Who are you denying?

Skin bleaching is reaching a terrifying popularity within the African continent. As nations look to build their economies based on a capitalistic model, it seems the people are chasing beauty based on a European model and the only solution is from a bottle. Young women have begun to use skin bleaching to achieve the fair skin of our western cousins instead of the rich tones of our ancestors.

At the core of this practice is a narrative on the meaning of beauty, worth, and identity. When a woman buys a potion hoping to change her skin tone because she equates fair skin to beauty, it also means that she believes dark skin is less beautiful or cannot be beautiful at all. If she believed otherwise, there would no reason to alter her appearance. It also tells us that having fairer skin is a more beautiful feature, that thought alone elevates an individual with dark skin from invisible to visible after bleaching. In that one act she communicates to others that she does not think she is beautiful, but she also says that her mother is not beautiful, her sister is not beautiful, and all other women of dark complexion are not beautiful by this standard she has accepted. By extension her ancestry cannot be beautiful unless they somehow also have this desired, fair skin.

continue reading

Who are you denying?
Skin bleaching is reaching a terrifying popularity within the African continent. As nations look to build their economies based on a capitalistic model, it seems the people are chasing beauty based on a European model and the only solution is from a bottle. Young women have begun to use skin bleaching to achieve the fair skin of our western cousins instead of the rich tones of our ancestors.
At the core of this practice is a narrative on the meaning of beauty, worth, and identity. When a woman buys a potion hoping to change her skin tone because she equates fair skin to beauty, it also means that she believes dark skin is less beautiful or cannot be beautiful at all. If she believed otherwise, there would no reason to alter her appearance. It also tells us that having fairer skin is a more beautiful feature, that thought alone elevates an individual with dark skin from invisible to visible after bleaching. In that one act she communicates to others that she does not think she is beautiful, but she also says that her mother is not beautiful, her sister is not beautiful, and all other women of dark complexion are not beautiful by this standard she has accepted. By extension her ancestry cannot be beautiful unless they somehow also have this desired, fair skin.
continue reading