Sat 22-Mar-14 15:08:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BabstheChicken Sat 22-Mar-14 15:09:45

I'm white, but I have Asian relatives. Said relatives use factor 50 suncream all year, use products to lighten their skin and bleach their hair. Why? Because in their culture the lighter and more European your appearance, the more 'beautiful' you are. I'm not speaking for all WOC, but from my experience I do believe that it largely stems from colonial teachings that white = superior in beauty, wealth, intelligence etc.

Everything geishas don't actually fit into this argument. They paint their faces white to look like a mask, whilst exaggerating other facial features so that the men they spend time with can engage in the fantasy of spending time with this 'other' beautiful mysterious woman. (Most of the men are married. And yes before anyone comments I'm aware that geishas do not = sex workers.)

HolidayCriminal Sat 22-Mar-14 15:41:18

I thought that in India's caste system lighter skin = higher caste had been the correlation for a thousand+ years.
I'm not sure if any culture has ever had a traditional value of darker = prettier. Anyone know of a good example where darker = prettier?

Tan = healthy outdoors lifestyle is a very modern view & not anywhere as universally held as the light skin=better view ever was.

bumbumsmummy Sat 22-Mar-14 15:48:34

for crying out loud Beyonce has all her photo's airbrushed 3 shades lighter and her hair extensions dyed a caramel blond so she is more socially acceptable ! And she has a daughter whats her advice going to be then ?

Seriously skin bleaching is horrific but as you say each to his own

bumbumsmummy Sat 22-Mar-14 15:50:49

this may help

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